Ha Giang location map

General Information

Ha Giang is a mountainous Northeastern province and located in the far north of Vietnam. This province is well-known for magnificent karst plateaus, spectacular rice terraces, mind-blowing passes, authentic ethnic villages and rich cultural heritage.

This province is still unspoiled by mass tourism. If you want to find a place which is less crowded and touristy than Sapa, Ha Giang is a great alternative for you. A trip to Ha Giang will blow away all your stress and bring life-enriching experiences that you can learn from a unique nature and culture of this region. Traveling to this province is a lot easier now since road infrastructures have been restored and accessible to all tourists.

Ha Giang Weather

This province offers you a different beauty in different times of the year. The best times to visit Ha Giang are February – April and September – November. The weather in Ha Giang is relatively similar to Sapa: cold in winters and cool year-round.

  • January – February: A lot of cultural festivals will take place during springtime such as buffalo fighting festival, Long Tong (Going to the fields) festival and horse racing festival. These festivals attract both local and international tourists and they are a precious opportunity to learn ethnic culture and heritage.
  • March: This is the most captivating time here with charming plum flowers and peach blossoms. Ha Giang becomes a watercolor painting which allures everyone who comes to this province.
  • April: In April, tourists can participate in Khau Vai Love Market, which happens on the 27th day of the third lunar month. It is a weird yet humane event in this mountainous region: lovers who could not have a happy ending can meet each other once a year and share their life stories.
Weather in Ha Giang
Weather in Ha Giang
  • May – June: This is ‘water pouring’ season in Ha Giang and you can see beautiful winding terraces which reserve water for the harvest. From above, you can be thrilled by mesmerizing rice fields which look like hundreds of giant mirrors and reflects the sky.
  • July – August: This is the low season in Ha Giang and you can admire the intact beauty of this place since it is not inundated with travelers. However, the province is affected by typhoons and heavy rains during these two months. Be careful if you plan to travel by motorbikes here during summers.
  • September – October: Coming to Ha Giang in September and October, you can capture stunning photographs of golden rice terraces during harvesting time. Hoang Su Phi is the place for you to admire this unusual scenery.
  • November – December: The beginning of winter is when you can enjoy beautiful buckwheat flowers blooming all over the valleys. Remember to book a room in advance since the province will be crowded with tourists attending Buckwheat Flower Festival.

Ethnic Minorities in Ha Giang

Ha Giang is the home to various ethnic minorities, including H’Mong, Tay, Zao, Nung and Lo Lo. You can distinguish between each group based on their costumes:

Ethnic minorities in Ha Giang - Ha Giang Travel Guide
Ethnic minorities in Ha Giang: H’Mong, Tay and Lo Lo
  • H’Mong: They often wear a pleated indigo skirt with a black apron, a red waistband and a black jacket with colorful embroidered patterns.
  • Tay: Tay people wear cotton clothes which are dyed indigo and silver necklace and silver rings all over wrists and ankles.
  • Lo Lo: Lo Lo people concentrated in Meo Vac district. Their costume is striking in color with a red shade and many accessories. You cannot help noticing their embroidered blouses with vivid decoration on sleeves, chest, and back. They cover their head with a red scarf ornamented with small pompoms.

Getting to Ha Giang

  • By motorbike: Here is the recommended route if you travel to Ha Giang from Hanoi: Hanoi – Son Tay (No.21 Highway in Co Nhue) – Trung Ha Bridge – Co Tiet – Phong Chau Bridge – Turn right to Phu Tho – Tuyen Quang – Highway No. 2 – Ha Giang (300 km). Unless you possess excellent driving skills, we do not recommend riding to this province.
  • By coach: In Hanoi, you can buy a bus ticket Ha Giang from My Đinh, Giap Bat, Gia Lam and Ha Dong Bus Station. It takes 7 to 8 hours to travel from Hanoi to the province. Buses depart almost every hour starting at 4.30 am until 1.30 pm. You can take a night bus which departs from 6 pm to 9.30 pm.

Getting around Ha Giang

Ma Pi Leng Pass - Ha Giang Travel Guide
Ma Pi Leng Pass

You can explore Ha Giang yourselves by renting a bicycle at around VND 200,000 dong per day. If you are not an adventurer but still keen on exploring this exotic province, renting a private car in Vietnam is a good choice.

Buses are a convenient mean of transportation if you want to get around some districts such as Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac. Here are some brands for you to choose from:

Ha Giang City – Quan Ba (56.5 km)

  • Cuong Thuy (depart from Ha Giang City at 5-6 am): 0915 407522
  • Thang Phuong (depart from Ha Giang City at 11.30 am): 0915 185434
  • Tan Yen (depart from Ha Giang City at 12 pm): 0912 369134

Ha Giang City – Yen Minh (97 km)

  • Ngoc Cuong (depart from Ha Giang City at 12 – 1 pm): 0904 256279
  • Hoang Tuyen (depart from Ha Giang City at 3.30 pm): 0912 120566

Ha Giang City – Dong Van (127 km)

  • Cau Me (depart from Ha Giang City at 5 am – 12 pm): 0915 448933
  • A Sinh (depart from Ha Giang City at 5 am – 12 pm): 0984 52037
  • Trung Yen (depart from Ha Giang City at 12.30 pm): 0979 682261

Ha Giang City – Meo Vac (150 km)

  • Hoang Tai (depart from Ha Giang City at 5 am – 11.30 am): 0912394082
  • Cau Me (depart from Ha Giang City at 5 am): 0167 2116226
  • Ngoc Khanh (depart from Ha Giang City at 9 am): 0987 382992
  • Quang Nghi (depart from Ha Giang City at 10.30 am – 12.30 pm): 0946744733

Trekking is also an interesting activity to enjoy in Ha Giang. Make sure you bring all your gears and equipment since it will be hard to find a store in this place.

Where to Stay in Ha Giang

Jungleman Homestay - Ha Giang Travel Guide
Jungleman Homestay

There are more accommodations in Ha Giang City than around other districts. We recommend booking a room in advance since this place will be crowded on the weekends and during peak seasons.

  • Anh Tu Hotel

Address: To 1 Cau Me, Phuong Thien

Phone Number: 098 479 19 66

  • Jungleman Homestay

Address: K8 Road, Chang Village, Phuong Thien Commune

Phone Number: 0167 679 6999

  • Lo Lo Chai Homestay

Address: Lo Lo Chai Village, Lung Cu, Dong Van District

  • Van Duy Hotel

Address: Tam Son Town, Quan Ba District

Phone Number: 091 758 20 07

What to See in Ha Giang

As this province is an unexploited and mountainous tourist destination, it will take time to travel between some attractions here. However, you will not regret featuring this place in your tour to Northern Vietnam since Ha Giang is a showcase of impressive and awe-inspiring landscapes.

Ha Giang main attractions map
Ha Giang main attractions map

1. Quan Ba Heaven Gate

Quan Ba heaven gate - Ha Giang Travel Guide
Quan Ba heaven gate

Quan Ba Heaven Gate is the must-visit place when entering this province. It is the gateway to Dong Van Karst Global Geopark. About 1500 meters above the sea level, this is the ideal observation deck to overlook stunning rice terraces and a zigzag road between clouds and mountains.

2. Hoang Su Phi

Rice terraces in Hoang Su Phi - Ha Giang Travel Guide
Rice terraces in Hoang Su Phi

100 km from Ha Giang City, Hoang Su Phi is famous for spectacular terraced rice fields which are the inspiration for photographers. Recognized as National Heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2012, this is one of the best places to travel in Vietnam in October.

3. Pao’s House

If you love to watch Vietnamese movies, Pao’s Story is not a strange name. This movie has brought the beauty of Ha Giang closer to international tourists. Pao’s House is this movie’s filming place which is located in Sung La Valley, Dong Van District. Inhabited by four generations of H’Mong people, this house has a traditional architecture with 2-floor lodge for bedrooms and living rooms as well as extra places for a barn, a warehouse and a kitchen.

4. Lung Cu Flag Tower

Lung Cu Flag Tower - Ha Giang Travel Guide
Lung Cu Flag Tower

25 kilometers to the north of Dong Van, Lung Cu Flag Tower is an Instagram-worthy spot that has majestic view to our neighboring country, China, from the top. Erected in 2010, this tower is used to mark the northernmost point of Vietnam. Conquering this tower, you need to climb 500 stairs to reach a Vietnamese flag at the top.

5. Dong Van Karst Global Geopark

Located in the north of the province, Dong Van Karst was recognized as a UNESCO’s Global Geopark in 2013. Sitting 1600 meters above the sea level, this is a perfect place for trekking and discovering natural topography in the northernmost area of Vietnam.

6. Ma Pi Leng Pass

Ma Pi Leng is a stretch of the Happy Road which connects the city to Dong Van and Meo Vac provinces. Ma Pi Leng means ‘Horse Nose’ in H’Mong language, which represents the danger and roughness of the slope. Coming to this pass, you will get a panoramic view of winding rivers, imposing mountains, blue sky and rustic ethnic villages.

7. H’Mong King Palace

H’Mong King Palace - Ha Giang Travel Guide
H’Mong King Palace

Located in Sa Phin Valley, 125 km from the city, H’Mong King Palace is an interesting historical relic. This 300-square-meter palace was built by Vuong Chinh Duc, an H’Mong wealthy man in the 19th century.  He made a lot of money from selling opium to the Chinese.

Things to Do in Ha Giang

  • Trek through breathtaking mountains
  • Conquer Ma Pi Leng Pass
  • Homestay with ethnic people
  • Take photographs of stunning buckwheat flowers
  • Try buckwheat flower cake

What to Eat in Ha Giang

1. Au Tau porridge (Chao Au Tau)

Au Tau porridge is a bizarre dish you can try in this province. This porridge is a mixture of two kinds of rice: sticky rice and glutinous rice grown in Ha Giang. To cook this dish, the locals use Au Tau vegetables (a black and bitter tasting root) and simmer it with pig bones. It is served with ground meat and other kinds of herbs. This dish will warm you up immediately in cold evenings.

2. Buckwheat cake (Banh tam giac mach)

Buckwheat cake - Ha Giang Travel Guide
Buckwheat cake

Buckwheat flowers, the iconic image of this province, are not simply flowers. Buckwheat flour is considered a healthy and beneficial ingredient. Local people here make many products from buckwheat: cakes, wine, noodles, porridge, etc. Buckwheat grain is milled into powdered flour and mixed with water. The mixture is molded into small cakes and grilled on charcoal. You can buy it as a gift to your friends and relatives.

3. Thang co

Thang co is a special hotpot in Vietnam’s mountainous region. This food contains pork (sometimes beef and horsemeat), its viscera, herbs and some spices such as lemongrass, chili and pepper. You can find this food at some ethnic markets in Dong Van, Meo Vac and Lung Cu.

4. Smoked pork (Thit gac bep)

This is the specialty of Black Thai and made from lean pork and beef. Before being smoked, the meat is marinated with chili, ginger and other special ethnic spices to make a savory taste. Smoked pork does not require cold storage, thus you can buy some when leaving this province.

5. Glutinous rice cake (Thang den)

Thang den - Ha Giang Travel Guide
Thang den

Thang Den is a popular dessert in this province which may remind you of Banh troi in Hanoi. Thang Den includes sphere balls made from flour and boiled in water and it is usually served with ginger. Many toppings can be found in this dish: sesame, peanut and coconut milk. Thang den is a sweet treat for cold nights in this province.

Other delicious and bizarre foods to try in Ha Giang

  • Five-color sticky rice (xoi ngu sac)
  • Steamed rice rolls (banh cuon)
  • Sticky rice in bamboo tubes (com lam)
  • Carried-under-arm pork (lon cap nach)
  • Grilled moss (reu nuong)
  • Sour noodle (pho chua)