Ha Giang is a province in northeastern Vietnam celebrated for its rocky scenery, mountain passes, and cultural diversity. This region is home to 17 different ethnic minorities, including Tay, Dao (Yao), White Hmong, and Black Lolo. These groups intermingle weekly at regional markets, resulting in a colorful display of traditional ethnic dress and commerce.
When we visited, we felt like we were walking into a National Geographic spread. Women chew betel leaf and dye clothing with turmeric. Children wield sickles and carry bundles of grass on their backs. Men smoke out of bamboo pipes and butcher buffalo on the sidewalk.
And everywhere you go, local life is enlivened by a continuous chorus of domesticated animals and roaming water buffalo. TOP 10 things to do will definitely help you to have the best trip in Ha Giang with the shortest time to research.
For more vivid Hagiang travel guide, please look at VISITING HAGIANG| A COMPLETE TRAVEL GUIDE TO VIETNAM'S HIDDEN GEM
1. Visit Sung La village with Pao's House & Tam Giac Mach heaven in Northern Vietnam
From Yen Minh to Dong Van town, to Pho Bang fork, to where the pretty pass embraces a beautiful green valley, it is Sung La valley – “a rose” of stone plateau, the place should be one of top 10 things to do in Ha Giang checklist.
Sung La is like a peaceful and beautiful nature painting, located amid rugged mountains which is totally dark color, and the strong houses with its ancient roofs by time. The H’mong in Sung La is planting a triangular and flowering plant on the uphill.
But growing corn, rice in the land where the flat and bottom of the valley. You will have the chance to see the green of the corn, rice, purple flowers of triangular flowers and yellow sunshine is the dark blue of the forest.
Spring is also the most beautiful season of this land as the flowers bloom throughout the high plateau. The fields of flowers make the natural scene which is harsh, cold and turned into a beautiful picture. If you don’t go to Sung La village, you missed the secret treasure that not many travelers can find.
2. Quan Ba Twin Mountain
Top 10 things to do in Ha Giang check list calls the name of Quan Ba Twin Mountains, as a vote of travelers. Situated along Highway 4C, Quan Ba Twin Mountain is around 40km away from Ha Giang town, Quan Ba District, Ha Giang Province.
Right near the Twin Mountains lies the Heaven Gate which is on a height of 1500m above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the valley below. It’s such a wonderful experience to take in such scenery during your trip. You can stop at Quan Ba to a quick rest before going up the winding road to Dong Van Karst Plateau.
Why is this destination called Twin Mountain which takes the important position in top 10 things to do in Ha Giang list? It is because the mountain is the view as two cherries with a unique shape. Taking a chance to visit here, you will not only be excited about the unique art of nature but also know about an interesting legend: Fairy Mountain. The legend is about a fairy in heaven, who was called Cherry Fairy, tried to fly to the earth after hearing the sound of an instrument type called “Dan Moi” from an H’Mong man.
Take it as it comes! Eventually, the fairly fell in love with the man and got married to him. However, after a short time on the earth, God (Ngoc Hoang) forced her to come back to heaven. She didn’t have any other way to beg God, so leave her breasts to her son and flew back. The story sounds touching, right? Then, be prompt to explore the scenic charm and interesting legend associated with it!
3. Meo Vac Sunday Market
The Meo Vac Sunday Market is a riot of color and sound. Hmong men, women, and children enthusiastically shop for clothing, drink rice wine, smoke out of bamboo pipes, and sell livestock. The women are clad in traditional dress and wear baskets on their backs.
At the meat market, people evaluate the quality of raw meat with a poking technique. Boys carry their purchased chickens upside down. Men lead pigs and cows through the packed streets. This display of local life is authentic. Unlike so many other places, it’s not contrived or set up for tourists. Meo Vac Sunday Market should be the must-go attractions in your top 10 things to do Ha Giang.
This weekly market is an important part of social and economic life. For those that don’t have access to a motorbike, getting here is a journey in and of itself. If you drive between Meo Vac and Dong Van on a Sunday, you’ll see women and children trekking in sandals to and from the market. With children strapped to their back, White Hmong women navigate the terrain with such ease, you can’t help but contemplate your own agility.
4. Admire Tam Giac Mach Flower (Buckwheat Flower) & Taste Tam Giac Mach Cakes - the specialty of Hagiang
If you mention the top 10 things to do in Ha Giang, you can search for thousands of results about Tam Giac Mach flower. A sightseeing tour to fields of buckwheat flower is actually a deserving experience when you make a visit to Ha Giang.
Why is this one of the top 10 things to do in Ha Giang? It is because the buckwheat flower is supposed to be one of the symbols of Vietnam’s northern mountainous area, but the most wonderful place to see this kind of flower is exactly Ha Giang. The buckwheat flower season is from the end of October to the beginning of November each year. Therefore, it is coincident that after the yellow terraced rice harvest is the pink and white of the buckwheat covering everywhere, which makes the Ha Giang’s magnificence change miraculously.
5. Visit a Black Lolo Village
The Black Lolo are an ethnic minority living near Bao Lac. They have a particular dialect and style of dress that distinguishes them from other ethnic minorities living nearby. Seeing Black Lolo women gathered together in their village, or at the marketplace is a visual feast that will make you feel lost in the signature of the culture of Northern which deserves the place in the list of top 10 things to do in Ha Giang.
Their traditional dress is unique and gorgeous, and they wear it daily, not just for special occasions. Their living arrangements are somewhat primitive. They live in stilted houses, directly above their livestock. It’s common for a family of three generations to live together in one house.
The family shares a single living space. Beds are positioned in each corner of one large room and are sectioned off with curtains.
6. Vuong Family’s Mansion
Besides contemplating phenomenal limestone landscapes of the nature in Ha Giang, tourists also take a chance to visit the other impressive destination like Vuong Family’s Mansion. Located in Xa Phin, belonging to Dong Van, Ha Giang, the Vuong family’s house is a beautiful and special architectural structure at 1,600m above the sea level.
The Vuong family’s mansion is just like a stone castle among nature, protected by the high canopy of special trees in Ha Giang. The mansion itself is a masterpiece of architecture, taking 10 years of construction to finish as it’s seen nowadays. At the time the mansion was built, the amount of money spent on its expense was considered a very large sum which equalizes about 150 billion of Vietnam Dong.
Constructed by skillful and expert craftsmen from China and the best H’Mong workers at the contemporary time, it is seen as the harmonious combination of Chinese and H’Mong styles. Perhaps, the most prominent thing is that all parts of the mansion were sophisticatedly carved into phoenixes, dragons, bats, etc
Experiencing local culture from local homes would be the incredible feeling in top 10 things to do in Ha Giang that every traveler should note in their checklist.
7. Hoang Su Phi
If you think Ha Giang doesn't have graceful golden terraced rice fields like Sapa or Mu Cang Chai, we gladly to let you know that Hoang Su Phi in Ha Giang has some of the most dramatic and scenic terraced rice fields in Vietnam.
Although born late and known later than the terraced fields in Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai) and Sa Pa (Lao Cai), but the national scenery in Hoang Su Phi (Ha Giang) has its own unique characteristics thanks to the hard work and skillful hands of La Chi, H'Mong, Nung, Dao ethnic. Hoang Su Phi is highly recommended place in the top 10 things to do in Ha Giang to experience trekking, homestay and Vietnam photography tour.
Hoang Su Phi should be included in the list of things to do in Ha Giang. This spot is still unspoiled to many tourists, so coming here, they have an occasion to contemplate majestic landscapes which will get them dazzled and enjoy the moderate atmosphere. Not only is there the splendid natural scenery, but it is also where traditional villages are found, such as Phin Ho, Nam Hong, Giang Thuong and Lang Giang.
Authenticity, tranquility, and preservation – these are the best words to describe Hoang Su Phi. Especially, the authentic traditions of the local ethnic minorities are truly amazing for anyone who loves to discover the hidden lives of the less known world.
*When is the best time to visit Hoang Su Phi?
Late September and October is the best time to visit and to witness the terraced fields turning golden and the hard labor of the people during harvest time.
8. Happiness Road - Ha Giang Loop
To travel to Ha Giang is to travel the Ha Giang Loop which is actually the Happiness Road that connects Dong Van and Meo Vac through the King off All Passes – Ma Pi Leng Pass. Happy Road, which is one of the most favorite spots in top 10 things to do in Ha Giang, has a long and heroic history of itself starting from the days even before its birth. Ha Giang without a road was so remote to travel to that no one ever thought of coming to Ha Giang for tourism purposes.
Many volunteers, workers from several ethnic groups had joined hands to open the toughest mountain road in Vietnam, the very first road in Ha Giang. Some of them sacrificed their lives on a span of 7 years of making this road. The name of the road is also the wish for happiness that the local people here sent to the future.
Opened in the year 1965, Happiness Road has a total length of 185 kilometers, which has a long and heroic history of itself starting from the days even before its birth. Many volunteers, workers from several ethnic groups had joined hands to open the toughest mountain road in Vietnam, the very first road in Ha Giang. Some of them even sacrificed their lives in the span of 7 years of making this road.
The name of the road is also the wish for happiness that the local people here sent to the future. Without Happiness Road, Ha Giang would be so remote to travel to that no one ever thought of coming here for tourism purposes.
Additionally, why this road is one of the 10 things to do in Ha Giang many travelers recommend? This is also the road that those who love adventure, exploring the desire to visit is to admire the beauty of nature in the land of the country. Going down the steep slopes, you will enter the more picturesque area of Ha Giang with a sight of mountains dotted with few villages.
Though the road is meandering and the bends of the sleeves are hard, but in front of the eyes is always a peaceful scene, beautiful to the heart of the rock mountain that makes everyone broach.
Happiness Road brings a change of beauty in each season. In the winter, the road is grayish-black patches of a clouded sky, misty mist. In the summer, the road glows with the sunbeds of the dawn on the rocky plateau or the rainbow after the sudden rain.
From September to November, this road diminishes visitors by the yellow rice season, purple-pink of the buckwheat flowers and wild daisy flowers. Whoever comes here will surely treasure the unforgettable memory about Happiness Road.
9. Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark
No one can deny Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark is the main spot in top 10 things to do in Ha Giang. Listed as a member of UNESCO Geopark Network, Dong Van features a vast area of limestone which covers most of the four provinces of Ha Giang. Located on the height of 1400 – 1600 meters above sea level, the geographical characteristics of Dong Van Plateau are just as dramatic as it can get with sheer mountain cliffs running to the horizon.
There’re huge mountains and deep canyons to be found here of which the highest peak is Mount Mieu Vac (1971m) and the deepest canyon is Tu San (800m). The landscape at Tu San Canyon has become something you should look forward when climbing up Ma Pi Leng Pass.
One of the mysterious things in Dong Van Rock Plateau is the scripts found on many rocks – ancient letters but until now, the meanings to these letters are left unknown.
10. Conquer The Northernmost Point of Vietnam - Lung Cu Flagpole
Last but not least, the top 10 things to do in Ha Giang checklist can’t lack Lung Cu Flag Tower which is Vietnam North Pole the furthermost point to the North of Vietnam, lying close to China-Vietnam border.
The road up to Dong Van is already hard, the road up to Lung Cu flagpole is even harder, car or motorbike. Once you reach the flagpole’s entrance, you’ll have to climb almost 400 steps to reach the actual flagpole. Continue to climb some more steps, the views on the top will reward your effort.
Lung Cu is a great place to take panoramic photos of Dong Van, Ha Giang, especially the winding Happiness Road below.
Note: Foreigners visiting Lung Cu Flagpole will have to get a permit. Book tour with Asianway Travel, you won’t have to worry about this issue.
*Admission: 20,000VND per person
Ha Giang is one of the most incredible spots that many famous travelers in the world highly recommend. With the top 10 things to do in Ha Giang that you just went through, there is no reason that we can miss the chance to experience the marvelous masterpiece of the world in Vietnam. Now, it is time to pack stuff and let’s go to Ha Giang.
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