Ha Giang is one of Vietnam’s best kept secrets. For years the government refused to let tourists come to this idyllic spot, but now it’s opening the gates. The years of seclusion have preserved the culture and the land so well that visiting Ha Giang feels like you’re stepping back in time. Take a trip here to really experience untouched traditional Vietnamese culture.
Ha Giang sits right on the southwest border with China, and there have been a few notable skirmishes. However, things have died down in recent times and the locals are now prepared to welcome all visitors to their town. This traditional and peaceful small village is surrounded by rice paddies, forests and winding mountain paths.
If you go exploring, you might find members of the H’mong, Dao and Giay tribes in traditional dress. In fact, you might meet tribes that haven’t even been documented yet! When you’re here, visit the local markets. They might be the most authentic Vietnamese markets you’ll encounter, as tourism hasn’t really touched this area yet. The markets are the lifeblood of the Ha Giang province; not only are they where the locals trade, they’re where they socialise too. You’ll often find them gathering in traditional dress to eat, celebrate and gossip. It really is a sight to behold.
One of the main draws of Ha Giang is its forest treks. It’s known as the ‘final frontier’ for intrepid travellers as it’s the wildest place in Vietnam. If you travel through the hills, you’ll find verdant landscapes and incredible vistas within Dong Vang Karst Plateau Geopark. The really adventurous can try the 300 km trip from Ha Giang to Dong Van, then on to Cao Bang via Bao Loc. Leave a week to do the entire route; that way you’ll have plenty of time to stop and explore the lush green mountains.
For something closer to home, explore Ha Giang’s history at the town’s museum. Here you’ll find ancient tribal outfits, bronze drums and historic axe-heads. People have lived in Ha Giang since the Bronze Age, so there’s a wealth of history to explore.
You have to go quite far north and get a permit to visit Ha Giang. But it’s well worth the trip and the seasoned travellers among you will love it. If you’re looking for an honest and authentic Vietnamese experience, Ha Giang is the place for you.
Plan your trip to Ha Giang today.
Ha Giang, Vietnam
£Tay Village Homestay, Ha Giang