Overview route from Dong Van to Meo Vac
- Dong Van – Meo Vac
- Dong Van – Lung Cu – Dong Van – Meo Vac (most recommended)
- Distance: 23 km without Lung Cu; 75 km with Lung Cu
- General Travel Time: 1 hour without Lung Cu; 2.5 – 3 hours with Lung Cu
- Estimated Time with Stops: 3 hours without Lung Cu; 5 – 7 hours with Lung Cu
- Road Conditions: Road between Dong Van and Lung Cu is good; between Dong Van and Meo Vac is very good
- Time & Distance: These are rough estimates. Actual time and distance can vary significantly depending on how frequently you stop, your speed, and any detours you may take.
- Road Conditions: Conditions can change quickly, especially during the rainy season. Always check the latest information before your trip.
Tips for driving from Dong Van to Meo Vac
Tip 1. Add Lung Cu to your itinerary
The relatively short distance between Dong Van and Meo Vac could have you complete this leg of the Ha Giang Loop rather quickly. The direct route from Dong Van to Meo Vac takes approximately one hour. Adding sightseeing along the Ma Pi Leng Pass and a boat trip on the Nho Que River might extend this by another two hours.
However, the journey can offer so much more if you take the time to explore some detours and hidden gems. In particular, consider making a detour to Lung Cu, the northernmost point of Vietnam. Adding Lung Cu to your journey will consume an extra half-day, which perfectly complements the other half-day you would spend at Ma Pi Leng Pass and the Nho Que River.
The road from Dong Van to Lung Cu offers some of the best mountain scenery you’ll find along the Ha Giang Loop. This detour isn’t just about reaching the northernmost point but also about the remarkable landscapes you’ll witness along the way.
Tip 2: How to Do the Route
Whether you’re an experienced motorcyclist with a license or a newbie, this leg of the Ha Giang Loop can be tailored to your level of adventure. If you prefer independence and have the skills, riding a motorbike yourself offers an unparalleled sense of adventure. However, if you’d rather focus on the views and not worry about the road, consider an Easy Rider experience—where you sit on the back of a bike driven by a local expert who can also share local insights. If you value comfort over adventure, you can also complete this route by car, sacrificing none of the sightseeing opportunities.
Tip 3: Safety & Preparation
- Download offline maps for navigation.
- Dress in layers for changing weather conditions.
- Stock up on water and snacks.
- Check fuel levels and know where the next petrol station is.
- Always check the weather forecast before heading out.
- Use a quality motorbike equipped with safety features.
- Don proper protective gear: helmet, gloves, and sturdy shoes.
Sights along the route from Dong Van to Meo Vac
The second leg of your Ha Giang Loop journey starts in Dong Van and ends in Meo Vac. While the most direct route would take you straight through the Ma Pi Leng Pass, we recommend first heading in the opposite direction towards Lung Cu. This enriches your experience and also ensures you don’t reach Meo Vac too quickly, giving you more time to explore the fascinating sites along the way.
Stop 1: Ma Le village
On your way to Lung Cu, the road takes you through Ma Le Village. Known for its authentic, local atmosphere, this village gives you a glimpse into the daily lives of the area’s ethnic minorities. It’s a perfect introductory stop as you venture towards the northernmost point of Vietnam.
Stop 2: Lo Lo Chai Village
Further along the route to Lung Cu, you’ll pass through Lo Lo Chai Village. This charming hamlet is home to the Lo Lo ethnic group, and it offers an opportunity to understand the culture and traditions of these indigenous people. A stop here is like taking a step back in time.
Stop 3: Lung Cu Flag Tower
Reaching Lung Cu Flag Tower means you’ve arrived at Vietnam’s northernmost point. Standing here feels like standing at the edge of the country, with panoramic views that stretch into China. The flag tower itself is a symbol of national pride and is a must-visit for that “top of Vietnam” experience.
Stop 4: Ma Pi Leng Pass
Once you circle back towards Meo Vac, you can’t miss the Ma Pi Leng Pass. It is one of the most awe-inspiring mountain passes in Vietnam, offering breathtaking vistas of the surrounding valleys and rivers. The ride can be a bit challenging, but the views are rewarding beyond words.
Stop 5: Ma Pi Leng Sky Walk
If you think the views from Ma Pi Leng Pass were impressive, wait until you take the Ma Pi Leng Sky Walk. This walking path offers fantastic photo opportunities and is an excellent chance to stretch your legs while still being immersed in the stunning scenery.
Stop 6: Nho Que river boat tour
After conquering the Ma Pi Leng Pass, you have the option to venture down to the Nho Que River for a boat tour. The descent to the river itself is an experience, and the boat tour offers a different perspective of the dramatic landscapes you’ve been driving through.
Stop 7: Meo Vac
Meo Vac serves as the end point for this leg of your journey. While the town itself may not offer as many sights as other stops, it provides a peaceful place to rest and reflect on the incredible adventure you’ve had. Sometimes the destination is secondary to the journey, and this holds true when exploring the route from Dong Van to Meo Vac.
Arriving in Meo Vac
Meo Vac offers a range of accommodations, from hotels to homestays. For a more authentic experience, consider staying a little outside the main town. There’s also a tourist village named Pavi Hmong Village that offers a variety of homestays catering to different budgets, some of which are quite modernly equipped. While the village isn’t the place for an entirely authentic experience, it does provide a lively atmosphere and convenient location.
Meo Vac to Cao Bang (Ban Gioc Waterfall)
Meo Vac serves as an excellent gateway to Cao Bang Province and is the nearest town to Cao Bang itself. From here, you can extend your itinerary to include a journey through Bao Lac to Cao Bang City, ultimately culminating in a visit to the Ban Gioc Waterfall—the most spectacular waterfall in Vietnam. Adding this extension to your trip will require an additional 2 to 3 days. However, please note that by opting for this route, you’ll miss the final stretch of the Ha Giang Loop that takes you back from Meo Vac to Ha Giang City via Mau Due and Du Gia.