Overview route from Ha Giang to Dong Van
- Distance: 150 km
- General Travel Time: 4 – 5 hours
- Estimated Time with Stops: 6 – 9 hours
- Road Conditions: 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 Ha Giang to Dong Van
Tip 1: Consider Staying Overnight in Yen Minh
The route from Ha Giang to Dong Van is abundant in scenic vistas and fascinating cultural sites, making it tempting to take your time and explore. You can easily fill two days of sights for this part of the Ha Giang Loop, so consider an overnight stay in Yen Minh.
The town is roughly halfway between Ha Giang and Dong Van and offers a range of highly-rated homestays located on a specific street known for its hospitality.
Tip 2: Don’t Let Your Guard Down on the Roads
While the QL4C between Ha Giang and Dong Van offers some of the best road conditions on the Ha Giang Loop, it’s crucial to stay alert. The better road quality can lull you into a false sense of security, but always remember that conditions can change rapidly due to heavy truck traffic, rain, or rockfalls.
Moreover, this route is frequented by locals herding livestock like buffalos and by tourists who may unpredictably stop to take photos, sometimes just around a bend. Always stay vigilant to ensure your journey is both enjoyable and safe.
Tip 3: How to Navigate This Route
If you’re an experienced biker, taking a motorbike will give you a thrill unlike any other. But if you want to relax a bit more while still soaking in the natural beauty, an Easy Rider can guide you through. Cars also offer a comfortable, albeit less exhilarating, way to complete the journey without skipping any stops.
Tip 4: Safety & Planning
- Download offline maps to help navigate when the network is unreliable.
- Dress in layers to adjust for the variable weather you might encounter.
- Always keep sufficient water and snacks at hand.
- Be mindful of your fuel tank and know where you can refuel.
- Before setting off, make sure to check the weather for the day.
- Opt for a quality motorbike and make sure you’re outfitted with the right safety gear: helmet, gloves, and the like.
Sights along the route from Ha Giang to Dong Van
Stop 1: Bac Sum Pass
Bac Sum Pass is a twisting mountain pass that offers panoramic views of lush greenery and terraced fields. The drive along this pass provides the first taste of the serenity and grandeur that the Ha Giang Loop is famous for.
Stop 2: Quan Ba Pass & Twin Mountains
As you climb higher through the Quan Ba Pass, you’ll come upon the Twin Mountains, also known as the Fairy Mountains. These are essentially two hills that resemble a pair of breasts, which have spawned several local legends and stories. The Quan Ba Pass itself offers a vantage point for some of the most stunning vistas along the route.
Stop 3: Lung Khuy Cave
A visit to Lung Khuy Cave does require a bit of a detour, so make sure you have ample time for it. This stalactite-filled cave is a hidden treasure offering an underground world of sparkling minerals and intricate rock formations.
Stop 4: Lung Tam Village
Lung Tam Village is a cultural delight, known for its traditional textile industry. Here you can observe and even participate in the weaving process, understanding how the local H’Mong community makes their intricate fabrics.
Stop 5: Yen Minh Pine Forest
Driving through Yen Minh Pine Forest is the longer route to get to Yen Minh but is well worth it for the dense canopies and cool air. There is a shorter route that passes through mountains and offers equally splendid views, so you can choose based on your preferences.
Stop 6: Tham Ma Pass
One of the most photographed spots along the Ha Giang Loop, Tham Ma Pass is a winding mountain road with sharp turns and steep inclines. The views from the top, however, make the nail-biting journey completely worth it.
Stop 7: Chin Khoanh Pass
Chin Khoanh Pass, also known as the Chin Khoanh Ramp, offers a driving experience that’s a bit different from other mountain passes. It’s less winding but equally challenging and stunning, giving you a different perspective on the area’s topography.
Stop 8: Sung La Valley
Sung La Valley is a picturesque valley known for its limestone peaks and buckwheat flowers. It’s also home to Pao’s House, a popular set location for Vietnamese films, making it a must-visit for culture and nature enthusiasts alike.
Stop 9: Hmong Kings Palace
The Hmong King’s Palace is a two-story wooden mansion that offers an insightful look into the history of the Hmong people. The building itself is an architectural marvel, and the artifacts inside tell stories of a past era.
Stop 10: Dong Van Old Quarter
Rounding off this segment of the loop is Dong Van Old Quarter, a marketplace that takes you back in time. With its cobblestone streets, antique shops, and a bustling local atmosphere, the Old Quarter provides an authentic slice of life in this remote part of Vietnam.
Arriving in Dong Van
Dong Van offers a diverse range of accommodations, including hotels, guesthouses, and homestays to fit various budgets. The town comes alive at night, especially in the Old Quarter, where you can indulge in a vibrant street food scene, enjoy local coffee shops, and occasionally catch special events held in the central square. For travelers seeking a more authentic experience, consider opting for a homestay located just outside of Dong Van town.