Meo Vac – Travel Guide & 10 things to do

Meo Vac, situated within Ha Giang, serves as a prominent stop on the renowned Ha Giang Loop. The town has a tranquil atmosphere, yet comes alive every Sunday with the hosting of Ha Giang's largest minority market. Moreover, the vicinity surrounding Meo Vac offers an array of amazing attractions to discover, showcasing breathtaking natural beauty and the unique cultures of various ethnic minorities.
In this guide:

Meo Vac: A Brief Overview

  • Location: Meo Vac encompasses the Meo Vac district within Ha Giang province.
  • Central Hub: Meo Vac town serves as the main city within this district.
  • Population: The district is home to a population of just over 86,000 individuals, with a significant presence of various ethnic minorities.
  • Ha Giang Loop: Meo Vac stands as a popular and captivating stop along the renowned Ha Giang Loop route.
  • Communes: Within this district, you’ll find 17 distinct communes, each contributing to the region’s unique and diverse character.

What to do in Meo Vac

1. Visit Meo Vac Market, the biggest minority market in Ha Giang

lot of ethnic minority people on the Meo Vac Market on Sunday in Ha Giang

Meo Vac is a sleepy town, but every Sunday, it comes to life with the bustling Meo Vac Market, the largest ethnic minority market in Ha Giang province. The market is a vibrant spectacle where ethnic groups from nearby villages gather, adorned in their vibrant traditional clothes, to trade goods, share stories, and showcase their culture. You’ll find local produce and a amazing cattle market with buffalo, cows, and pigs.

2. Explore the Khau Vai Love Market, the most unique market in Vietnam

woman at Khau Vai Love Market

The Khau Vai Love Market stands as Vietnam’s most extraordinary market. This special event brings men and women together to reconnect with their former partners in a gathering where social norms shift temporarily. Wearing their finest attire, couples enjoy the festivities, creating a unique and friendly atmosphere.

3. Conquer the Ma Pi Leng Pass

The road of the Ma Pi Leng Pass

The Ma Pi Leng Pass, dubbed Vietnam’s “king” of mountain passes, offers unparalleled panoramic vistas. The exhilarating drive along this pass is a mix of excitement, adventure, and awe, with steep cliffs towering above the Nho Que River below. A boat trip on the river grants you a different perspective.

4. Visit local village of ethnic minorities

Exploring the many ethnic minority villages within Meo Vac District provides an in-depth understanding of their distinct cultures. Each minority group showcases unique traditional clothing and architectural styles, from stilt houses to clay and rock structures. Engaging with the local communities offers a genuine insight into their way of life.

5. Kayaking in Khau Vai Canyon

Khau Vai canyon

While a slight detour from the Ha Giang Loop route, the Khau Vai Canyon rewards you with its stunning emerald-blue waters. Kayaking or navigating the canyon on a bamboo raft offers a refreshing break from the road, allowing you to enjoy the water and scenery in a different way.

6. Homestay experience

For a more immersive encounter with ethnic minority life, consider staying overnight in a homestay run by a local family. Witness their daily routines, partake in traditional cooking, and communicate to gain deeper insights. While accommodations may not be luxurious, the authentic experience is invaluable.

7. The terraced rice fields along the Nho Que River

Following the Nho Que River through Meo Vac District reveals hidden terraced rice fields nestled amidst steep cliffs. Though slightly off the beaten path, venturing to these fields offers breathtaking countryside views and a genuine glimpse into the lives of the local people, who seldom encounter tourists.

8. Enjoy the view at M shape turn View point

M shape Turn Viewpoint along the Ha Giang Loop in Meo Vac district

The road from Meo Vac to Du Gia via Mau Due is a gem that boasts some of Vietnam’s most stunning mountain vistas. A notable stop along this route is the M shape turn Viewpoint, where the road dramatically zigzags around a mountain, providing a view on a elegant M-shaped road.

9. Cool off at the Guac Boy Falls

Though a challenging destination to reach due to the lack of well-maintained roads, the Guac Boy Falls offer an off-the-beaten-track adventure for the adventurous traveler. Its secluded nature promises a private experience, though be mindful that water levels might vary during dry seasons.

10. Trekking and hiking

While Meo Vac doesn’t have designated walking routes, trekking and hiking through its stunning mountains can be done with the guidance of a local expert. Trek from village to village, immerse yourself in local culture, and take in the breathtaking landscapes while exploring the rugged terrain.

How to get there

Meo Vac is situated in the northeastern corner of Ha Giang province, approximately 400 km away from Hanoi. Most travelers incorporate a visit to Meo Vac by following the route of the Ha Giang Loop. Over the course of 3 to 5 days driving the loop, you’ll naturally come across Meo Vac.

The loop commences from the main city of Ha Giang, accessible from Hanoi via sleeper buses at night or comfortable limousine buses during the day. The journey takes around 6 to 7 hours. Notably, there is neither a train station nor an airport in Ha Giang.

To initiate the loop from Ha Giang, you have the option of either self-driving a motorbike, being a passenger on a motorbike with an experienced Easy Rider, or embarking on the loop via car with a dedicated driver.

From Meo Vac to the Ban Gioc Waterfall

Meo Vac stands as the closest town to the Cao Bang province. Travelers seeking to combine Ha Giang with Cao Bang to explore attractions such as Ban Gioc Waterfall will need to diverge from the Ha Giang Loop route from Meo Vac and head towards Bao Lac.

From Bao Lac you have several roads to Cao Bang City and from there you can go to the Ban Gioc Waterfall.

The journey from Meo Vac to Ban Gioc Waterfall is too extensive to complete in a single day, making a minimum of 2 days recommended for this trip. Departing from the Ha Giang Loop also means that you won’t complete the full loop, although you will still experience major highlights like the Ma Pi Leng Pass, Dong Van Karst Plateau, Tham Ma Pass, and Dong Van Old Quarter.

Tips for staying in Meo Vac

1. Pavi Hmong Village

Situated just after the Ma Pi Leng Pass, the Pavi Hmong Village is designed in the Hmong ethnic style to cater to tourists traveling through Ha Giang. While not a traditional village in the strictest sense, as the houses are homestays built more recently for tourists, it still offers a cozy and enjoyable experience. Accommodations span various budgets, from backpacker dorms to more upscale homestays featuring comfortable private rooms.

2. The Sunday Market

As previously mentioned, the bustling Sunday market stands out as one of Meo Vac’s major highlights. Given that the market takes place in the early morning hours, it’s advisable to stay within or close to the city center on the day before (Saturday). This will help you avoid the need for an early morning drive and allow you to fully experience the vibrant market atmosphere.

3. Type of accommodations in Meo Vac

Within the vicinity of Meo Vac’s city center, you’ll come across several hotels and guesthouses. These establishments provide private rooms equipped with amenities like private bathrooms and air conditioning. However, it’s important to note that the rooms might not boast the latest modern comforts that you find in cities like Hanoi, as Meo Vac is quite underdeveloped.

For those seeking a more authentic and local encounter, consider opting for a homestay located outside the city. Meo Vac is home to numerous ethnic villages, and staying in one offers a distinctive and unique experience that immerses you in the local way of life.

4. Cash & ATM’s

Meo Vac town stands out as one of the larger towns along the loop, offering several ATMs. Consequently, it’s a convenient location to withdraw additional cash that might come in handy during your journey along the loop, especially for transactions at local places.

5. Local restaurants

Meo Vac possesses a slightly less developed tourist infrastructure in comparison to Dong Van. Consequently, local restaurants primarily offer authentic, regional dishes. If you’re hesitant about dining at such establishments, a viable alternative is to enjoy meals at homestays, where you can experience local cuisine in a more familiar setting.

Accommodation in Meo Vac

Little Yen’s Homestay

Nestled in Pavi Hmong Village, Little Yen’s Homestay offers genuine warmth and a cozy setting. The host’s bonfire gatherings create a memorable sense. Relax in comfortable beds after a day of exploration.

Lo Lo Homestay & Cafe Meo Vac

Immerse yourself in Lolo ethnic culture at Lo Lo Homestay & Cafe Meo Vac. A rustic ambiance blends seamlessly with the picturesque location. The English-speaking host ensures a hospitable experience, while the scenic views and clean amenities provide comfort.

Meo Vac Cosy Hostel

Meo Vac Cosy Hostel offers budget-friendly accommodation with a local touch. Enjoy a delicious breakfast and proximity to local eateries. Spacious rooms, cleanliness, and a friendly atmosphere make it a practical choice.

Nha nghi Viet Nhat

Experience convenience at Nha nghi Viet Nhat, close to Meo Vac’s Sunday Market. Basic yet comfortable rooms with private bathrooms accommodate your stay in this vibrant area.

Ma Pi Leng EcoLodge

Embrace the allure of Ma Pi Leng Pass at Ma Pi Leng EcoLodge. Experience stunning vistas from your room, complete with private facilities. The lodge offers a seamless blend of nature and comfort.

Excited to visit Ha Giang? Book your local experiece here!