If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure in Vietnam, the Ha Giang Loop should be on your bucket list. This remote and breathtaking area is best explored by Ha Giang motorbike tour, especially for adventure seekers. Here’s everything you need to know about the Ha Giang Loop.
Where is Ha Giang Loop?
Ha Giang is a mountainous province in northern Vietnam, bordering China. It is home to a diverse range of ethnic minority groups, including the Hmong, Tay, and Dao. The region’s natural landscapes are truly spectacular, with winding roads that traverse mountains, valleys, and rivers. The area is famous for its rice terraces, which change color throughout the year, and the vibrant traditional dress worn by local people.
How to get to Ha Giang?
Ha Giang Loop is a thrilling journey taking you through winding roads and breathtaking mountain passes. But before you embark on this adventure, it’s important to know how to get to Ha Giang.
Hanoi to Ha Giang by bus
The easiest and most common way is by taking a bus from Hanoi to Ha Giang. There are several bus companies that offer morning and evening trips to Ha Giang, departing from Hanoi’s My Dinh bus station. The journey from Hanoi to Ha Giang takes around 6-7 hours by road and costs around 200K – 300K VND (~ $8.4 – $12.6).
I recommend you choose evening buses as you can save the fee for one night’s accommodation as well as your energy for the upcoming journey. Don’t forget to pack earplugs for better sleep!
Hanoi to Ha Giang by motorbike
Traveling to Ha Giang by motorbike is a great option if you prefer to have more freedom and explore the area on your own. You’ll need to rent a motorbike in Hanoi first and then ride for around 300 km to get to Ha Giang.
It’s a long ride, but it’s also very scenic and you’ll get to see some of the most beautiful places in Vietnam. Make sure to wear a helmet and be careful on the road. There are 2 most common routes from Hanoi to Ha Giang in which the first one is about 30 km longer than the second:
- The first route: Hanoi – Vinh Phuc – Viet Tri – Phu Tho – Tuyen Quang – Ha Giang (~ 310km)
- The second route: Hanoi – Son Tay – Trung Ha Bridge – Co Tiet – Phong Chau Bridge – Phu Tho – Doan Hung – Tuyen Quang – Ha Giang (~ 280km)
What is the weather like in Ha Giang?
The weather in Ha Giang is cooler than in other parts of Vietnam, due to its high altitude. The best time to visit is between September and November when the weather is dry and cool, and the rice terraces are golden. In the winter months (December to February), temperatures can drop below freezing, and in the summer months (June to August), it can be hot and rainy.
When is the best time to do the Ha Giang Loop?
Determining the best time to do Ha Giang Loop can be a daunting task, and not solely due to climatic conditions. Each month has something unique to offer in the region. However, if you choose to embark on this journey between November and March, brace yourself for a chilly experience. Conversely, from June to August, you can expect high temperatures and frequent rainfall.
Our expedition took place during the first half of October, and we were disheartened to have missed the picturesque golden rice fields that are visible in September. If your goal is to witness the breathtaking beauty of the buckwheat flowering season, plan your visit for October or November.
What should I pack for the Ha Giang Loop?
When planning your packing list for the Ha Giang loop, it’s essential to consider the time of year you’ll be visiting. However, regardless of the month, it’s imperative to bring along a waterproof and windproof jacket, a raincoat, a hoodie, long pants, short pants, a swimming suit, and an extra pair of shoes.
During our trip, we brought only these items (along with five shirts each), but we realized that we could have benefited from an additional hoodie and pair of long pants. The weather in the region is unpredictable, and if it starts raining, you’ll quickly get drenched, so it’s ideal to have extra clothing to change into.
Pro Tip: It’s advisable to bring a pair of shoes that you won’t regret getting dirty or wet.
How to do the Ha Giang Loop?
The breathtaking scenery and rich culture of Ha Giang beckon travelers from all corners of the world. But how should you explore the famed Ha Giang Loop? It is recommended to book a tour with a local guide or do it yourself.
Book a Ha Giang Loop Tour with local guides
If you truly want to experience the essence of a destination and discover hidden gems that only locals know about, then you should consider booking a Ha Giang Loop Tour with local people.
Booking a tour with a local guide is a surefire way to have an authentic and hassle-free experience. Local tour operators can create an itinerary that suits your interests, which you can’t get from a cookie-cutter tour.
So what’s included in the Ha Giang Loop Tour:
- All fees & taxes
- Semi-automatic motorbike rental (you can change to an automatic or manual motorbike)
- English-speaking guide
- Food & water
- Safety equipment (helmet, knee & elbow pads, backpack cover, first aid kit,…)
- Ha Giang Loop route map
Do the Ha Giang Loop yourself
On the other hand, for adventurous and independent travelers, doing the Ha Giang Loop on their own can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, this option requires a lot of preparation and planning, as well as some degree of off-road driving skills.
There are many places to rent motorbikes in Ha Giang. You can ask your hotel or hostel for recommendations, or look online. Make sure to choose a reliable place that has good reviews.
When organizing a Ha Giang motorbike rental, you will be provided with a Ha Giang Loop map with obvious directions, precise lengths and must-see destinations. The following is a list of scooters and motorcycles that are typically offered for rent, along with an estimate of their price:
- Semi-automatic scooters: 180K VND (~ $7.57)
- Automatic scooters: 350K VND (~ $14.71)
- 150cc motorcycles: 550K VND (~ $23,12)
One thing to remember is that you need to have a valid driver’s license to rent a motorbike in Vietnam. If you don’t have one, you can’t legally ride a motorbike. But don’t worry, you can still explore Ha Giang by hiring an Ha Giang easy driver or joining a motorbike tour.
What are the roads like in Ha Giang?
You can’t ignore Ha Giang Loop difficulty as the roads there are winding and mountainous, with steep inclines and hairpin turns. The roads can be narrow and uneven, and there are often no guard rails. However, the roads are generally in good condition, and the scenery is breathtaking.
If you’re not an experienced rider, it’s still possible to do the Ha Giang Loop. You can hire an Ha Giang easy driver or join a guided tour. Many tours offer both self-guided and guided options, and the guides are experienced and knowledgeable about the area.
How much time does the Ha Giang Loop take?
While the most famous itinerary is Ha Giang Loop 3 day tour with easy rider, it’s highly recommended to allocate more time for a complete and fulfilling experience. The region boasts breathtaking scenery and cultural gems, which cannot be fully appreciated in a rush.
Travelers who choose to stay longer can immerse themselves in the local culture, interact with the hospitable locals, and delve deeper into the natural beauty of the region. It’s recommended to try Ha Giang Loop 4 day tour or you can extend it up to a week. The Ha Giang Loop is more than just a sightseeing adventure; it’s an opportunity to connect with nature and the local people.
Where to stay in Ha Giang?
When traveling along the Ha Giang Loop, there are numerous options for lodging, including Ha Giang Loop hostels and homestays that provide a cozy and reasonably priced stay with the added bonus of local hospitality.
Additionally, if you are someone who prefers sleeping under the sky, certain areas also permit camping. It’s advisable to pre-arrange your accommodations, particularly during the peak season, to avoid any last-minute complications.
What to eat while on Ha Giang Loop?
Ha Giang food is a standout feature of the trip, showcasing a diverse range of local delicacies to savor. The region’s cuisine is a reflection of its rich cultural heritage and geographic diversity. Ha Giang’s location near the Chinese border has influenced its culinary traditions, resulting in a fusion of Vietnamese and Chinese flavors.
Local eateries offer delectable options such as pho, bun cha, and banh mi, in addition to traditional dishes like thang co (a fiery stew made with horse meat) and men men (a variety of cornmeal cake).
As you traverse the region, make sure to indulge in the tempting assortment of local snacks and beverages, including rice wine and corn wine. Rice wine is a popular alcoholic beverage made by fermenting glutinous rice, while corn wine is made using the fermentation of ground corn. Both beverages are a must-try for those seeking an authentic culinary experience in Ha Giang.
Ha Giang Loop Itinerary
Once you arrive in Ha Giang, you’ll be amazed by the stunning natural landscapes and the unique cultures of the local ethnic groups. But with so many things to do in Ha Giang, it can be overwhelming to plan your itinerary. That’s why I’m here and note down interesting schedules to help you make the most of your time in Ha Giang.
3-day Ha Giang Loop Tour
- Day 1 (130km): Ha Giang city – Bac Sum Pass – Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate & Twin Mountains – Can Ty Lonely Tree – Tham Ma Pass – Lung Cam village & Pao’s House – Vuong’s Family Palace – Lung Cu Flag Tower – Dong Van Ancient Town
- Day 2 (101km): Dong Van Ancient Town – Ma Pi Leng Pass – Nho Que River – Skypath – Meo Vac – Du Gia Village
- Day 3 (120km): Du Gia Waterfall – Duong Thuong Valley – Lung Tam Linen weaving Craft Village – Yen Minh Town – Ha Giang city
4-day Ha Giang Loop Tour
- Day 1 (140km): Ha Giang city – Bac Sum Pass – Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate & Twin Mountains – Can Ty Lonely Tree – Tham Ma Pass – Lung Cam village & Pao’s House – Vuong’s Family Palace – Lung Cu Flag Tower – Lo Lo Chai Village
- Day 2 (60km): Extreme North of Vietnam – Dong Van Ancient Town – Nho Que River – Ma Pi Leng Pass – Skypath – Meo Vac
- Day 3 (80km): M-shaped Bend – Duong Thuong Valley – Du Gia Waterfall
- Day 4 (120km): Du Gia – Lung Tam Linen weaving Craft Village – Yen Minh Town – Ha Giang city
How much does the Ha Giang Loop cost?
The cost of the Ha Giang Loop depends on your budget and travel style.
Renting a semi-automatic motorbike costs around 180K VND per day($7.56), so the total fee for 4 days is 720K VND ($30.24). The fee could be higher if you have automatic scooters such as Honda XR 150 with 550K VND per day ($23.1).
Accommodation prices vary, but you should be able to find a private room in a homestay for around 200K-400K VND ($8-16).
Food prices are also budget-friendly, with a vegetarian dish in a local restaurant costing around 50k VND ($2) and about 100k ($4) in a homestay. Meat dishes are usually only a dollar or two more expensive.
As for gasoline, expect to pay around 24k VND ($1) per liter.
If you’re considering joining a tour, be sure to factor in the cost of the tour itself, minus drinks, snacks, tips, and transportation to Ha Giang City, where most tours start. It’s always a good idea to contact tour operators beforehand to find the best option for your budget.
To truly appreciate the beauty of the Ha Giang Loop, watch this captivating video:
The Ha Giang Loop is an unforgettable experience that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. To make the most of your trip, take your time, enjoy the scenery, and immerse yourself in the local culture. It’s also important to be respectful of local customs and traditions, and to follow safe riding practices on the winding mountain roads. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have an unforgettable adventure in Ha Giang.