Ha Giang Cycling

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Ha Giang cycling is some of the most amazing experience in South East Asia. Every day offers a different terrain, gradient, vista and climate as you climb and descent the various altitudes of the Ha Giang Plateau.

Ha Giang cycling is a unique experience to remember and if the memory of burning leg muscles aren’t enough to remember it by, then your amazing photographs almost certainly will be.

Ha Giang province

Ha Giang province is covered by forest with dense undergrowth and tumbling streams, waterfalls and pools. This unspoilt, sparsely populated region is home to a staggering variety of hill tribes, many of whom don’t even communicate in the national language and who live by their traditional, subsistence farming ways.

ha giang yen minh

The province is located in the mountainous region in the northeast Vietnam. It is located in the far north of the country, and contains Vietnam’s northernmost point. The province shares a 270 km long border with Yunnan province of southern China, and thus is known as Vietnam’s final frontier.

There are 10 districts including Bac Quang, Quang Binh, Xin Man, Hoang Su Phi, Vi Xuyen, Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, Meo Vac, Bac Me and Ha Giang city – the provincial capital.

Ha Giang city connected by Highway 2 and is 320 km away from Hanoi. Ha Giang is on National Highway No.2, 34, 279 linking to Yen Bai, Cao Bang, Lao Cai provinces in turn. The border crossing is at Thanh Thuy, 25 km from Ha Giang city.

Ha Giang Vietnam map

Ha Giang travel permit

Ha Giang is one of few places in Vietnam where foreigners are required to obtain a permit to travel. These permits are required to travel in the border region, on the road north from Tam Son to Dong Van and Meo Vac. The permit is also required for trekking in the area of Hoang Su Phi, Xin Man. Your hotel or hostel will be happy to assist you to get this provincial admission permit (Dong Van Geopark permit). In case you book a guided bike tour through Vietnam Cycling, we will take care of the permit.

How to get to Ha Giang?

Hanoi to Ha Giang by private car

Ha Giang city, where most traveler will start exploring the province, is located 320 km from Hanoi. Most people rent a private car with driver to Ha Giang. The journey takes approximately 6 hours. You can be picked up at any place in downtown Hanoi, at any time in the day which may fit your plan.

Hanoi to Ha Giang city by bus

hanoi to ha giang by bus

Other take the bus to Ha Giang. From Hanoi the bus station with most buses is My Dinh (some 10 km, 6 miles west of Hoan Kiem Lake) where you find day buses leaving from 5.30 am till 12.30 with close to hourly departures. The night buses begin departing from 18.00 till 21.30. Both the day and night buses are sleeping couches (with no toilets inside). The bus journey takes roughly 6 ½ hours with one mid-way stop. Note that the night buses arrive Ha Giang very early, but most bus companies let customer stay on-board and continue sleeping till dawn arrives.

Sapa to Ha Giang by bus

From Sapa there are two buses daily. One at 10am and at 10pm. The journey takes about 7 hours. You can book a ticket at Sapa bus station or at any travel agency in town.

What to explore in Ha Giang?

Ma Pi Leng Pass

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The road to Ma Pi Leng Pass is quite difficult but a stop in this pass will have a panoramic overview of the province. Scenery in Ma Pi Leng pass is unique with majestic and wild beauty. Looking to the north and northeast, thousands of gray mountains concatenate to the horizon. Over the Ma Pi Leng, there has a mountain with 2.000 meters height located on the ‘Happiness’ road connecting Ha Giang, Dong Van and Meo Vac town.

Quan Ba Heaven Gate

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Quan Ba Heaven Gate is situated about 1,500m above sea level. This is the entrance of Dong Van Karst Plateau. The road to Quan Ba Heaven gate is winding, twisty crossing limestone mountains. From the top of the Heaven Gate, you could look down across a large valley of unending terraced fields, displaying a charming beauty like a paradise dimly visible through the clouds.

Dong Van Karst Plateau (Dong Van Geo Park)

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Dong Van Karst Plateau, also called as Dong Van Geo Park is situated north of Ha Giang, near the Sino-Vietnamese border. This plateau is covered by karst mountains. Dong Van is an ideal place for trekking and mountain climbing, where grandiose mountains may challenge your spirit for real. In return, breathtaking landscapes, meetings with local ethnic minorities and learn from their life’s stories are nowhere can be found in the world.

Hoang Su Phi Rice Terrace

hoang su phi rice terrace ha giang vietnam

Hoang Su Phi is a district of Ha Giang Province. It is located around 100km from Hanoi. Hoang Su Phi rice terraces have been recognized as National Heritage in 2012. These rice fields are ideal destination for sightseeing and photographers.

Hmong King Palace

ha giang hmong king palace

Hmong King Palace is located in Xa Phin Village, Dong Van District, around 24km away from Dong Van town. With an area of 1120 m2, this edifice was built in the early twentieth century in the form of the letter 王 (meaning “king” in English). This is not only a historical relic but also a fabulous architectural landmark of local ethnic groups.

Lung Cu Flag Tower

ha giang lung cu flag tower

Lung Cu Flag Tower was built on the top of the Dragon Mountain in the district of Dong Van. Plug in the 12.9m flagstaff is a national flag with an area of 54m², representing for 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam. At the foot of the tower, there is a commemorative house displaying production tools, costumes and cultural products of several Vietnamese ethnic groups in Ha Giang provine.

Pho Bang Village

Pho Bang village is a peaceful village which is 117 km from Ha Giang city. The place is the home of Hoa and Hmong ethnic groups. The local houses embrace traditional architecture. They have wooden columns and mud walls.

Dong Van Old Town

dong van old town ha giang

Dong Van Old Town is located in the middle of a valley surrounded by rocks. The quarter is formed in the early 20th century. At the beginning it has a few families of the H’mong, Tay and Chinese. Gradually, more and more other local residents came and made it the town. The oldest house is the house of Luong family built since 1860. The common architecture here is the two-story house and yin and yang roofs.

Meo Vac Town

Meo Vac town lies snugly in a smallish valley surrounded by rocky mountain. The journey here along the spectacular Mai Pi Leng Pass, about twenty kilometers from Dong Van, is the main attraction. There are different ethnic minorities groups living in Meo Vac including the H’mong, the Kinh, Tay, Dao, etc. Most ethnic groups have maintained their culture untouched from the outside world.

Ethnic market Ha Giang

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There are several ethnic markets in Ha Giang province such as Ha Giang city market, Dong Van night market, Quan Ba, Meo Vac Sunday market, Khau Vai love market…

Dong Van market

The Dong Van market is held every Sunday. On sale are local products made by Mong, Han, Dao, Giay and Tay ethnic people. To reach the market on time they have to leave their homes very early in the morning or even one day earlier.

Khau Vai love market

The Khau Vai Love Market is held only on the 26th and 27th of day of the third Lunar month. In there, both single and married people in different ethnic groups can come to find ones’ ideal life-partner and sharing their feeling and understanding to each other.

When to go cycling in Ha Giang?

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The climate in Ha Giang Vietnam is divided into two distinct seasons including the rainy and the dry season. Depending on the altitude, climate will change. The province is good to visit throughout the year. But the best months for cycling in Ha Giang start from October until April of the following year.

September to November and March to May are when the temperature is most pleasurable, in their mid 20’s.

The summer months can be quite rainy and in lower altitudes humid, expect more than 30 degrees. We don’t recommend any bicycle tour in Ha Giang in June, July, August and September due to the hot weather as well as possible landslide.

December and a bit into February the temperature falls, especially in the mountains so carry some good clothing. There are years when snow has been falling over mountain peaks of Ha Giang.

October and November is peak season for local Vietnamese tourists. It is the time when the buckwheat is flowering and expect that hotels, hostels can be very busy. It is a very good idea to book your stay and activities in advance during these months.

Cycling routes Ha Giang

Most of the surfaces on these Ha Giang bike rides are paved. At times the pavement is not in good condition, with potholes and sections of gravel, but for the most part, it is quite a comfortable, smooth surface. The traffic is busier between Ha Giang city and Yen Minh. You will enjoy Ha Giang bike tours greatly if you enjoy riding in the mountains.

Ha Giang City to Quan Ba cycling route

ha giang quan ba cycling route

Cycling for the first 25km on relatively flat road through the landscape of terraced rice paddy fields. Passing through minority villages, cycle the next 25km up winding roads into the vast limestone mountain range with its perpendicular walls of rock, climbing 800m towards the mountain road pass “Heaven gate 1”. From the pass, it’s mainly downhill for the last 15km into Quan Ba.

Quan Ba to Yen Minh cycling route

ha giang cycling route: quan ba to yen minh

Cycle uphill for the first few km before a descent of around 10km and then relatively flat terrain for the next 10km. It’s a challenging up and down terrain to an altitude of 1.025m before making a final descent for the last 15km into Yenh Minh.

Yen Minh to Dong Van cycling route

ha giang cycling route: yen minh to dong van

Cycle on semi-surfaced quiet roads onto the rocky Dong Van plateau. A registered UNESCO Global Geopark, 80% of the terrain is covered by rock and it is said to contain fossils from 400-600million years ago.

Dong Van to Meo Vac cycling route

ha giang cycling route: dong van to meo vac

Cycle on the modest road from Dong Van to Meo Vac alongside a vast gorge, the views are spectacular. This is a winding and undulating road with the sight of the Nho Que River below.

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Ha Giang Cycling Tours

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Our Ha Giang cycling tours offer both moderate and challenging cycling through a stunning unexplored area. From Vietnam’s buzzing capital, Hanoi, we journey to the remote undiscovered Ha Giang region. We cycle through a topography of hilly hairpin bends, slopes, ridges, valleys and limestone karsts; the outstanding natural beauty will take your breath away.

Find out how to plan your most enjoyable bike tour to Ha Giang Vietnam with our collection of best Ha Giang cycling tours including Ha Giang bicycle tour, cheap, budget Ha Giang bike ride, off the beaten path Ha Giang cycling holidays, easy, guided Ha Giang biking itinerary, off the beaten track Ha Giang cycle packages are crafted for family travel, private small group tour.

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Additional questions about cycling in Ha Giang?

Do you have any questions about Ha Giang bicycle tour that you want to ask us? Is there anything you think I should discuss about Ha Giang loop cycling that we left out… that we should include in future updates to this article? Just visit our FAQ page or leave a comment with your questions and we’ll write you back with a response just as soon as we possibly can.