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The Hà Giang Loop in Vietnam has it all: the nature, the thrill, the culture and the adventure. It doesn’t matter which travel buddy you’re trying to please, this place will do the trick. It was the top favourite thing we did in Vietnam, hands down!
Hà Giang is the northernmost province of Vietnam, sharing borders with China. The region hasn’t been on traveller’s itineraries for long, so you’ll find unspoiled and pristine nature all around. No tourbuses, no selfiesticks, no blocked views. The best way to discover Hà Giang is by motorbike: there is a 435 kilometers long road winding through the whole province, taking you to the most incredible sights. Ready to read how to explore this place in the best way? You’ll find all the ins and outs in this Hà Giang Loop guide.
How to get there
It’s not always easy to get to places that aren’t discovered by mass tourism yet. But luckily in this case, Hà Giang is not too difficult to reach. Most people go from Hanoi to Sapa and then onto Ha Long Bay. Hà Giang is conveniently situated in between Sapa and Ha Long Bay, so you can easily squeeze it into your itinerary.
If you travel to Hà Giang from Sapa, your best option is taking the bus. From the central busstation in Sapa, you can buy a ticket for the local bus or the tourist bus. In both cases, it’s five to seven hours to get there, depending on traffic. We travelled with the local bus, which was a bit cheaper than the tourist bus. It wasn’t the most comfortable experience, though. If you’re looking for a bit more comfort, we suggest hopping on the tourist bus.
If you’re coming from Hanoi, it’s easiest to grab a (sleeper)bus. We don’t have personal experience with this option, but if you head over to this website, it won’t be too difficult finding a suitable option.
How to arrange your Hà Giang Loop experience
We found the best way to discover the Hà Giang province is by following along the 435 kilometer long road on a motorbike. This gives the feeling of ultimate freedom and adventure. It’s also possible to hire a car/van with a driver, but that’s quite expensive. Still, it’s a good option for families travelling with little kids or people that don’t like being on a motorbike.
We arrived in Hà Giang City in the late afternoon, which gave us plenty of time to arrange everything. There are several local companies offering Hà Giang Loop tours: we went with the tour offered by the Jasmine Hostel. They take you on a 3 or 4-day tour around the Hà Giang province. You’ll travel with a group of other traveller’s and a guide that knows the area very well. They arrange a motorbike, protective gear and maps for you. They also set you up with fun activities during the day and hostels to stay at after a day of riding around. Still, it’s up to you whether you follow the group or not. You can also drive by yourself and choose your own accommodation!
As we’ve mentioned before, you can do the Hà Giang Loop in either three or four days. The longer tour is best if you like to take it slow, but we chose to do it in three days since it fit our itinerary better.
This is how much it will cost
We weren’t expecting it, but it’s actually quite cheap to book the Hà Giang Loop experience with the Jasmin Hostel. Here’s a calculation of the money we’ve spent:
- Motorbike rental (including protective gear): 200.000 dong/8 euros per day
- Petrol: 200.000 dong/8 euros in total
- Insurance (optional, but recommended): 100.000 dong/4 euros per day
- Homestay (including dinner and breakfast): 220.000 dong/8,50 euros per day
- Lunch: 50.000 dong/2 euros per day
If you don’t feel comfortable driving a motorbike yourself, you can also hire a so-called easy rider. This is an experienced Vietnamese driver that will take you along the route. The price for this option is higher, though. Add around 400.000 dong/16 euros per day to the calculation stated above.
TIP: It’s also possible to ride a motorbike together with a friend or your partner instead of alone or with an easyrider. This is definitely more fun and will save you some money!
The Hà Giang Loop itinerary
Day one: Hà Giang – Yen Minh (95 km)
The loop starts at 09.30 am at the Jasmine Hostel. You’ll head out to the Quan Ba district. Here you’ll visit different sights and stop for lunch with the group around 12.30 pm. After lunch it’s time to admire the scenery at the Dong Van Karst Plateau and make a trip to the Lung Khuy Cave. Around 16.30 pm you’ll arrive in Yen Minh, where you can sleep for the night. The group of the Jasmine Hostel will stay at Bong Bang Homestay, but you can of course choose to spend the night somewhere else.
Day two: Yen Minh – Dong Van (100 km)
You can have breakfast at 08.30 am and then hit the road again. You’ll conquer the narrow, winding road of the Tham Pass and after that, visit the Chinese Vuong Palace. After lunch, the road takes you to the Chinese border with a stunning viewpoint. Around 17.00 pm you’ll arrive at CND Hostel, where you can stay for the night.
Day three: Dong Van – Du Gia (120 km)
Your journey continues over the Ma Pi Leng Pass, with amazing views. This is probably the best part of the whole trip and is therefore called the Happy Road. At 11.00 am you can do a trek to Sky Gate, which we found to be a great viewpoint. Do be careful: the path is quite rocky and steep. You’ll have lunch in Meo Vac City and after that you continue to Du Gia, where you can sleep at Du Gia Homestay.
Day four: Du Gia – Hà Giang (120 km)
This is – sadly – already the last day of the exhilarating Hà Giang Loop. After a visit to a waterfall and the Lung Tam Village, which is known for its traditional handcrafts, you’ll make your way back to Hà Giang City.
Where to stay in Hà Giang City, Vietnam
If you want to stay in Hà Giang City one night before you start the loop (or one night after), these are some great options for accommodation.
Jasmine Hostel (Hà Giang City): if you’re planning on doing the loop with Jasmine Hostel as your organizer, you might as well stay at their cozy place. They only have dorm rooms, but they’re all clean and comfy with airconditioning. The hostel also serves a nice dinner. A night in a dorm bed will cost you around 8 dollars including breakfast. Book this accommodation here!
Hà Giang Historic Hotel*** (Hà Giang City): if you’re travelling with your partner, family or you just crave a little more privacy, this is the place for you. The rooms are big, with proper beds and a clean bathroom. The family that runs the hotel serves good food all day long. A night in a room for two with airconditioning, including breakfast costs around 25 dollars. You can book this accommodation here!
If you have any questions regarding the Hà Giang Loop in nothern Vietnam, please drop a comment in the comment section below!