Vietnam's Northern Border: AKA Ha Giang Province

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Asienizen, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. Asienizen

    Asienizen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Vietnam
    A little while ago I spent 6 days travelling through Ha Giang Province, the northern frontier of Vietnam. It's got lots of different tribal groups and the best mountain scenery of Vietnam -IMHO.
    But the best thing about Ha Giang - it is far off the usual tourist routes, the only people who go there are serious about their travelling. I'll post a few pictures and comments, if you want more info you can click the link to my blog for details.

    Day 1: Hanoi to Ha Giang City - 298km and 9 hours
    The road was fairly well paved, the terrain gentle rolling hills and valleys. Cloudy and rainy.
    [​IMG]

    Day 2: HG City. I waited for my travel buddies to meet me to strike out the next day. Small town by a river - still clouds and rain.

    Day 3: HG City - to Dong Van town. 6 hours
    Fortunately the sky cleared as soon as we left HG City we climbed slowly at first, through scenery like this.
    [​IMG]

    Then we began to climb up a very winding road to the Dong Van karst Plateau.
    [​IMG]

    For the next few days we were between 3,000 ft and 5,000 feet elevation. The mountain terrain changed almost every time we went over another pass.
    First it was like this:
    [​IMG]

    Then it changed to this
    [​IMG]

    Then it went to pine forests oddly enough
    [​IMG]

    Then it got real rocky
    [​IMG]

    and steep
    [​IMG]

    finally we got to Dong Van for the night. Not much of a town - but a great location.
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Asienizen

    Asienizen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Vietnam
    Day 4: We took a day trip to the northernmost point in Vietnam, Lung Cu. It was a little more than an hour of driving through more amazing mountain terrain.
    [​IMG]

    The road ended at a monument which was being climbed by dozens of Vietnamese. here is a shot of some tribal women in traditional clothing.
    [​IMG]

    There wasn't much to the town of Lung Cu, so we went back to Dong Van and climbed up a nearby peak where an old French fort was situated on a cliff top.
    [​IMG]


    Day 5: Dong Van to Bac Me. 7 hours
    The Road first out of Dong Van to Meo Vac was spectacular, I feel it had the best scenery of the whole trip, my picture do not do it justice.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Finally, we descended to a river valley, and drove along that for several hours till getting to Bac Me. It was some times a very narrow valley.
    [​IMG]

    Bac Me was in a low, flat valley. It wasn't very large, but the fields and rural scenery were very picturesque.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Day 6: Bac Me to Ha Noi, 370km 13 hours.
    I was planning to stop in HG City again, then drive back to Ha Noi on the seventh day. But I decided to go the whole way instead. I wouldn't recommend that. But the road conditions were not too bad, despite the rain.
    [​IMG]

    Overall, I'd say the Ha Giang area has the best mountain scenery that I've done in Vietnam yet. It's off the normal tourist track, and the roads are challenging without being suicidal. You can do the trip on just about any kind of bike, but a trail bike may give you a bit more assurance on the few unpaved sections.
    Best time to do it, I'd recommend October/ November when it's cool and dry.
    #2
  3. VietHorse

    VietHorse Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,921
    Location:
    Recalculating... recalculating.... HCMC-Vietnam :)
    You have visited the great place.
    I missed it this year to visit at the time of Golden crop over there.
    More pix please!
    #3
  4. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,923
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Thanks for the report.
    That's some amazing terrain !!
    #4
  5. Asienizen

    Asienizen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Vietnam
    OK, Viethorse - I'll put up a few more pictures, but if you want to see more, you can visit my blog: http://asienizen.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/ha-giang-mountain-majesty-1-of-2/

    or visit my photobucket page: http://s1068.photobucket.com/user/Asienizen/library/Ha Giang?sort=2&page=1

    Here's the road to Ha Giang from Hanoi
    [​IMG]

    Here's Quan Ba "twin mountain" popular for some strange reason - they look like a pair of -------.
    [​IMG]

    More rocky goodness
    [​IMG]

    Hours and hours of terrain like this, no joke.
    [​IMG]

    Dong Van's "old quarter"
    [​IMG]

    The inside of our "hotel" in Dong Van
    [​IMG]

    On the way to Lung Cu - the border
    [​IMG]

    Lung Cu, I can see China from here
    [​IMG]

    Despite the rocky terrain, the tribes use every pocket of soil between the rocks to grow crops.
    [​IMG]

    In Dong Van, astride my cheap Chinese chopper.
    [​IMG]

    Heading out to Meo Vac, it's amazing
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Down in Bac Me, our crystal clear weather, finally turned to clouds and rain.
    [​IMG]

    One of the tribal houses, they typically are on stilts
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    734
    Location:
    Oregon
    Nice pics. North Vietnam has amazing scenery; you won't find those jagged peaks in the south!
    Thanks for posting :thumb
    #6
  7. Asienizen

    Asienizen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Vietnam
    Thanks Comrade Art,
    I looked at your trip through Vietnam and it's good to see someone else has been able to enjoy what I do also. I've been from Da Nang to Hanoi on the HCM trail - amazing! However, as you point out - north Vietnam has the spectacular mountain scenery and for some reason, most people that come to Vietnam just don't go out of their way to see it.
    I'll try to post some of my pictures of the HCM road at a future date. My advice to bikers coming to Vietnam: get to the mountains of north Vietnam, before they become overwhelmed by mass tourism!
    Later.
    #7
  8. TJE

    TJE Space Emperor

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    83
    Yeah, I completely agree, it's certainly the most stunning place to ride in Vietnam (or maybe even in Asia?) I've done the trip twice, last time I took the big loop all around the border, from Lang Son to Dien Bien Phu, and then down to Da Nang, where I live. Totaled about 2,900km. Absolutely amazing!
    #8
  9. bomose

    bomose Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,425
    Location:
    Dixie
    Spectacular scenery! I missed this the first time around. Thanks TJE for bringing it back up. And thank you, Asienizen, for the report.
    #9