Get Lost in the Hills
Just a few kilometers from the provincial capital is Thon Tha, home to a community of warm Tay minority people living as they have for hundreds of years. Trekking opportunities are plentiful with a small number of well-versed guides.
The Quan Ba Pass holds a lookout that lives up to its name: Heaven’s Gate. Quan Ba Twin Mountains are a lovely sight to behold from the road. The two round-shaped green hills lying side by side in the middle of the rice field will surely catch your eyes because of its charming appearance. Right near the Twin Mountains lies the Heaven Gate which is on a height of 1500m above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the valley below. It’s such a wonderful experience to take in such scenery during your trip. You can stop at Quan Ba to a quick rest before going up the winding road to Dong Van Karst Plateau.
Quan Ba is also the gateway to the UNESCO recognized Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, a landscape characterized by lofty limestone peaks and rock-strewn fields. Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark is the main thing to do in Ha Giang. Listed as a member of UNESCO Geopark Network, Dong Van features a vast area of limestone which covers most of the four provinces of Ha Giang. Located on the height of 1400 – 1600 meters above sea level, the geographical characteristics of Dong Van Plateau are just as dramatic as it can get with sheer mountain cliffs running to the horizon.
Visit the Sa Phin H’Mong Palace
High up near the border with China stands a H’Mong King Palace in the village of Sa Phin. Built in 1902 during the French occupation, the wood-framed palace is done in the traditional Chinese style and oozes character. Descendents of the king who called this palace home are still living in the area and sometimes give an unofficial tour.
Covering a total area of 1,120 square meters, the palace was used as a residence and fortress during the Vuong Dynasty. The two storey, 50-meter-long palace that took eight years to build has four long houses and six wide houses with 64 rooms for the king’s wives, children and soldiers. All the walls are 50-60 centimeters thick. Surrounding it is stone barrier which is 2 meters high and 80 centimeters thick. The palace is divided into many areas such as the dining room, bed room, kitchen, marijuana store, rooms of his wives, a prayer altar and an area for criminal executions.
Observe Lung Cu's Flag
Make time in your Ha Giang trip to journey north to Lung Cu, where a gigantic Vietnamese flag blows proudly at the border with China. The best time to arrive is late afternoon as the heat subsides, making the climb of 200 steps a little kinder. The grand mountain view as the sun drops is worth the effort.
Conquer Ma Pi Leng Pass
The roads that weave paths among this region serve up the ultimate in motorcycle adventure. The drive down into the town of Dong Van is impossibly beautiful, and the town holds a small but captivating old quarter with ancient buildings and a market that is a riot of colour every Sunday. The Ma Pi Leng is the jewel in the crown of Ha Giang’s many stupefyingly stunning stretches of road. The highlight is a lookout point where the road snakes past a deep gorge carved by the Nho Que River at around 1,500m.