Closed to foreigners for a long time, the faraway province of Ha Giang remains on the sideline of traditional tourist trails. It offers a diversified palette of landscapes and a pretty mosaic of ethnic groups, barely influenced by the turmoil and development of modern life. From the spectacular rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi and its various local tribes, to the breathtaking karst landscape of Dong Van and its White Hmong populated villages, we invite you to a fabulous photographic adventure to the limits of the northern mountainous region of Vietnam.
This tour should be taken twice a year. We suggest you hold the first tour during the rice transplantation season and the second follows the harvest season, a period during which the ethnic groups spend most of their days in the fields, to the photographer’s great delight.
Arrival day in Hanoi. For those who arrive early, we will go on an orientation tour. Explore the city, taking in sights including the Tran Quoc pagoda. This afternoon enjoy a one-hour cyclo tour through Hanoi’s famous Old Quarter and then a local historian will give a talk on Vietnam’s compelling past. Head to the bus station at 7pm to take a comfortable sleeper bus to Ha Giang Province.
- Essence Palace Hotel
- Oriental Suites Hotel
Tran Quoc Pagoda, Cyclo Tour in Old Quarter
We’ll arrive in the early morning in Ha Giang and continue our trip to reach our resort in Hoang Su Phi, nested in a beautiful rice field valley.
After lunch we will head to a nearby forested area dotted with rice terraces, and meet up with the Dap ethnic people in Ban Peo and Ban Nhung villages. Dinner and night in Hoang Su Phi.
The rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi have existed for more than three centuries; many generations of farmers from La Chi, Dao or Nung ethnic groups have shaped those hill curves, dug up the irrigation canals and terraced the mountain sides in stairs to cultivate rice. These rice fields have a total surface area of 630 km2 and are listed since 2012 as a Vietnam National Heritage site.
In the morning, we will go explore the village of Ban Luoc. It is home to the country’s largest rice terrace field, stretching over 200 acres and with an altitude difference of more than 1500 meters, and is consisted of thousands of successive platforms separated from each other by one meter. In the afternoon, we will visit Ban Phung Village with its equally visually stunning rice terraces. Dinner and night in Hoang Su Phi.
Ban Luoc & Ban Phung Villages Of Nung Ethnic Group
Before leaving Hoang Su Phi, we will visit the majestic rice terraces of Thong Nguyen. We will then head to Quan Ba, “Heaven’s Gate”, with its mountains stretching to the horizon, marking the entrance to Dong Van Karst Plateau, listed in UNESCO Global Geoparks Network.
A magnificent point of view to come back home with stunning landscape photos, hopefully helped by a nice weather. Dinner and night in Quan Ba.
On this day, we will delve into Dong Van Plateau, an extremely wild region made of limestone pitons and black granite needles: a truly breathtaking panorama.
After lunch in Yen Minh, we will head to Pho Cao, a superb H’mong village with some 200 years old houses, followed by a visit to Sung La Village, before finally reaching Lung Cam village where we’ll meet with the Lo Lo ethnic group. Dinner and night in Dong Van.
- Hoa Cuong Dong Van Hotel
For the bravest amongst us, we will go on a small trek to the summit overlooking Dong Van: after a half an hour ascension we will be greeted with a magnificent view over the valley.
We will then head towards Sa Phin to explore the surprising Vuong Chi Duc Palace, king of the H’mongs (and opium trafficking), built on a small hilltop a palace in a similar style to Chinese yamens. At its peak, the fortress boasted up to 100 inhabitants.
After lunch, we will go and visit the superb village of Pho Bang, where H’mongs keep their traditions alive. Dinner and night in Dong Van.
Hmong Palace of Vuong Chi Duc, Pho Bang village
We’ll have much to do on that morning, as we’ll go visit 2 dominical markets, linked together by one of the most spectacular road in Vietnam: better get your gear ready! The ethnic minorities of many different groups leave their home villages very early in the morning to reach Dong Van market, a place to trade merchandises but also a gathering site to socialize and meet with others.
We will then head to Meo Vac, home to the Black H’mong Eagle’s Nest. Upon arrival we’ll discover the livestock market, a one of its kind location in the Ha Giang province, where between 400 and 1000 cattle are traded during the course of the morning, along with many horses, pigs and dogs, before visiting the main market.
After lunch, we will take multiple photography stops on our journey back to Dong Van, following a road meandering through the mountain sides and getting through the Ma Pi Leng passage, overlooking a vertiginous canyon and the Nho Que River gorges further down. Dinner and night in Dong Van.
Ma Pi Leng Pass
After breakfast, we will head back to Ha Giang following a road surrounded by breathtaking karst mountain landscapes. We will take our time and make multiple landscape photography stops. We will arrive in Ha Giang in the early evening for dinner, before heading to the bus station and take a sleeper bus back to Hanoi.
Upon arrival, we’ll freshen up with a little shower and have our last breakfast together. Bid farewell to each others.
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