A Road Trip to the Picturesque Heaven's Gate - Ha Giang

Ha Giang, Vietnam

Changi Airport Terminal 1

This adventure is: #on the weekend, #tastebud tickling, #scenic

Ha Giang: A Road Trip to the Picturesque Heaven's Gate - ...

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“Hi, it's u­­­s, Georg­i­n­a, Bri­tt­a, and ­Lee­ Lin­g­”

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Highlights

Ha Giang opened its door to tourists less than 10 years ago, one of the poorest provinces, sharing its 270km border with Yunnan.  It is a land of mountains and hills, dotted by its majestic limestone mountains, the legendary Dong Van plateau.  Its picturesque winding roads and terraced fields.  In October and Nov, Ha Giang is also famous for its bright pink rose flower fields, a special flower called Tam Giac MachSo, let's get on this road trip to the less touristy Northern Vietnam.

The highlights of the trip include:
  • Road trip to the winding, scenic, and picturesque Ha Giang especially Ma Pi Leng Pass and Quan Ba Pass
  • Explore UNESCO site Dong Van Karst Plateau
  • Visit the Palace of Hmong King
  • Visit old houses from Ming Dynasty in Dong Van
  • Visit the less touristy place, it is said it is like Sapa 20 years ago
  • Walk through the flower fields that only flowers in Oct and Nov every year

Here is a glimpse of what we will be seeing and experiencing.  

A Road Trip to the Picturesque Heaven's Gate - Ha Giang starting at Ha Giang, VietnamRoad trip view of Ha Giang, photo by Nhi Dang licensed under CC BY 2.0 

A Road Trip to the Picturesque Heaven's Gate - Ha Giang starting at Ha Giang, VietnamAnother view of road trip view of Ha Giang, photo by Nhi Dang licensed under CC BY 2.0 

A Road Trip to the Picturesque Heaven's Gate - Ha Giang starting at Ha Giang, VietnamThe Tam Giac Mach flowers that flower in Oct and Nov.  We will walk the flower fields and take as many photos as possible. 

A Road Trip to the Picturesque Heaven's Gate - Ha Giang starting at Ha Giang, VietnamA view of Quan Ba on the road trip, photo by lamtv_hn licensed under CC BY 2.0 

The scenery is gets more stunning with high passes and august mountains.  We will get photo opportunities at Quan Ba pass and Quan Ba Heaven Gate howerver we will have to climb some steps to get the perfect view point on top of a hill.  We will have lunch break at Yen Minh town.  The afternoon drive will be just amazing, our driver will do his best for us to stop as often as possible for us to admire the scenery as we make our way to Dong Van Karst Geo-park.

A Road Trip to the Picturesque Heaven's Gate - Ha Giang starting at Ha Giang, VietnamDong Van Karst Plateau, photo by Khánh Hmoong licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dong Van Karst Plateau is unique combination between geographical heritages and cutural heritages. Up to 80% of the karst formations of Dong Van Plateau are limestone formed by environment conditions and different development stages of nature. The scenery is amazing and the local life and the culture of the hill tribes such as the H'mong is something that will be very memorable for our trip. One of the typical stops is the residence of the Vuong family, still called “Palace of Hmong King”

A Road Trip to the Picturesque Heaven's Gate - Ha Giang starting at Ha Giang, VietnamVuong’s Palace, photo by Khánh Hmoong licensed under CC BY 2.0 

The next morning, on the way towards Meo Vac, we will make a stop is at Ma Pi Leng Pass. The scenery in Ma Pi Leng pass is unique with majestic and wild beauty. From the Pass, we can see thousands of gray mountains concatenate to the horizon. Next to the road is abyss and tiny Nho Que River bottoms the huge abyss.  We will continue on our drive through the small town of Meo Vac back to Yen Minh town on a different road. The landscape is not less impressive than the day before while you are traveling on a winding road amongst the grey stones.

A Road Trip to the Picturesque Heaven's Gate - Ha Giang starting at Ha Giang, VietnamOn the road trip, next to the road is abyss and tiny Nho Que River bottoms the huge abyss.

A Road Trip to the Picturesque Heaven's Gate - Ha Giang starting at Ha Giang, VietnamMa Pi Leng pass view, photo by Khánh Hmoong licensed under CC BY 2.0  

Note:
The flowers blooming are subjected to weather conditions.  I have arranged it such that we stand the highest chance of seeing the flowers bloom.

Chat with me:
I thought this place is best experienced with some trekking as we get to live in homestay and interact with the locals.  I understand however, many may not want to trek and so I decided to make this a road trip instead.  For some that may want to trek, please let me know and I will make another hiking trip to this beautiful place.

Itinerary

DAY 1: Hanoi – Ha Giang City
DAY 2: Ha Giang - Quan Ba - Yen Minh - Dong Van
DAY 3: Dong Van - Meo Vac - Ha Giang City
DAY 4: Ha Giang City - Hanoi

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