Vietnam is a beautiful country with a variety of outstanding landscapes including eye-catching beaches, impressive rocky mountains, scared pagodas and temples, and so on. There are so many attractive destinations in Vietnam that tourists can visit and experience a wonderful holiday such as Nha Trang – the beautiful coastal city, the flowery city Dalat, Hoi An Ancient Town… However, for me, Ha Giang is one of my most favorite Vietnam destinations.
I did not have many information and experiences about Ha Giang tourism before starting my journey. I just knew that Ha Giang is a highly mountainous region in Vietnam; therefore travel around the province can be difficult. Nonetheless, making a Ha Giang tour is my correct decision. In fact, the trip brought me a lot of surprising things.
The first place I set foot in Vietnam is Hanoi City. After a couple of days visiting the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi left me very wonderful emotions. Then, when I was hesitating about where to travel next, Aris – my companion – suggested that we should travel to Ha Giang province by motorcycle. At that time, Ha Giang was something quite mysterious and strange to me. Nevertheless, I still decided to visit Ha Giang because of my curiosity and eagerness.
Some of my friends asked me “Why would you want to go there? Tourists often do not visit this place.” These were all the replies that I received after talking with my friends about my decision. Vietnamese people were also surprised at my choice. Before the trip began, we contacted with a Ha Giang citizen, Mr. Nguyen, who is a staff at Ha Giang resort. We exchanged information only through facebook, phone messages, so when Aris and I left Hanoi, we felt a little bit worried about this adventure. However, everything seemed not too difficult than we thought. Catching a coach in Vietnam was surprisingly easier thing to us. We picked a coach on My Dinh coach station with the ticket cost of 200 000 VND. After eight hours, we arrived in a peaceful town in Ha Giang in the afternoon. We easily found out a hotel with the reasonable price, about 300 000 VND. In the next morning, we met Mr. Nguyen at the resort he works for. He prepared for us a new and lively 125cc Honda. After a breakfast, we were so eager to start out journey with the rented motorbike. The first place we traveled was in Dong Van.
We began the trip in the perfect weather with no fogs and brilliant sunlight, but it was not the best part in our journey. Our motorcycle ran through picturesque sceneries with limestone cliffs and surrounding mountains. Our first stop was in a small village, which was not too far from Ha Giang. After the challenge of overcoming a rickety bridge, we were welcomed by some children with the big smiles. Wandering around the village for a while, we saw the small house’s chimney rising. Attracted by the laughter inside, we decided to walk inside the house. As soon as people in the house saw us, they immediately welcomed us with a warm attitude. Looking inside the house, we saw that all members of the family, from adults to children, were gathering around the kitchen. Then, an elderly woman in the house invited us a cup of wine cooked by herself. We were welcomed like a family member, a familiar guest; hence, it was difficult to refuse the invitation. Although we felt a little bit screwed after drinking, a conversation between us was more friendly and easier. People here were very friendly even though we just met each other at the first time. When we prepared to say goodbye and thank everyone, we were invited to join a dinner. At the first time, we felt a little bit shy, but these people are very hospitable and warm-hearted, hence we had a happy and wonderful dinner that we will never forget. The kindness and enthusiasm of local people here once again made us a big surprise. After saying goodbye to the friendly hosts, we continued the journey to Dong Van. Passing through a pretty mountain with an impressive name “Heaven Gate”, we enjoyed such beautiful scenery that we had to temporally stop to take a lot of photos. Walking along zigzag path on the mountain, we are so excited when we reached Dong Van at night.
Dong Van market in Ha Giang province is well-known for its Sunday market, where many ethnic minority people such as Mong, Han, Dao, Giay, Tay,... gathering to do their purchases as well as selling their product. This is a bustling and crowded place where the necessary goods for daily life, for example, vegetables, livestock, agricultural working tools, clothing, cosmetics and so forth are sold. The atmosphere in the market is pretty boisterous with a lot of buyers and sellers bargaining each other. Not so many foreigners are seen here. We sat at a breakfast food vendor, enjoyed a Vietnamese noodle soup and saw a flow of people moving. Strolling around the market, then we decided to go to other outstanding places in Dong Van. Along the roads, we always saw the vitality of human and nature here. After seeing Lung Cu flagpole, we returned to the hotel when the sunlight was off. It was so lucky for us to admire the beautiful sunset. The orange and purple of the sky shined down the valley which made the fascinating scenery.
In the next day, we made a journey from Dong Van to Meo Vac Town. Meo Vac Town is 150km from the provincial capital town of Ha Giang. Meo Vac is inhabited by different ethnic minorities including the H'mong, the King, Tay, Dzao...Most ethnic groups have maintained their culture untouched from the outside world. I have to emphasize that this is the best trip that I have done. However, the winding and twisting path with high mountains and deep abysses here will not be an ideal place for the faint of heart.
After a short break at Meo Vac, we returned to Ha Giang. Before making Ha Giang tour, I was afraid that Ha Giang will not leave me any impression because I have made many mountainous tours in some Asia countries. However, after this trip, I found myself totally wrong. The majestic landscapes I saw, the hospitable and warm-hearted I met and all of my memory about Ha Giang province become the most typical highlight in not only Vietnam destinations, but also in Asia.