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Ha Giang – Be the First to Visit

9th December 2014

Ha Giang is a secret paradise – the dreamy landscape is breathtaking. You're surrounded by rice fields and small limestone hills rising out of the ground. Quan Ba Pass (Heaven's Gate) 45km north of Ha Giang offers the perfect spot to view this unique scenery.

Ha Giang is located in Northern Vietnam, 11 miles away from the Chinese border. Getting there is a day’s drive from Hanoi on decent roads or a rougher overland drive from Sapa, which is the route I took. The distance is not far (165km) but the journey can be slow, particularly as some of the windy mountain roads can be muddy. As you get closer to Ha Giang you pass through small hill tribes and then the limestone cast scenery comes alive...

Without doubt Ha Giang offers a special travel experience; I didn't see any other westerners in the main town and I was trekking alone through the hill tribes. Some local Tay people said I was the first westerner to visit their village and laughed at the thought of me walking with no purpose; they walk to work in the rice fields or to meet friends in neighbouring villages.

Accommodation is basic and limited to three options. A local hotel in town, the Truong Xuan Resort and a Tay Village homestay (see below). Ha Thanh Homestay was one of the most interesting and was chosen by the Vietnamese Government to use as a homestay, as it’s clean, safe and fitted with western style toilets and shower. There’s a communal area where you sleep on a mattress on the floor. Sheets, blankets and mosquito nets are provided. The owner of this house is an entrepreneur who farms frogs and fish to sell to local restaurants. During your stay you can help cook, make sticky rice, assist with farming and rice planting and learn about traditional customs.

There’s a lot of talk about Ha Giang becoming the new Sapa, and having spent two days exploring this remote region I can see why. Now is the time to go and see its natural beauty before you’re forced to share the scenery with other tourists...

Nigel Fisher

From a young age Nigel travelled to Canada and Australia and his lifelong passion for travel began. On his 18th birthday he flew to New York and took …