10/22/2019


Motorbike tour – Ha Giang Loop

5 reasons to motorcycle in amazing Ha Giang

  1. The mysterious landscape along the Chinese border is probably the most striking in the country : a mythical combination of conical limestone peaks and deep, majestic valleys.
  2. Considered by many as the last frontier for adventurous travel in Vietnam, Ha Giang already has an almost legendary status among independent Vietnamese and foreign travellers alike.
  3. Ha Giang is home to 19 ethnic minority groups. It’s a unique chance to discover north Vietnam tribes dialect and culture : Their clothes, food, music and traditions.
  4. In the last few years road conditions between Ha Giang, Dong Van and Meo Vac have improved, making access to this remoted part of the country relatively easy. With mountain passes hanging onto cliff-faces high above roaring rivers, and back-roads threading through forests of limestone pinnacles, it’s ideal territory for a motorbike road trip.
  5. This is the perfect time to drive the Northeast Vietnam tour; before traveller numbers rise.
Ha Giang is the Vietnam’s northeast province (and also the name of it’s biggest city).

Our itinerary through authentic Vietnam

Duration : 3 Days/ 2 Nights.

Tour route : Ha Giang city >  Quan Ba > Yen Minh > Dong Van > Ma Pi Leng > Meo Vac > Ha Giang.

The motorbikes tours starts in Ha Giang.You can get to Ha Giang by taking a bus from My Dinh bus station in Hanoi.It takes 7 hours from Hanoi to Ha Giang and it costs 200.000 dong (less than 10$) one way.

Day 1 : Ha Giang city > Quan Ba > Yen Minh > Dong Van : 149 km.


After breakfast and orientation in the a Tea House, then we start our motorbike adventure to the land called
“Heaven on Earth” at 8’30am. We will drive through small villages and past vast agricultural landscapes and the sweeping mountains of the North. Lunch in Quan Ba town after passing “Heaven Gate”.  

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Meals : Local Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Drive pass Phố Cáo, Sủng Là.  We will stop by these H’mong villages (a hill ethnic minority) to visit  families
and interact with the locals.
It’s once again a very enjoyable ride today that you will see amazing mountain view of the Rock Plateau.
Also, stop to visit the palace of the H’mong king, which was a royal family of high rank during French colonial
rule – this palace attracts keen interest from architecturally minded visitors due to its mixed style of European
and Chinese architecture.
Overnight at H’Mong’s homestay in Dong Van.

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Day 2 : Dong Van > Lung Cu > Meo Vac : 100 km.

If we are lucky to be in Dong Van on Sunday which means we get the opportunity to visit the vibrant Dong Van market where regional wares are bought and sold by various minority groups. 



After the market, we travel to Lung Cu flagpole where is about 24km from the central of Dong Van district. Lung Cu mount is liken as “a high forehead of the motherland” where marks the extreme North of Vietnam. From its top, visitors can see the whole of beautiful and spectacular landscape both in Vietnam and China. When we are in Lung Cu, we also will visit a small village around the area.Turn around back to Dong Van, then, drive to the peak of Ma Pi Leng pass which gives stunning views of the mountains and sweeping valleys. We arrive Meo Vac in late afternoon.


Overnight at a homestay in Meo Vac.
Meals : Local Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 3 : Meo Vac > Yen Minh > Quan Ba > Ha Giang : 150 km.


After breakfast, we start our road trip back to Ha Giang city.

Upon our arrival in Quan Ba, Yen Minh, we will make a stop in Lung Tam village, a Hmong village where you
will learn how local villagers weave brocades. After lunch at Quan Ba, we continue our trip back to Ha Giang
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Meals : Local Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Please click here to view the route!

Why motorcycling with us ?

  • Substainable. We live in Ha Giang highland, and we work here, and we have a passion for community development program which we share with all participants from parts of the world, bringing you the opportunities to discover and make a difference by helping local ethnic minority people. Booking tour with Ha Giang Tay Village, you contributed a lot in our community’s strategy of reduction poverty.
  • Exciting. We know our region and we speak the language, we are also good at English to talk with you about the interesting legends of our motherland !
  • Off the beaten track. Our team is made up of locals in order to provide to our participants with the best travel through our shared experience.
  • Convenient. As your chosen time, our tour guide welcome you in your homestay, then start your new experience Ha Giang and you will sit behind of your own tour guide.
  • Safe. All our local tour guides are fully licensed and have terrific driving records.

Price and conditions

Price :

$250USD per person (group of 1 to 2 people)

$200USD per person (group of 3 to 5 people)

Included in the price :
– Transfer and tour by a motorbike and picking transportation,
– Accommodation: homestay,
– Meal as indicated in itinerary,
– English speaking local guide,
– Entrance fees and permits during guided time,
– Water on day trek (1 bottle of water/day).

Excluded:
– International flight ticket,
– Airport tax,
– Visa and visa fee,
– Own expenses,
– Others not mentioned.
Notes : Advised to take good walking shoes, raincoats, jackets, torch, insect repellent …

* Important Note: We endeavor to keep the trip as safe as possible but ultimately but if you drive by yourself,
you are responsible for your own safety and Ha Giang Responsible Tourism is not liable for any damage or
personal injury.

Lunch with a Dao Family


Not far from the Tea House, we were led to a Dao Family’s hut. (Dao is a government classification for various minorities in China and Vietnam. They are one of the 55 officially recognised ethnic minorities in China and reside in the mountainous terrain of the southwest and south. They also form one of the 54 ethnic groups officially recognised by Vietnam. In the last census in 2000, they numbered 2,637,421 in China and roughly 470,000 in Vietnam).

The home was constructed from bamboo and straw in the traditional manner and was rasied on stilts. A small pond emerged from their backyard and a short shed sat beside it. Shan told me this shed was an “eco-toilet”, and the fish in the pond would filter the incoming waste. It was also used for showers and washing dishes and vegetables.

Entering the home I immediately felt welcomed by the presence and smell of burning wood, dark/cool atmosphere of slivers of light sneaking through the thatched roof, and casual nature of the family towards visitors. A silent middle aged man sat by the fire, brewing a red tea from the mountains as his wife asked us to sit on the straw mat.It was important that we sat cross-legged as placing feet face down on the mat was considered impolite. I also found out the hard way that it was disrespectful to pass through the middle of the mat instead of walking around the edges. The tea was poured for us from a plastic jug into glasses.

In the corner, a  female elder was chopping up pig fat and her husband removed the kernels from dried corn cobs with his bare hands. This was then ground into a powder, and used as flour and feed for the animals. We helped with this task, though initially difficult, we found the correct technique with his assistance. A small tube TV remained on for our entire stay, playing informercials and a Chinese Kung-Fu film.

We were asked to join for lunch and went out foraging for these large citrus-smelling leaves that would later be cooked with the pig’s innards. When we returned, we were offered to try a special chewing mixture that stains your mouth black and strengthens your teeth. It consisted of a powdered stone that had been burned in a fire for about seven days (a.k.a. pure calcium), a blend of wood chips and dried plants wrapped inside a betel pepper leaf. I felt a little high chewing this and the taste was very pungent, creating a slight burning sensation. You are not supposed to swallow, instead you spit the blood orange liquid into a communal spitting pail. They do this regularly and seemed amused at my weak attempt to chew.

I was also shown how to sift rice in a woven bamboo basket to find and remove small grits. The matriarchal lady who provided our tea had a particular way to do this that was hypnotizing.

Lunch was ready and they brought out another mat as more people came. Everyone wore modern clothes except for the matriarch who donned a traditional Dao head dress. The meal included these fried fern-like stalks and leaves that we had picked earlier that day, a soup with a simple broth and the citrus leaves, pig liver, fat and innards, and a chili and garlic fish sauce for dipping. Even though I don’t usually eat meat, I mindfully indulged in everything and it was delicious!

They also brought out a special medicinal rice wine with chopped wild bananas that contained large seeds. It endlessly flowed, pouring us shot glass after shot glass. Shan told me that the people view drinking tea as an intellectual activity - meant to stimulate the mind. However, drinking alcohol is considered a chance to open your heart to and share your vulnerabilities. Each family member offered to share a drink with me. We would clink our glasses and they would say something honest from the heart. The matriarch said that she usually feels self-conscious about hosting westerners because she does not have much money or own many things, but today she said Shan made her feel comfortable and confident to open up and feel at peace with sharing what she has with us. I thanked her for providing for all of us, we were touched by her generosity and candidness and told her she didn’t need to be concerned about difference of class and money as there is nothing to be ashamed of. After drinking it is customary to shake the hand of the fellow drinker. I thought this was influenced by Western culture but Shan told me it was tradition.

Once we were finished stuffing ourselves with plants, pig and rice wine - it was time to depart. We left with out minds, hearts and stomaches satisfied and memories we will not forget.

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Among the Mountains

After a breakfast of fried rice and vegetables, Mr. Shan announced “OK, we go.” So the other volunteers and I grabbed our water, phones, wallet, etc., and started walking toward the mountain along with the teenage Vietnamese students, leaving the busy street behind us. Sweating already, we stopped to watch and admire the buffalo with wooden bells around their necks and ropes attached to their septums. Beautiful, peaceful creatures. Nature encroaching on the narrow dirt road, we carried on until we arrived at a wooden house on stilts.
Took off our shoes and sandals and walked up some steps, entered the open room with a fire near the center. Fans blowing, the grandmother slicing pig fat, the grandfather peeling dried corn off the cob, the woman preparing green tea while her husband tended the fire: all of this gave a sense of controled action, of non-verbal communication. It was dark and cool in this elevated room despite the blaring sun and intense humidity outside (it’s hard to make a division between outside and inside, especially in the case of this house which is made of all natural materials and is porous, letting out the smoke, letting in fresh air and cats and bugs). A small television was in the corner, behind a mound of dried and ground corn, playing a “corny” Chinese film dubbed to Vietnamese. The beautiful woman with the ornate red cap which is traditional for the Red Yao tribe offered us shots of rice wine fermented with bananas which are grow in the mountains and retain the black seeds that are natural in bananas but which have been diminished by mutation, now appearing as the little brown spots at the interior of most bananas. Yes, please, and thank you so much. The grandma with arms like tree trunks sat near us and opened two small metal tins connected together by a chain and smeared calcium powder from one of the tins onto a leaf, added some wood chips, wrapped up the combination like a burrito, and commenced to chew. “They don’t have problems with cavities” said Shan as gramma spat a wad of dark orange spit into a bucket. “But it makes teeth black” added one of the students. Kyle, a volunteer from Vancouver, a psychoactive brother and Tao Te Ching-reader, bravely asked for one of the native gum concoctions and I followed suit, spitting saliva eerily colored blood-red.
We were invited to stay for lunch, and while the preparations were being made we explored the surrounding area. One of the Vietnamese students pointed at the murky pond next to the house and said “Eco-toilet” and laughed. We followed a trail leading away from the house into the oxygen-thick jungle to pick leaves from a bush that would be used in lunch somehow (another one of those points that gets lost before you even try to translate). And there we were, a mix of about 15 people sitting around a plethora of food. Pig liver, intestine, and fat. Rice, some delicious fried vines. A leafy soup. A bowl of mashed chili pepper and garlic and fish sauce. And the banana rice wine (not the slowly sipping and elegantly sniffing type of wine, but the wine that can be mistaken for whiskey and which has to be thrown down like the magical poison that it is). Like tea cups, the shot glasses were filled immediately once emptied. “When we drink alcohol we speak from the heart” explained Shan, “and with tea we speak from the mind.” Rukiya, a lovely volunteer from India, had to be coaxed into the first drink but by the end of the meal she was the one coaxing others into drinking, saying “You will cheers with me, Mika? You have no choice.” The grandma was really putting the drinks back, with obvious delight. She cheers’d me and said “We are poor people but we thank you for sharing food and our home with us. You make us more confident.” Such a sweet, strong woman.
I walked out and lit a cigarette and compassionately watched one of the students vomiting into the eco-toilet pond. I hope the fish enjoy rice wine and pig liver. By the time I returned, Rukiya was wearing traditional Red Yao clothes and being photographed. Grandpa gently sleeping in the corner, the final round of tea was poured and passed around. Wonderful to imagine the ancient trees from which the tea leaves came from up on the mountains. Everyone was smiling. Smiles transcend language I believe. We cautiously descended the steps from the house and continued on, trekking through rice paddies and a stretch of a busy street, finding our sweaty selves finally back at the unique tea house to do whatever it is we do.

8/16/2018

Ha Giang tours overview

Ha Giang - with it` s mythical combination of limestone peaks and deep, majestic valleys - is often referred as the gem of northern Vietnam. Come with us on a unique tour throughout this beautiful region, learn about the traditional ways of living and immerse yourself in the culture of ethnic minorities. 

Motorbike Tour – Ha Giang Loop

Driving motorcycle in Ha Giang

5 Reasons to Motorcycle in Ha Giang 

  1. The mysterious landscape along the Chinese border is probably the most striking in the country: a mythical combination of conical limestone peaks and deep, majestic valleys. 
  2. Considered by many as the last frontier for adventurous travel in Vietnam, Ha Giang already has an almost legendary status among independent Vietnamese and foreign travellers alike. 
  3. Ha Giang is home to 19 ethnic minority groups. It’s a unique chance to discover north Vietnam tribes dialect and culture : Their clothes, food, music and traditions. 
  4. In the last few years road conditions between Ha Giang, Dong Van and Meo Vac have improved, making access to this remoted part of the country relatively easy. With mountain passes hanging onto cliff-faces high above roaring rivers, and back-roads threading through forests of limestone pinnacles, it’s ideal territory for a motorbike road trip. 
  5. This is the perfect time to drive the Northeast Vietnam tour; before traveller numbers rise. Ha Giang is the Vietnam’s northeast province (and also the name of it’s biggest city). 

Our Itinerary: 3 - Day Motorbike Tour 'The Loop'

Duration: 3 Days / 2 Nights

Tour route: Ha Giang city > Quan Ba > Yen Minh > Dong Van > Ma Pi Leng > Meo Vac > Ha Giang

The motorbike tour starts in Ha Giang. You can get to Ha Giang by taking a bus from Ben Xe Me Dinh bus station in Hanoi. It takes 7 hours from Hanoi to Ha Giang and costs 200.000 dong (less than 10 USD) one way.

Day 1: Ha Giang city > Quan Ba > Yen Minh > Dong Van : 149 km 

After orientation at the Tea House, we start our motorbike adventure to the land called “Heaven on Earth” at 8:30 a.m. We will drive through small villages, pass vast agricultural landscapes and the sweeping mountains. We will have lunch in Quan Ba town after passing “Heavens Gate”.

Beautiful mountain scenery in Ha Giang


After lunch we will drive to the Hmong ethnic tribe villages, Phố Cáo and Sủng Là, to visit families and interact with the locals.

It is once again a very enjoyable ride that offers amazing mountain views of the rock plateau.

We also stop to visit the palace of the H’mong King. This palace attracts keen interest from architecturally minded visitors due to its mixed style of European and Chinese architecture.

Overnight at H’Mong homestay in Dong Van.

H’Mong homestay in Dong Van


Day 2 : Dong Van > Lung Cu > Meo Vac : 100 km

If we are in Dong Van on Sunday, we will visit the vibrant Dong Van Market where regional wears are bought and sold by various minority groups.

Afterwards we travel to Lung Cu flagpole which is about 24 km from the central of Dong Van District. We go to the top of the Lung Cu peak which is known as the “high forehead of the motherland”. There you can see the spectacular landscape of the border region of Vietnam and China. When we are in Lung Cu, we will visit another small village. Turning back to Dong Van, the peak of Ma Pi Leng pass will give you stunning views of the mountains and sweeping valleys. We arrive in Meo Vac late afternoon.

Overnight at a homestay in Meo Vac.

Day 3 : Meo Vac > Yen Minh > Quan Ba > Ha Giang : 150 km 

After breakfast, we start our road trip back to Ha Giang City.

Upon our arrival in Quan Ba, we will make a stop in the Hmong village Lung Tam, where you will learn how local villagers weave brocades. After lunch at Quan Ba we continue our trip back to Ha Giang.

Please click here to view the route! 


Mountain people


Why Motorcycle With Us? 

  • We know our region well and we can tell you all the interesting legends of our motherland!
  • We support responsible tourism. Our aim is to preserve our culture and show it to you in the most natural way. 
  • By joining our tour, you benefit to reduce poverty in our region and set up job opportunities. 100 % of the funds goes to our local guides and homestay owners.
  • With us you sleep in "real homestays" and experience delicious local food!
  • It is safe! All our local tour guides are fully licensed and very experienced drivers. 
What is included?

- English speaking local guide
- Transfer from Ha Giang, transportation via motorbike with your local guide/driver
- Accommodation in a traditional homestay
- 7 Meals and water
- All entrance fees and permits during guided time

What to bring?

Walking shoes, raincoat, jacket for cold nights, long-sleeved clothing for sun protection, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a torch.


Price: 200 USD per person (group of 3-5 people)
           250 USD per person (group of 1-2 people)




*Important Disclaimer* We do our very best to keep the trip as safe as possible, but you are responsible for your own safety and Ha Giang Responsible Tourism is not liable for any damage or personal injury.

Cultural Tea Tour with the Red Dao

For a chance to learn firsthand about the fascinating culture of the Red Dao tribe, come and join us on our guided cultural tea tour. Explore the breathtaking beauty of northern Vietnam and discover the ancient secrets of the Che Shan Tuyet tea trees. Whether you are a long time tea enthusiast or just a curious traveler looking to learn about the tribal way of life, this is the perfect adventure for you.
The tour starts from just outside Ha Giang city and a full description can be found below.

Che Shan Tuyet tea tree

Ha Giang Tribes and Tea Tour



Day 1

Leave from Tea House of the BaiYou Tribe travelling on the back of a motorbike driven by your local guides. You will be taken to the Lung Tao village situated high up on the Tay Con Linh Mountain.
Here you will leave the motorbikes and take a short trek through the village to the family home that will be your homestay. You will have a home cooked lunch with the family and enjoy some fresh tea.
After lunch you will trek up into the mountain to see the ancient Shan tea trees and the wild cinnamon. From here, you can enjoy the magnificent views of the valley below and learn from your guides about the fascinating history of the tea trees.
Following this you will come back down to the village and relax in the family home as dinner is prepared. The evening will be spent with the locals and you will spend the night in the homestay.

Day 2

You will start the second day by having breakfast at the homestay. From there you will make your way through the village to meet and observe local artisans. This will include the traditional process of making various kinds of teas. Also you will be able to see the locals handcrafting a variety of different things such as jewelry, clothing and paper.
Towards the afternoon you will be taken to see some of the surrounding areas including stunning waterfalls and elegant rice terraces. A picnic lunch will be provided so you can have your meal while enjoying the spectacular landscape.
After this you will return to the village and make your way back to the motorbikes. You will then return to the tea house and should arrive around 5:00 p.m.

What is included?

- English speaking local guide
- Transfer from Ha Giang, transportation via motorbike to a small village in the mountains
- Accommodation in a traditional homestay
- 4 meals and water

Price: 130 USD per person (max. groupsize: 5 people)


For more information about the ancient tea culture of Vietnam click here