Ha Giang: Alternative Destinations in North Vietnam

The beautiful of Ha Giang province with a view of Heaven’s Gate

Ha Giang hugs Vietnam’s border with China, sitting in the most northernmost point of the country. Just due east of Sapa and Lao Cao, this once-off-limits destination is slowly making its way back on to the travel map. While Ha Giang’s proximity to the Chinese border made it susceptible to political turmoil and quite difficult to physically reach, times are changing and Ha Giang is becoming one of Vietnam’s newest and most exciting places to explore.

What are the main attractions of Ha Giang? Spanning from breathtaking landscapes similar to Sapa’s (verdant valleys, craggy mountains, terraced rice fields) to a brilliant array of local colors and flavors (home to many of the country’s 54 ethnic minority groups), Ha Giang offers many of the attractions of its western neighbor (Sapa) with a few added bonuses as well. Being so remotely located and isolated from the outside world, Ha Giang retains a more traditional feel that has neither been tainted by the grips of tourism, nor the constant changing atmosphere of Vietnam.

Instead of being based around a central town that has become all but a tourist hub, Ha Giang is comprised of small villages and settlements where life goes on as it has for centuries. Local markets bustle with flavors and colors, different ethnic groups pour in from the countryside and visitors, though few, are treated to a way of life that is hard to find anywhere else in the country.

Similar to Sapa, the markets of Ha Giang are very local and entirely frequented from the outlying villagers. They come in to socialize, trade, buy and sell everything from produce and livestock to handicrafts, hardwares and other daily essentials. The remoteness of the region combined with its stunning landscapes make Ha Giang another fantastic trekking destination in Vietnam, nearly trumping its western neighbor of Sapa. Though the ‘western’ offerings of Sapa aren’t available in Ha Giang, its more unique and authentic experience makes up for its lack of comforts.

TOUR WITH HA GIANG - Northern Vietnam Adventure