Half-day hike to discover wonderful Lung Khuy cave
Soak the tiring day away with herbal bath by the Dao people of Nam Dam village
Stop by the storied Pao’s House and the Hmong King’s Palace
Venture to the border marks at Lung Cu, Vietnam’s Final Frontier
Trek along the gorgeous Ma Pi Leng pass and Nho Que river
Day 1 - Enter heaven's gate
After a filling breakfast in Ha Giang City, travel up the 4C highway. In the morning light, you will get your first glimpse of Dong Van plateau at Heaven’s Gate, where a short trek uphill will reveal amazing scenery. After which you will descend from the pass and stop by what the locals call the “the Fairy Bosoms,” a pair of perfectly shaped mountains. From there, you will also be able to catch a panoramic view of the Tam Son valley.
Alternatively, if you have want to connect with your spiritual side, you can visit the Thach Son Than and Binh An temples before getting to Heaven’s Gate.
By this point it will be time for lunch. Have lunch in Tam Son town. Your evening destination will be Lung Khuy cave. To get to the cave, you have to hike along a path for pedestrians, which overlooks a stunning valley. Enjoy the cave’s otherworldly beauty during the hour-long cave walk, then exit the cave and take a local trail through paddy fields to Trang Kim, where you can enjoy the famous Trang Kim chicken pho for dinner.
At night, enjoy the hospitality and companionship of the Dao people of Nam Dam village. Enjoy the food and try a shot of local spirits with the hosts. Sit by the fireside and try a piece of smoked buffalo. Soak the tiring day away with a meltingly hot bath brewed using an ancient mixture of local herbs, then sleep in a traditional Dao house.
Day 2: Journey to the heart of the plateau
Have a filling breakfast, then get on your way and travel along the stunning Mien river valley. Travel along the highway and enjoy the view of the breathtakingly high mountain ranges on both sides. Capture the moment by taking a selfie at the bridges hanging across the river.
After that, you’ll drive up the plateau to Yen Minh. Yen Minh is famous for its misty red pine forests and spectacular terraced fields. Take a break from the road and stroll up the hillside to the pine tree forest instead. You can also hike up to the viewing point in Lao Va Chai.
Have lunch at Yen Minh town and then go back to Dong Van town.
On the way, you should drop by Lung Cam, a village famed for an ancient house that was used as the movie set in the Vietnamese classic “Story of Pao”, a poetic story about human love and fate.
After this you stop by the Hmong King’s Palace, home to the Hmong warlords who ruled this region and withstood the assaults of the mighty French empire. Walk about the King’s courtyard and contemplate the beauty of this ornate and extraordinary structure.
As night approaches, you’ll arrive at Dong Van’s Old Quarter and have dinner there. Then, you can visit the night market in Dong Van and sip a cup of café in Dong Van’s famous Old Town café.
Day 3: Up to the Final Frontier
After breakfast, you depart Dong Van town and get on your way to the country’s Final Frontier.
In the morning, you will visit the Lung Cu flagpole, a landmark at Vietnam’s Final Frontier and the proud symbol of Vietnam’s determination to maintain independence and sovereignty. After you descend the flagpole, swing by Lo Lo Chai village, home to one of Vietnam’s rarest minorities. Enjoy the Lo Lo culture and also try a cup of matcha at Café Cuc Bac, a family-run café that functions out of a traditional Lo Lo home.
Have lunch in Lung Cu, then walk a few more kilometers from the flagpole to find the border marks and the Nho Que river in the afternoon.
At night, you have two choices for dinner and accommodation: you can opt for a homestay with the Hmong people in Ma Le or one with the Lo Lo people in Lo Lo Chai. Either way, try a campfire or performance night with the minorities of Ha Giang!
Day 4: Trekking day – Ma Pi Leng pass
On day four, you will commence your day trek. Ha Giang is vast and has less trodden, mostly unknown paths. Wend your way through gorgeous landscapes, extraordinary rock terrains, and winding riverbeds.
You have three popular options to choose from at this juncture:
The first option is to travel along the Ma Pi Leng pass in the morning. Take some time to be awed by the scenery, then trek down to the Nho Que River and back.
The second option is to travel to Thien Huong village in Dong Van, then trek all the way along the Nho Que river from Thien Huong to the Tu San abyss under the Ma Pi Leng pass. From here, you can travel to Meo Vac town to rest after a long day.
The third option is to travel to Meo Vac, then trek from Meo Vac down to the Nho Que river and back.
If you travel entirely on the back of your motorbike, consider this fourth option: Drive through the Ma Pi Leng pass, then cross the Nho Que River at the Trang Huong bridge. Spend your day driving in the Xin Cai – Son Vi area, then get back across the Nho Que river via sampan to get back to Meo Vac at night.
Stay the night in Auberge de Meo Vac, a renovated Hmong house. Enjoy the performance of the Hmong folklore band at night.
Day 5: Return to Ha Giang City
In the morning, if you are there in the honey season, try a beekeeping visit and extract some mint honey for yourself! Bees here feed exclusively on mint, and their honey is one of Ha Giang’s unique products.
After this, travel from Meo Vac via the M-pass. Stop at the pass for another photo op before getting on your way. Have lunch in Yen Minh town.
As your trip on the plateau draws to an end, find yourself a gift you cannot forget! On your way back, visit Lung Tam village, home to Ha Giang’s finest linen, handmade from 100% natural materials by a cooperative of Hmong women. Whatever may be your fancy, you’ll likely find it in Lung Tam village: traditional clothes, a table cloth, a bed cover, a small purse, or even a traditional doll.
Arrive at Ha Giang City at night. Stay in a homestay at Tha/Ha Thanh village, enjoy the hospitality of the Tay people, and rest after a long journey.