Here we go exploring Vietnam’s north end, Ha Giang province, last tourism frontier in growing evolution.

The city of Ha Giang, about 70.000 inhabitants, develops along the banks of river Lo. As told in our previous post, the bus from Cao Bang and Bao Lam dropped south to the city, so we opt for a guesthouse in the suburbs, as only things we need from this place are a motorcycle and a bed.


We plan our next days and as always we are rushing, wanting to see the most possible. We walk out of the place at 7 am, booking another night and leaving our belongings in the room. This means that, anything happens, we have to come back for the night. “Anything happens” includes the 357 km we will ride by bike up and down the mountains, in 12 hours…

Hanoi to Ha Giang bus

Our trusty Honda Blade and Marijuana leaves picked right along the road!

When we say to the woman who’s renting us the bike that we want to go to Dong Van and be back the same day, she thinks we are crazy and laughs at us, saying we need 2-3 days and have to stop there for the night. But we have no time and Edo is determined, for the joy of Ambra.

From Ha Giang we drive up through the beautiful Quan Ba pass and reach the village of Tam Son on the other side.

book bus Hanoi Ha Giang

Up to Quan Ba pass

Ha Giang how to go

Top of the pass

A violent but short thunderstorm blocks us for half an hour, before getting to Yen Minh.

Bus Hanoi Ha Giang how to book

Kids shelter from the thunderstorm

To reach final destination of Dong Van we have to climb on another pass, riding through an amazing lunar landscape formed by calcareous rocks. We are keen on extending the trip a little bit more (Ambra isn’t), and take a detour all the way up to Lung Cu, which is the northern-most highpoint of Vietnam: a tower with a flag on top stand out in front of Chinese hills.

Lung Cu tower Ha Giang bus

Lung Cu tower

On top of the tower at Lung Cu, Ha Giang province bus

On top of the tower at Lung Cu, northern-most point of Vietnam, with view on China

On the way down we reach Dong Van, where we stop for a noodle lunch. The town is very small and not really full of attractions, to be polite; even if it’s gonna be long, we are not sad not to stop here for the night.

Last wonder of this loop, Mai Pi Leng pass, between Dong Van and Meo Vac, among steep sides covered by rice terrace, huts, and local people who climb and work at all altitudes and slopes.

Mai Pi Leng pass, Ha Giang Hanoi bus

Mai Pi Leng pass

Many ethnic tribes populate these areas, everybody works, women and children in the fields and on the roads carrying big loads on their shoulders, while men transport goods on their motorcycles and trucks.

Farmers on steep slopes, Ha Giang bus how to book

Farmers on steep slopes

Local woman at Meo Vac, Ha Giang how to go

Local woman with a tiny basket on her shoulders, close to Meo Vac

Suddenly a deep canyon takes the scene, the view is awesome, we don’t know where to watch first, and we stop to admire the landscape every 2 minutes.

View on the canyon, Hanoi to Ha Giang

View on the canyon

The valley widens, Ha Giang province Vietnam

The valley widens

But time is running out, it’s 4.30 and we have to drive 160 km to get back, most important we have to reduce to the minimum the km to be driven at night time. We only stop to fill the tank once more (3rd time today). At 7 pm it’s dark and we still have 60 km to go. In the dark it’s more dangerous to take bends and airpins, street lights are a prerogative of cities only, our asses are worn by the saddle, and thousands of hateful butterflies are smashing my face.

The way back, Ha Giang loop how to

The way back

Eventually at 8.30 pm Ha Giang’s lights welcome us back, as we breathe a sigh of relief. Mission completed: lots of wonders and amazing landscapes seen in one day, surely one should give it more time, but undoubtedly it was worth riding each of the 357 km.