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Ha Giang travel guide

Ha Giang Introduction

| 09 Jan 2013
Last updated 09 Jan 2013

Ha Giang is Vietnam's northernmost province and something of a last tourism frontier. It protrudes from the map into China's Yunnan province and is home to the country's most breathtaking mountains, soaring rice terraces, and diverse ethnic minority cultures.

It's one of the best places for walking and trekking in the country.

Despite that impressive list of attractions, Ha Giang sees very few travellers. In the 1990s small groups of Hanoi based expats and their friends pioneered Minsk motorcycle trips along Highway 4 to the area and word got out.

But in those days, Ha Giang was only for the most adventurous. Terrible roads, unwelcoming officials requiring of complicated travel permits and the scarcity of serviceable hotels left this most alluring slice of Vietnam out of most itineraries.

In recent years things have changed. Improvements to the roads have paved the way for safer easier travel and a handful of hotels and guest houses have also opened.

Even with better roads though, travel in Ha Giang still involves long road trips that will likely keep growth in visitors in check - which is not a bad thing.

During the past decade, Sapa, more than 200kms to Ha Giang's west, has become the focus for travellers seeking to explore Vietnam's mountainous north - and it's probably developed too fast for its own good.

Ha Giang will benefit from a more measured development that, with any luck, its remoteness might impose.