Off the beaten track and largely ignored by Vietnam's millions of visitors, Ha Giang is a rugged and beautiful mountainous region that stretches north to China. Combine an overland tour here with the more established favourites and you’ll get a real sense of Vietnam.
Look at any holiday website for Vietnam and you’ll find the classic North to South Highlights visiting Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An and Saigon. All these are fantastic sights and should be included where possible, but as Vietnam’s tourism develops other exciting possibilities come to the fore and choices grow. Now it’s easy to include a few days off the beaten track on a private overland tour and enjoy a more rounded sense of what makes Vietnam such a perfect touring destination.
North Vietnam is a rich stomping ground for those looking to explore rural Vietnam. Best known of these are the northern mountains around Sapa, now well established as the place to head to explore the beautiful hillsides visiting local hill tribes and colourful markets. An overnight sleeper train only adds to the experience and the new road back down to Hanoi makes the retutn jouney a breeze. With the added accessibility comes additional visitors and so naturally eyes start to loook for new stomping grounds.
Ha Giang - Mountains, Rice Terraces & Hill Tribes - But Where are the Tourists!
For those who are a little more intrepid then Ha Giang awaits. North of Hanoi this is a rugged and mountainous region that stretches up to the Chinese border. Leave the traditional tourist behind as you zigzag through dramatic mountain passes over never ending craggy peaks to discover some of the most beautiful vistas in Vietnam. Each turn reveals a land covered in thick forests, broken up by small tea farms and the iconic, staircase-like rice terraces, a world away from our manicured norm.
Home to over 50 indigenous hill tribes who work hard to farm the terraced rice fields that cover the region, you will be amongst the few, not the many, who travel this far north. As the tribes live a relatively isolated life the lively local markets still act as the focal point at which villagers congregate in traditional dress to shop, eat, flirt and gossip. As a developing region luxury hotels do not exist and most visitors look forward to experiencing a selection of home stays and access to some of the best trekking in the country. Don’t forget your camera.