Ha Giang Loop 3 day Itinerary
This 3-day itinerary is about the fastest that you can ‘do the loop’. It is fine if you want to see the main sites, but it does mean you spend more time driving and less time hanging out in cool spots getting cool photos. There is a lot to see in the area so try to spend longer if you can.
We are mainly interested in the route in this guide and if you want to find out more about sleeping and eating options, you can take a look at our other blogs.
Day 1 – Ha Giang to Dong Van [google map]
Day 2 – Dong Van to Lung Cu / Lung Cu to Meo Vac [google map]
The first and third days involve more driving and the on the third day you have the choice of taking the main road round or cutting through the centre of the loop. Cutting through will take longer so see how you feel and how the weather is.
Where to stay when you arrive in Ha Giang
If you taking the overnight bus up to Ha Giang, then you will arrive at about 6am. This is not really the time to be searching for a place to stay, even though plenty of people will be up and about.
The best idea is to have your bike rental set up because most rental places will offer you a bed to rest up and a hot shower before you head out on the road. This can be very welcome in the winter and it saves so much hassle. Giang Son hostel has to be the closest to the bus station and is a good choice.
If you are arriving by motorbike, you will probably reach town later in the day and you could stay there are head a little way out of town where it would be a bit quieter.
Some options are:
Bike rental: Giang Son Hostel Honda Wave Blade 150k/day
Take a look at my ‘Motorbike Rental in Ha Giang‘ blog for more information.
I can’t recommend Giang at Giang Son enough for bike rental. Having dealt with her many times and seeing how capable and helpful she is in some very difficult circumstances, I know that she offers the best service in town. You, honestly, cannot go wrong here.
Ha Giang to Dong Van 150km / 5hrs
This is quite a long drive but you can take the main road so it is fairly easy. The road is in reasonable condition for the most part. You will find spots that are a little potholed but this will only slow you down a little. The road goes up some fairly high mountains and it can get quite chilly and misty up there. Be prepared.
It is quicker to get to Dong Van and leave Lung Cu until tomorrow so that you have more time to stop and take photos. Day 2 is a very easy day and if you think the weather will be good, then leave Lung Cu until tomorrow.
Restaurant: (Breakfast) Banh Cuon Ba Ha (Dinner)
Ha Giang to Dong Van Map
Sights to see: KmO, Bac Sum Pass, Heaven’s Gate, Fairy Mountains, Lung Khuy Cave, Tham Ma slope, 9 Turn Pass, Hmong Hilltop Village, Pao’s House, Xa Phin Market, Hmong King’s Palace,
Other: Immigration Office
Dong Van to Lung Cu 25 Km / 1hr, Lung Cu to Meo Vac 50Km / 2hrs
Assuming you have stayed in Dong Van, today will see you take an out and back to Lung Cu and then head further South to Meo Vac. The distance is not great so you will have plenty of time to stop off for photos.
Your first destination will be Lung Cu Flag Pole which is the northernmost point of Vietnam. You can to the top of the flag pole for a great view out towards China. The road there through Ma Le is reasonable and should take much time at all. When you are there are a few little shops and a café ‘Café Cuc Bac’ to get some refreshments. There are a couple of homestays but you don’t have time for that.
Now, you need to retrace your steps and get back to Dong Van. After that, you take the main highway down to Meo Vac and you will go past the Tu San Gorge (the deepest in Vietnam) and the Ma Pi Leng Pass. Hopefully, you will have good weather and be able to really appreciate the beauty and scale.
Accommodation is easy enough to find in the main town. If you plan to stay a little way out it might be a good idea to call ahead to make sure there is room and to reserve dinner.
(out of town) Meo Vac Hmong Ecolodge
Dong Van to Lung Cu to Meo Vac Map
Sights: Ma Le Market, Close to China, Lung Cu Flag Pole, Lolo Guesthouse, Pai Lung Cave, Ma Pi Leng Skywalk, Ma Pi Leng Pass, Tu San Gorge
Xin Cai Market and Khau Vai Love Market are places you could visit if you have the time, but they are a way off the main route.
Meo Vac to Ha Giang, 140 -150Km / about 5hrs
You have two choices of route on this day and both are big days. You can follow the 4C, and actually go into Cao Bang Province, and then join the QL34 to go through Bac Me to Ha Giang. This route is tarmac all the way and quite easy to drive. This is borne out by the fact that it is slightly longer but quicker.
The other route will see you go through the centre of the loop past Mau Due and Du Gia, which are both good places to stay in their own right.
This route is shorter but the road is smaller and windier so will take a little longer. It is also more scenic and interesting than the main roads so you will need to decide what your priorities are and how much time you have for this part of the trip.
If you are taking the bus back to Hanoi, you need to have tickets arranged. Again, your bike rental firm may be able to help you. Giang Son can arrange for the bus to pick you up outside the hostel so you don’t have to go far.
Buses leave between around 6pm and 8pm, which works out fine as you won’t want to be driving back to Ha Giang in the dark and will have time to get a bite to eat and a shower before getting the bus.
Meo Vac to Giang Map
Sights: Thach Lam waterfall, Du Gia waterfall, if you think you have time.
The best time to ‘do the loop’
Of course, you can travel at any time. The loop doesn’t close and hotels will always let you stay. The weather is changeable due to the elevation so even in the ‘best times’ you may be unlucky and the converse is also true.
In the dry season there is obviously less chance of rain but it can still be quite cloudy. In the wet season there can be spells of dry or it may be that there is only one heavy shower per day, which is not a real problem. Generally speaking:
Dry season: December to April
Wet season: May to November
These seasons can be a good time to visit but you will find that there are many others with the same idea. Lots of young Vietnamese will take trips to Ha Giang around this time so it can be crowded.
February – In Spring you will see a lot of Peach and Plum Blossom.
Oct to Nov – This is the buckwheat season.
December – The season of Yellow Colza flowers
Ha Giang Loop 3 Day Itinerary
This is very much a whirlwind tour and you will probably feel quite tired at the end of it. Assuming you are taking an overnight bus back to Hanoi or on to Ha Long, you will sleep well. Your memories of this Ha Giang Loop 3 day Itinerary will remain for a lifetime.