- Encounters with locals
- Hiking / Trekking
- Culture (paddy field, coffee, tea ...)
- Off the beaten track
I arrived in Ha Giang in the middle of the night because I had taken the night bus from Hanoi. We were put down at the bus station and I recommend you to reserve a guest house or " Nha Nghi" in advance because the area can look a bit dodgy.
As far as I was concerned, I thought Ha Giang itself wasn't attractive. Its buildings are grey and the streets are dirty. But the strong point of Ha Giang, is the welcome ! Once we got up, we had to go and see people to organise the next part of our trip. The locals were very friendly, quickly sending us to see a friend or a neighbour so we could rent a motorbike for our tour of the north.
Ha Giang has all the shops you could possibly want and I remember there were also lots of small massage places. We stopped and had a head massage from a Vietnamese lady and it was great after the gruelling travelling we had done before.
I had heard for a long time that Ha Glang was the most beautiful patchwork of landscapes that I could ever hope to find, and that's why, this time, I wanted to dedicate my entire Vietnamese trip to this part of the country. After completing a week-long trek in this mountainous promise, I did indeed discover some of the most spectacular landscapes, from terraced rice paddies to tiny, isolated villages.
Passing through the various stages on the hike, highlights of which included Ma Pi Leng Pass, the Dong Van Plateau or the village of Pho Bang, I met local populations that were as diverse as they were hospitable. While travellers crowd around this part of the country today, a large part of that is due to the fact that Ha GIang is the homeland of a number of different ethnic minorities. Dressed in brightly coloured outfits, and still following their traditional ways of life, these populations include members of the Hmong, Dao, Tay, Nung and Lo Io ethnicities. In any event, it's a landscape that I'm not likely to forget!