Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

Taking motorcycle trip through Ha Giang – Cao Bang – Lang Son, the travel route that any Vietnamese backpacker all wants to experience at least once. I also want to discover the uniqueness and rustic beauty of each destination. Our trip only within 5 days and 4 nights, it’s hard to make a plan because it is a very long road (more than 850km). Final, everything going quite well, and memorable!

Previous, I used to take motorcycle travel on Ha Giang. However, it can be said that this motorcycle trip is the best journey through three mountainous provinces of northern Vietnam. Everyone in the group cannot imagine the “crazy level” when taking this route. In the daytime, we almost only sitting on the motorbike and run, the night for sleep, the next day keeps running. The theoretical distance (in the straight line) is over 850km for 5 days of moving, ie an average of 200km / day, not to mention a lot of zigzag roads and the bluff slopes.

Everyone in the group called this the best adventure motorcycle trip. For me, it’s so simple, just the chances to explore, and to take pictures of the strange lands. I always focus on photography, everyone can do what they want, for me, photography is the top priority. I can go anywhere, but please give me a quiet space, especially on the sunset or dawn time for me take relax and take the best pictures …

We went to Ha Giang in the last days of April but unfortunately, we missed the Khau Vai love market. You can visit Ha Giang at any time. In January, you can see the peach blossom, plum blossom, yellow cabbage flowers. In April, you can visit the Khau Vai love market. In September, October, Ha Giang dyed golden with many terraced fields in the harvest season, and November you can visit Ha Giang to see the beauty of endless buckwheat fields. Can be said that any month also the best time you should arrive here, to breathing the air and admire the magnificent mountain scenery of the first point of Vietnam.

  • Day 1: Hanoi – Ha Giang
  • Day 2: Ha Giang City – Quan Ba – Yen Minh – Yen Minh – Dong Van
  • Day 3: Dong Van – Lung Cu – Meo Vac – Bao Lac
  • Day 4: Bao Lac – Cao Bang – Trung Khanh
  • Trung Khanh – Lang Son

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

Day 1: Hanoi – Ha Giang

Our purpose is taking a motorcycle trip so we chose the route of Highway 32, the total distance from Hanoi to Ha Giang is 311 km long and take 7 hours 20 minutes. We depart at 13h in the direction of Thang Long Boulevard, then go to Highway of 21 toward Son Tay.

From here, we cross the Trung Ha bridge to Co Tiet, then cross Phong Chau bridge to Highway 32, when approached Phu Tho province, turn left onto Highway 2. From here, we continue going straight to the roundabout on Highway 2C to the city of Tuyen Quang. At this point, we follow Highway 2 arrive Ham Yen, Bac Quang, Vi Xuyen then arrive in Ha Giang city.

In this adventure motorcycle trip, we have run through all over of the northern border area of Vietnam. All along the way, luckily, the motorbike which I borrowed did not damage once. Some members of the group are not so lucky, the number of spare tires that everyone carried almost no another one left until back Hanoi. The first day is the longest day because it’s the beginning stage, we even don’t have time to enjoy any beautiful scene yet, takes a whole day for moving. The road quite difficult to go so there are 3 motorbikes got punctured tires. Until it’s completely dark we just arrive Ha Giang city.

Where should stay in Ha Giang, which hotel? We had booked at Lan Huong Hostel. The rooms are a little small and not comfortable but at price of 120.000 Vnd / night, it’s quite reasonable, nothing to complain. We only need a place for a bath and rest, so this is a good option. That evening, everyone took for rest, get acquainted, and together taking pictures at the boundary point.

Day 2: Ha Giang – Quan Ba – Yen Minh – Dong Van – Lung Cu flagpole

The following days, everything seems better although we still keep running and only looking ahead, not have time to stop and enjoy the beautiful scenery on either side of the road. Sometimes, our group stop for resting on some beautiful places, but it’s too short, not enough for a photographer like me. For me, to get a good photo need a long time to wait and sought subject, it may be one or two days, even can be entire weeks I only stayed in one place and wait for the good weather. Normally, when I go under groups who have the same hobby of photographing, we only focus on photography, focus on only one places to get the quality photos. Stop at many places in short period time like this is not suited me. So, on the first day, I have understood the purpose of this trip and determined that it’s better to photograph in reportage style.

Attractions in Ha Giang – Cao Bang – Lang Son? In the morning, we get up at 5.30am to take personal hygiene, breakfast, arranging everything, filling up petrol and hit the road. Below is the stop points of our trip on the second day.

Quan Ba Heaven Gate

The way from Ha Giang to Quan Ba about 50km, there’s the famous Double Mountain located right on the road through Quan Ba town. There’re many tortuous roads winding through the large and rugged rocks. There are two ways to watch the Double Mountain, one is going through the pass a little, the second is climbing the top of the pass just under the foot of Quan Ba heaven gate. Personally, I see the road through the pass quite clear, there’s a photographing angle is better without have the climb.

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

On the beautiful days, standing in the Heaven gate, you will be immersed in the sea of clouds and mountain dew because this place is very high compared to sea level. Here you can see the spectacular sceneries, the bends and steep slopes on a side of cliffs and the other side is a deep abyss. The heaven gate is the middle point of two mountain peaks with the small road through.

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

Yen Minh

Passing Quan Ba, we on the road long 60km we toward Yen Minh town. The more we approach the Dong Van plateau the more rocky mountains appeared. We still being busy with the slopes of the pass. The road to Yen Minh is very beautiful, on either side of the road there are a lot of pines so romantic, in the distance, the mountains surrounded up by white clouds. This place as the perfect mixture of the majestic and rustic beauty of the mountains and people.

Dong Van Plateau

Leaving the Yen Minh town at noon, the sun getting burning hot, we fill up petrol and continue the trip to Dong Van plateau, a famous tourist site in Ha Giang. When I arrived here, completely overwhelmed by the scenery in front of me. Like its name, the whole is rocky and nothing but rock and rock. Rock along the road, rocks cover the hills, streams flow through the rocks, corn grows on rocky mountains, houses built on the large rocks. The road winded around the mountains like as a giant snake.

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

Sightseeing Dong Van plateau, I felt the vitality of people and nature here so strongly. The tree roots wrapped around the rocks, develop firmly. The small houses located on the cliffs, Dong Van residents lived on rocky mountains, working and breathing along with rocks!

Dinh Vua Meo

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

Leaving Dong Van plateau, we visit Dinh Vua Meo, also known as the Vuong family’s palace. This is a beautiful and solid ancient house is located underneath the valley as an impregnable fortress. Surrounding the house is the straight and towering pine trees. The house looks very mysterious and brings the impressed beauty.

This is one of the most beautiful houses in Dong Van town with unique architecture. The house designed in square shape, look from high above, there’s a square-shaped void ground in center, this is the playground, place to drink tea and catches the light for the entire house.

Lung Cu flagpole

From Dinh Vua Meo, we have to run more than 26km to reach the Lung Cu flagpole. The road is quite difficult to go with the quite rugged terrain, but the fresh green of many corn fields along the road break away the fatigue. The rocky mountains gradually appear on the road arrive Lung Cu, some pointy summit rise away to the blue sky imposingly.

This place is very famous, many Vietnamese backpackers go to Ha Giang just for the purpose of being photographed at the base of Lung Cu flagpole. This place is a place where marked the first point of Vietnam, of course, to stand under this flagpole you have to pass a lot of rugged and steep roads.

In the evening, we take the dinner, try to drink corn wine, walk around the old town and return homestay to rest. Well, it’s the second day of our motorcycle trip!

Day 3: Dong Van – Meo Vac – Bao Lac

On the third day, we wake up quite late. Opposite the homestay is a crowded marketplace with its booths and cafes built of stone. Along the road there are many tasty eateries, we choose a small booth and ate bánh cuốn. After having breakfast done, we start going to Ma Phi Leng pass and Meo Vac town.

Ma Pi Leng Pass

On the road with the rocky majestic mountains undulating, Ma Pi Leng pass is fuzzy in the early morning dew make us felt getting tiny among the vast nature. Under the bright sun on the Ma Pi Leng pass, the world suddenly miniature behind the back. I can not express emotions in words when standing on the pass and watching the zigzag river Nho Que hug all the mountains around. I get overwhelmed by the majestic and wild beauty of nature here and do not want to leave away.

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

Meo Vac

Goodbye the sunny Ma Pi Leng pass, we go to Meo Vac town. My impression on Meo Vac is the peaceful scene of the villages here. Those Mong ethnic women weaving fabric in front of the house, the pan-pipes voice of a man with the folk songs, the naughty children playing in the street, in the distance, there’s a smoke rise up and spreading around the roof tile.

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

We continue to follow Highway 4B, then go over Ly Bon bridge, turn left onto Highway 34 and go straight. At 18 h, we arrived at Bao Lac town. We booked a room in Song Gam Hotel. Rooms are quite spacious and clean, the hostess is also enthusiastic, prices only 180,000 VND / night. Especially, the hotel has the view overlooking the Gam River is very beautiful. Check-in and take bathing done, we go to the center town far away about 1,2 km to having a meal. The food here is quite varied and tasty.

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Day 4: Bao Lac – Cao Bang – Trung Khanh

After having breakfast, around 8h30 we leave Bao Lac town to Trung Khanh. On neither sides of the road, there are the green corn fields, mountain ranges in the distance, the road and weather both good, so we move quite smoothly. From Bao Lac to Cao Bang about 130km, in the first 30km, we moving on the road is pretty wide, but in the middle stage of 60km, the road has pretty much potholes, however, in 40km of the last stage to Cao Bang, the road is quite good!

About 20km from Trung Khanh town, we met Nguom Ngao cave and decided to visit this cave. After parking motorbikes, we walk about 1km to the cave. Inside the cave is very beautiful, there are many rocks in various shapes.

Ban Gioc Waterfall

Leaving the cave, we went about 5km to Ban Gioc waterfall. Previously, the entire Ban Gioc waterfall was located in the territory of Vietnam, but after the divides border agreement, the Chinese side owns the upper waterfall part. Due to standing on Vietnam side, I can not see the entirety of the grandeur of the waterfall, only see a part of the whole system of this waterfall. Here you will be sitting on bamboo rafts crossing a river which lead to the waterfall, surrounded by forests with many wooden houses built in Chinese style quite fancy. Ban Gioc Waterfall has many floors. We climb follow the trail to approach the top of the falls, it’s a rain has just stopped therefore the path quite slippery and dangerous.

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

The third floor of the waterfall is a basin, on the second floor as a reservoir pouring water into the lake and flowing down to the first floor. We came to the lake and take a bamboo raft, admire the scenery around, there are many fancy houses built between the wild scenery. The scene is like a beautiful watercolor painting and I have photographed a lot of pictures.

Adventure Motorcycle Trip Exploring Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang

It’s a pity that we arrived here only visit Ban Gioc waterfall while on the road I have seen quite a lot of villages and many small streams. This area is a demarcation zone between Vietnam and China. I take sightseeing the local market nearby, there’re a lot of business activities of Vietnamese and Chinese small traders. The air quite stuffy because people here always keep watching each other. However, if you have open-minded, let it go, just go around the stalls, photographing, there’s a lot of interesting things for you to find out.

Trung Khanh Town

Until about 17h, we returned to Trung Khanh town for rest. On the way, we meet the heavy rain, but also thanks to that we have chances to admiring the beautiful routes and amazing natural scenes in the rain.

Trung Khanh town center is quite crowded and many of the works are under construction to develop tourism, especially the road leading to Ban Gioc waterfall. We went to the old town to take check in at Minh Duc hostel. Rooms are spacious and clean, the price is quite soft with only 250,000 VND / night. The food in the town is quite cheap and delicious, cost about 50,000 VND / person. Until now, we spent the fourth day with a total journey of over 250km.

Day 5: Trung Khanh – Lang Son

At seven o’clock in the morning, everybody arranged their belongings and take motorbikes run from Trung Khanh to Quang Uyen town about 25km away. Visit Quang Uyen market, we eat the famous bún thập cẩm here. This dish is delicious, quite easy to eat and as I see quite a lot of locals also come here to eat this delicious food.

From Quang Uyen, we go on Highway 3 through Phuc Hoa and then follow road 208 arrived Dong Khe Town. From here, we go straight to Highway 4A then to That Khe, Na Sam, Dong Dang town. When it is about 10km away from the town, we left turn into Tan Thanh border gate, where having business with China is extremely developed. The girls who in a group very eager to shopping many items at cheap price.

After taking photos at the border gate, we went to Dong Dang town and stopped for lunch at 13h. From here, we run along Highway 1A to Lang Son City, then continue running through Bac Giang, Bac Ninh to Hanoi. It’s the end of the motorcycle trip through Ha Giang – Cao Bang – Lang Son over 4 days in spectacular North East route.

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Notes in the trip Ha Giang – Cao Bang – Lang Son in 5 days 4 nights

Whenever you take travel Ha Giang, you can also feel the character of the Vietnam northern mountainous. If you want to see plum blossom, peach blossom, yellow cabbage flowers brilliant colors all over the hillside, you should go to Ha Giang in January. You should visit Khau Vai love market in April and May is the season of waterfall. In September, October is the season of golden rice and in November is the buckwheat flowers dyed purple stretched to the horizon.

This route is very long and has the terrain is quite complex so you need to maintain the motorbike carefully, do not forget to bring spare tires.

The temperature of north mountainous often decrease at night, so you need to bring warm clothing even in the summer. Also remembered to bring rain coats because it is easy to meet the rain suddenly.

Should making pre-booking to avoid the case of no room or unsatisfactory room.

Finally, the road is quite dangerous, must move continuously on the long road so you need to practice and ensure good health before going.

Above I summarize all experience and things to do for for motorcycle trip through Ha Giang – Cao Bang – Lang Son. Hope this article will bring useful information for you. Wish you have a smooth and happy journey!

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Hi, I am Ventori, own this blog. This blog is my travel stories I experienced throughout Vietnam. This also places to share useful tips and guides for you. Enjoy your visit!

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