Completing the Ha Giang Loop

Shortly after we left the viewing platform we decided to take a side route leading down the mountain to the Nho Que River. As the Ma Pi Leng Pass drops toward the direction of Meo Vac town we turned onto this enticing little road leading across the river to the opposite side of the valley. The road was a series of tight switchbacks leading down to the river. Here we crossed a make shift bridge taking us to another mountain road leading to the Chinese border. It was an enjoyable easy ride featuring scenic views making it a worthwhile detour. Experiencing the river’s edge and being so close to the rushing rivers’s water, which we had admired from above, was a special treat as well.

Meo Vac Town

Meo Vac sits in a sheltered basin amongst towering limestone karsts creating an almost surreal atmosphere. As we entered the enchanting town of Meo Vac we immediately felt the magical pull of it’s ambience. Even though it was still early we choose to end our travels for the day and enjoy our new environment. The small town is so charming – small and manageable. Quiet during the day it bustles in the early morning and once again in the early evening. It also boasts an excellent daytime market as well as an inviting new night market both of which we enjoyed during our visit to Meo Vac.

There are a wide selection of accommodations catering to all tastes and budgets. We had been given a recommendation of the quaint but atmospheric Auberge de Meo Vac boutique hotel which we loved. It’s a small hotel housed in a converted old H’mong family home featuring a stone courtyard framed by colorful adobe walls. They offer both dorm rooms at 300,000 VND and private rooms starting at $50 per night. As previously advised we had booked a single room ahead of time – the room was great.

We departed Meo Vac the next morning on our way to Du Gia via the southern excursion route. Once again we were blown away by the continuing barrage of stunning scenery. At the Mau Due crossroad we bore to the left entering on to Road DT176. This spectacular road lead up a seemingly endless pass over a chain of jagged limestone peaks. After passing the peaks the road dropped down through green pine forests and on through mysterious valleys before the final descent into a most wonderful natural valley. Here we arrived at the tiny hamlet of Du Gia. The days road conditions had been good so we still had plenty of energy left to explore our new surroundings. We located a quaint but enticing home stay which we liked, the Du Gia Homestay. Our space was comprised of an inexpensive but appealing dorm style area, complete with floor mattresses, thankfully covered by mosquito nets. The home stay was in a wooden stilt house, a style which is common to the region. We enjoyed two excellent home cooked meals with the host family during our short stay.

A surprising fact about this particular area is that even though it is spectacularly beautiful it is the least visited town on the Loop. Nonetheless it offers lots of fun activities to entertain the visitors including swimming in the warm river, fishing and hiking with locally arranged guides. Travelers often fall in love with this area and end up staying longer than originally planned while exploring the area.

The next morning we left Du Gia and backtracked several kms on route DT176 until reaching route DT181 where we turned west leading us to the small town of Tam Son. After riding a few more kms we connected with route QL4C on the road leading back to the Loops completion in Ha Giang. The ride again today was made unforgettable by the beautiful colors on the steep hillsides while diving down deep into the vibrant green valleys below.

This made almost the perfect loop except for a couple of short extremely rocky sections. Because we are two very good and experienced drivers coupled with the fact that we have excellent all-terrain motorbikes we were able to finish the Loop with no real problems. The beauty we experienced on this day’s ride back to Ha Giang more than made up for this minor inconvenience.

Being back in Ha Giang town where we had started and having finished finished the Ha Giang Loop in four days we felt a real sense of accomplishment. We returned to the hotel. Now we would sleep this night here and be set to continue exploring northeast Vietnam the next morning after breakfast.

Read more at “Ha Giang Province” and “The Ha Giang Loop – Day Two


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