🖐 In this travel guide we’ll share all our experience travelling to the Ha Giang Loop, located in the North of Vietnam. If this is your first time on Dronemade, we're a community of drone pilots around the world and thus like to share our travel experiences and how we see things from up there. Give a 👍 at the end of this post & feel free to share your experience or any updates you might have in the Forum. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our knowledge & does not replace official sources & your research.
The Ha Giang Loop is an underrated pearl in the North of Vietnam. Its proximity with the border of China has long kept this part of Vietnam difficult to access but this is changing fast. With breathtaking alpine landscapes, over 200 km of roads perfect for biking and quality homestays all along the way, it is easy to understand why this place is getting so much attraction lately. This is an excellent alternative to busy Sa Pa which we would easily advise to do first or only if you don't have time for both, and spend at least 3 days here.
Where is it exactly & how to get to the Ha Giang Loop?
Ha Giang is the classic start and finish line of the loop that goes through the entire region. In fact, there are many loops possible to do but the classical and most beautiful one goes from Ha Giang to Lung Cu to Du Gia and then back to Ha Giang.
Ha Giang Loop is located in the North of Vietnam, only 7 h bus from Hanoi making it an easy access from city or a continuous route from Ba Be Lake. Its location makes it an ideal destination in itself and we recommend spending at least 3 days onsite with two nights in the loop.
🛵 The cheapest way to reach Ha Giang is by your own bike. It will take you a day to complete the trip from Hanoi but be aware that the road is slippery and can be quite dangerous at some turning points. We say the cheapest as you will need to rent a bike once onsite to complete the loop so why not use yours if you have one 😉
🚌 If you do not own a bike, from Hanoi, the fastest way is to go by fast or night Bus. You will need to catch the bus from My Dinh bus station. With a departure every 3 hours or so and the latest bus leaving at 8 pm. In every case we recommend you to arrive at least 1H prior departure to get the best seats but also make sure they don't go without you (it will leave earlier if full). The trip takes about 7 h and will cost you about 250,000 dong.
What to do at the Ha Giang Loop?
The real question would be what not to miss. There is so much to see that its hard to see it all but we can ensure you that its worth your time. To complete the ride you will need your bike or book a tour with an operator (if you can do it on your own do it).
💡 In both cases, we would like to recommend Kiki Adventure Tours which also rents quality motorbikes for an affordable price. As you will need at least 3 days to complete the loop at 150,000 dong /day, it will cost you 450,000 without insurance (+50,000 dong / day if you want an insurance to come with your rental). The price to join the tour is about x10
To understand what to do, best is to have a look at this below map with all routes and Ha Giang Loop attractions listed for you to make sure you will not miss a thing. Most riders will do the ride clock wise starting from Ha Giang and this is how we will suggest you to do it.
See this map for all routes available:
Day 1 - Ha Giang to Lung Cu:
🚨 Your journey should start very early in the morning or after 11 am but why? The Ha Giang police has taken the habit to wait at the entrance of the loop for solo riders that do not own an international driving license to fine and send them back to Ha Giang. To avoid this, if you do not hold an international driving license (but have a regular one at least), you can leave Ha Giang prior 7 am or between 11 am - 1 pm (or after 5 pm) when the police is on break or about to start work.
👀 The best viewpoint of this day will be Tham Ma Slope where you can find something to eat or drink among the kids selling you flowers for your Instagram photos to look prettier.
💡 Just before reaching Lung Cu, you will be so close to the border with China that you can literally walk in China. Just be sure no guards are around and get yourself a pic on the other side of the poles so you can claim you've been there.
When arriving in Lung Cu, if you still have time, you can go up the Lung Cu Flag Point symbol of Vietnam's sovereignty and reunion of the 54 minority tribes living in the Ha Giang region. 🐕 WARNING! There are several aggressive dogs in the village of Lung Cu, riding your bike is fine but walking down a street alone might not be the safest thing to do here.
🚪 We would like to recommend you to stay at the Lung Cu Homestay which has a very clean dorm and comfortable individual rooms. Prices start at 80,000 dong per night and dinner is 100,000. If hot pot is on the menu, this is an absolute must and they will serve food and rice alcohol you until you drop, simply one of our best meals in Vietnam.
Day 2 - Lung Cu to Du Gia:
Your best day in Vietnam is ahead of you, with absolutely breath taking views at every next corner. You will have to stop to admire the Ma Pi Leng Viewpoint from Dong Van Bar Coffee, which is the prefect stop and viewpoint for what easily could be one of Vietnam's most beautiful landscapes.
Your journey will continue south to the town of Meo Vac where a big market happens every morning, try to aim to have lunch there and go under the halls to meet the locals who are always honoured when a foreigner eats their food. This city is also your turning point from the main road to the country road where you will see little less than 5 riders / hour for the rest of your trip while devouring the unspoiled landscape with your eyes.
🚪 When arriving in Du Gia, pat yourself on the back for being here and head to your homestay. Our place was ok but not necessarily recommendable, check out HotelsCombined to compare accommodation prices from Booking.com, Agoda, Expedia, etc.
Day 3 - Du Gia back to Ha Giang:
👀 Less driving required today, so you have more time to enjoy so why not just hit Du Gia waterfall for a little swim before heading the road again!? Nested a few kilometres away from the village, it is also a good morning hike for those who don't mind early exercise.
Du Gia market happens every Saturday mornings, and Gop Mong's (a nearby town) happens every Sunday. Try to get breakfast there if you can. On your way back, you will have the choice between south QL 34 & North DT 181. The South main road is said very hard to drive upon and not completed, we personally took the DT 181 which was fun and free from heavy traffic.
💡 If you just like it too much and want to add an extra night, you should do it in the small town of Quan Ba which has a primary school welcoming English speakers and a few nice homestays. Hands down to Ly Danh Homestay for the quality of their rooms and service.
Can I fly a drone in the Ha Giang Loop?
🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.
✅ Currently, there doesn't seem to be any restrictions on bringing drones within Vietnam as long as your import is considered as legitimate (generally one drone per person). The Ha Giang Loop is a wonderful place to fly your drone but avoid the main road and Lung Cu region due to it immediate proximity to the Chinese border.
✅ In every case you should follow the Vietnamese drone rules and laws at all times. Note that these can evolve within months and its always a good thing to double check upon departure.
What to think of the Ha Giang Loop?
Well we don't like to write this part of the story so we've put together some of our coolest pics. If you don't feel like seeing them before heading there, we get it and won't be sad.
✅ Please leave a comment or update the Forum when you receive news and/or gain experience at the Ha Giang Loop! Have fun over there and make a lot of good memories!
Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information.