Ha Giang is a province in the Northeast region of Vietnam, 310km north of Hanoi, bordered by Cao Bang province to the east, Yen Bai and Lao Cai provinces to the west, Tuyen Quang to the south and has 274km of common international border with China in the north.
Dong Van Karst Plateau, covering 4 districts Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, Meo Vac, is recognized as Global Geopark by UNESCO in 2010.
Area: 7,914.9 sq.km
Population: 746,300 inhabitants composed of 22 ethnics, among which major people are Hmong, Tay Yaos, Viet and Nung ethnics.
Topography: Ha Giang's topography is quite complex and can be divided into 3 areas: the area on the south has rocky mountains separated by rivers, the west area with sloping mountains side, high pass, valleys and narrow springs, the low land area with hills, the valley of Lo River and Ha Giang Town.
Administrative units: Ha Giang is divided into 11 units: 1 city and 10 districts.
Climate: Ha Giang features a tropical monsoon climate with 2 seasons: rainy season and dry season although it tends to vary depending on altitude. The annual average temperature varies between 24 and 280C. In winter, the temperature is sometimes down to -50C. The hottest months are May and July, the coolest month is January. The difference of temperature between day and night in valleys is stronger than in flat plains.
Sights of interest
With many beautiful heritage sites and grandiose mountains along with long-standing cultural characteristics of ethnic minorities, Ha Giang has huge potential for tourism development.
Twin mountain (also named Fairy Mountain) is located along Highway 4C, at Quan Ba district, about 40 kilometers from Ha Giang town. The 2 mountains are associated with a touching love story between a Hmong young man and a fairy in heaven. Quan Ba Twin Mountain is recognized “National scenic spot “ by the Ministry of Culture Sport and Tourism of Vietnam.
Mansion of Vuong family, located in Sa Phin district, 24 kilometers from Dong Van, is a beautiful and unique architecture of upland. The structure has been classified as a relic from 1993.
The mansion was built in turtle-shaped hill, looking to the south, at 1,600 meters above sea level, with the shape of the word “Vuong” as structure. Through the time, the mansion still retains its original appearance. Vuong mansion was built by the skill craftsmen coming from China along with the best of H’Mong workers. The whole mansion, with an area of 1,120 sq.m, composed of 64 rooms including living room, office, bedrooms, family member’s room, kitchen, opium storage…, is carved sophisticatedly with dragons, phoenixes, bats… symbolizing longevity, prosperity for the family.
Dong Van old quarter is located in the middle of valley surrounded by rocks. The quarter is formed since the early 20th century, with some 40 ancient houses of 100 years old, belonging to H’mong, Tay and Chinese families. Especially, Mr Luong Huy Ngo' house built in 1860, is nearly 200 years old.
The Dong Van old quarter has Chinese’s architecture with two-story tubular houses covered with yin and yang roofs, red lantems…and still preserves the tradition and cultural intangible values of ethnic people.
Lung Cu flag pole, at Lung Cu commune, Dong Van district, about 40 kilometers from Ha Giang town, is situated on Dragon Mountain, at the foot of the pole. Lung Cu has a total area of 3,460 hectares with 9 villages and shares a 16-kilometer border with China. H’Mong and Lo Lo ethnics in Lung Cu mainly cultivate and still preserve their traditional weaving. Specially, Lung Cu preserves historical artifacts and precious cultural artifacts, thus confirms the sovereignty of Vietnam since years ago.
Ma Pi Leng Pass, at 1,200m above sea level, is located in the Dong Van Global Geopark recognized by UNESCO. Ma Pi Leng road, surnamed "Road of Happiness", 200 km long, with majestic and spectacular scenery, was built by 16 northern ethnic groups during 6 consecutive years (1959-1965).
On November 16th 2009, the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Vietnam has classified Ma Pi Leng area as scenic relic of country including:
+ Ma Pi Leng pass considered as the unique regional heritage about landscape and geomorphology;
+ Pass peak area as one of the most beautiful viewpoint to enjoy the panorama in Vietnam;
+ Nho Que River valley as one of the most unique tectonic valley in Vietnam.
Scenery in Ma Pi Leng pass is unique with grandiose and wild beauty. Looking to the north and northeast, thousands of gray mountains concatenate to the horizon. Next to the road is abyss, below is the Nho Que River with cool water looking like a silky fillet looming in fog.
Khau Vai fair, also called "Khau Vai love market", is held once a year in the evening of the 26th of 3rd lunar month, at Khau Vai commune, Meo Vac district. The Khau Vai fair is located in the village of the Nung, in a wide valley and considered as a dating fair for young to married people; even people having children try to join this special fair just for fun as life in the mountains is often tedious.
From the previous day, canvas-tents were built throughout the valley to display local products to be sold, mostly corn wine, “thang co” dish… At sunset, many people follow the mountain roads and rush to the market on time.
At late night, the market becomes quieter, the only conversation and sound comes from “khen”, a kind of traditional bamboo ethnic flute, playing by some young men, assembling people around them.
Hoang Su Phi terraced fields, 110km west of Ha Giang city, covering 6 communes of Hoang Su Phi district, are created around 300 years ago by 17 ethnic local groups living mainly on rice cultivation and other subsidiary crops. Terrace farming helps to ensure food security for the whole district, producing 25,000-27,000 tons of rice per year. Fall is the best season to visit Hoang Su Phi as rice fields turn yellow and it is harvesting time. In September 2012, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has recognized the terraced rice fields of Hoang Su Phi district as a national heritage site.
Other sights of interest of Ha Giang province include: Quang Ngan waterfall, Suoi Tien (Fairy Stream) and Fairy Cave, Noong Lake.
Ha Giang Province