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4 days 3 nights Ha Giang loop itinerary with an easy-rider

Updated: May 8

Clear skies, layers upon layers of mountain vistas, friendly and supportive drivers, and a wonderful group of travelers - this was my experience of doing the Ha Giang loop tour with Bong Hostel in February 2024. Since the tour completely exceeded my expectations, I thought I’d share a full breakdown of the experience from start to finish to help you decide if you want to choose Bong’s tour for your Ha Giang loop. Here is "Ha Giang loop Itinerary"

Ha Giang loop - Bong motorbike tour
Ha Giang loop - Bong motorbike tour

Seamless arrival at Bong Ha Giang

Starting at Bong Hostel in Hanoi, I arranged everything with them, including the bus to get to Ha Giang. A shuttle picked us up from Bong Hanoi Hostel and took us to the station, where someone from the bus company guided us to the correct bus. The bus journeyed through the night and dropped us off at the door of Bong Ha Giang Hostel

Day 1 - Ha Giang City to Yen Minh (90km)

The tour started the next morning with a great breakfast and a briefing on the tour from the English-speaking staff. We could store our big luggage bags in their lockers and even rent a small backpack from them if we didn't have our own to take on the tour. We could choose a helmet from the various sizes available and then were paired with a local driver if doing the easy rider option or paired with a bike if self-riding. There was a tour leader who would ensure that the group stuck together, and I appreciated that the group size was not too large (around 20 people)

My driver was very kind and always helped to strap my bag and water bottle to the back of the bike securely, helped with my helmet, and made sure I knew when to get on and off the bike at each stop. I felt very safe with him and could tell that he had a lot of experience on these roads. This was the first motorbike tour I’d ever been on, but being on the back of the bike evoked such adventure and joy immediately! I was so excited to get onto the mountain road and start seeing the incredible views that this province has to offer.

We stopped at various viewpoints along the way to Yen Minh to take in the views, take photos, use the bathroom, and buy a drink or snack. Around 13:00 pm, we stopped for lunch, which was family-style Vietnamese food consisting of rice, eggs, potatoes, tofu, vegetables, and meat dishes that we helped ourselves to around the table. These meal times were great moments to get to know the other travelers on the tour, and the excited energy was tangibly bubbling throughout the group.

After lunch, we carried on driving and enjoying the views, notably the Bac Sum pass and Quan Ba Heaven Gate. Something that I appreciated early on when bumping into tour groups from other companies was the contrast in atmosphere and overall feeling of the Bong tour versus other tours. The others often had way more people and seemed to attract a loud party hostel vibe rather than the more laid-back character of Bong’s leaders, drivers, and the travelers that chose Bong’s tour. Small details like that made me really glad I had chosen Bong over another tour company.

We arrived at the homestay in Yen Minh town around 5 pm, giving us a good amount of time to shower and relax before dinner at 7 pm. The homestay was really nice, made of wood with a great open dining space and large dormitory rooms. The beds were super comfortable with reading lights and charging outlets, and there were some privacy curtains between sections of the room. Towels were provided, and there were three bathrooms and showers in the room for the group to share. All of us fit in the room with extra beds to share, so it felt spacious enough. We also had the option to upgrade to a private room if we wanted at each homestay during the tour for an extra 400k VND per room. We freshened up, took a nap, or chatted among ourselves as we waited for dinner time.

The spread for dinner was great - family-style Vietnamese food again, which was the standard for all meals at the homestays on the loop. And then it was time to get acquainted with the infamous ‘happy water,’ a rice wine made locally in the Ha Giang province, which is available in bucket loads at almost every home in the region.

Ha Giang loop - Bong motorbike tour
Ha Giang loop - Bong motorbike tour

What’s really sweet is the drivers will come and have a drink with you too - a nice bonding moment - and then some of them will open the floor with karaoke. My driver was a big karaoke fan, so he sang a few Vietnamese duets with another driver which was wholesome to watch. We were then given the remote controls and the microphones to choose some English songs (or in other languages that the group spoke). Most people were loosened up from the happy water at this point, so the nerves of singing in front of everyone quickly dissipated. It was really fun to sing together, pass the mic, enjoy the variety of songs that people chose, and to get to know each other’s personalities better through their music taste (and sometimes their performance capabilities!). Around 10 pm, the music was turned off, and we headed to bed to get a good rest for day 2 of the loop."

"Day 2: Yen Minh to Meo Vac (110km)

We woke up around 8 am and went down for breakfast, which we had chosen the previous day upon arriving at the homestay. There was a choice of pancakes, noodles, or eggs. We packed our bags and got back on the bikes around 9 am to start day 2 of the tour. Driving out of Yen Minh town was great, and I felt really excited to see what today’s route had to offer.

Just 10km from Yen Minh, we reached the iconic Tham Ma pass, a 5km long mountain pass that zigzags between the villages of Lung Thau and Van Chai. At an altitude of 1500m, it was incredible to see the cliffs and rocks of this area and how the Hmong hill tribes have been able to plant crops along these cliffs. There were vantage points where we stopped to take pictures of the views, and another thing that I appreciated was that our leader would tactically avoid the viewpoints that were packed with other tour groups and find a spot just a little further for us to stop at and enjoy the same views with more peace and quiet.

Another iconic stop of the day was the Lung Cu Flag Tower, which is close to the Chinese border and the northernmost point of Vietnam. We stopped here for a while to climb up the tower and take in the vast landscapes from this height. Once we were done, it was time to head to Dong Van town for lunch. Another thing I liked about being part of the Bong tour was that our leader really gave us the flexibility to stay at each stop or viewpoint for as long or short as we wanted. The group never felt rushed or pressured to stay somewhere too long, so I enjoyed the pacing and casual feeling of the tour. I think this is also a benefit of being in a smaller tour group, which Bong really controls, so you are never left waiting around for the rest of the group to catch up or finish their coffee, which I’ve heard happens quite a lot with the bigger tour companies.

After lunch, we drove through more beautiful mountain passes, including Ma Pi Leng pass, and stopped at the Skywalk to walk along the incredible pathway at the edge of a mountain. The Skywalk was one of my highlights of the whole tour, as it was so cool to walk along the edge and take in the views by foot. The walk was easy and only around a kilometer, and it ended at a small rock face cliff that we could climb if we were brave enough. Aside from the spectacular 360-degree views, what was really impressive was seeing the Hmong women climb the cliffs to harvest herbs and plants from the side of the mountains, balancing with such casual strength. Dressed beautifully in traditional clothing, these daily scenes of diligent hill tribe living were inspiring to witness. Our next stop was the Tu San Canyon viewpoint, which had the dreamy light blue Nho Que River running through the vast green mountains.

We then made our way to the homestay in Meo Vac, a really cozy town nestled at the foot of a mountain range. The houses were all made of wood and gave the whole area a charming atmosphere. The homestay was divided into smaller rooms with well-designed ensuite bathrooms and double beds. Each room could accommodate around 6 people, so it was a nice opportunity to sleep with fewer people in one room. Dinner was accompanied by a flute performance by the homestay owner’s son, which was a great touch. There was also a pool table and, of course, karaoke and happy water on tap again. The other tour groups seemed to stay along the same street in the village, so if we wanted to mingle and join their parties, that option was also there. I liked the fact that we were free to choose our vibe - if you didn’t want to drink or party much, you could just hang out in the room after dinner. But if you wanted to continue drinking, singing, or join other groups in the area for more of a party vibe, that option was there too. This is another bonus for the Bong tour, which gives you the opportunity to choose the kind of experience you want to have, with no pressure or judgment either way."

Day 3 - Meo Vac to Du Gia (90km)

Day 3 of the loop was different depending on whether you chose the 3-day or 4-day tour option. If you chose the 3-day tour, it would be time to head back to Ha Giang from Meo Vac, a longer 145 km ride. Some people from the group who initially opted for 3 days decided that they wanted to stay for the full 4-day tour, which I think was a brilliant decision! Another great positive of Bong’s tour is that you have the option to extend anytime while you’re on the loop if you’re not sure if you want to commit to the 4-day tour before starting. This means you can see how the route goes, check the weather, feel how you gel with the group, and determine if you want to extend on day 2 or 3.

The ride on day 3 was my favorite out of all the days, and you miss a lot of the beauty and activities if you go back to Ha Giang on day 3. It is also paced better to drive back to Ha Giang from Du Gia in my opinion, as the stretch is broken up over 2 days rather than 1. Either way, though, you’re in for some really stunning mountain passes on day 3!

Since we had perfect weather our whole loop (we were super lucky as it can be so unpredictable in the mountains), we got the choice between going bamboo rafting or taking a boat ride along the Nho Que river.

Our group unanimously chose the bamboo rafting option, as this allowed us to swim as well. I’m so glad we chose this as it was another highlight of the whole loop. We drove to Hang Tham Lin in the Ngoc Long region, got changed into our swimming stuff, and boarded the super cool bamboo rafts. The scene was gorgeous with sunrays breaking through the mountain peaks, nestled right above the turquoise river that we were gently gliding along. We parked the rafts at the mouth of a huge cave which the river ran through, and jumped into the refreshingly cold water. Swimming into the cave was an experience that I’ll never forget, as I had never swum into a cave before. There were large rocks to perch on for some rest in the middle of the cave, and the darkness inside stirred something mystical and eerie inside me. The views of the river and mountains from inside the cave were also spectacular.

After drying off, we hopped on the bikes again to drive through more breathtaking mountain passes and villages. There were simply so many mountain ranges after mountain ranges at every bend, and I think the sheer number of mountains and variety of rock faces is what makes the Ha Giang loop so incredibly awe-inspiring. It is almost too vast to wrap your head around, and your senses are so overloaded with natural beauty that you start to forget these views are not normal. That’s how I felt throughout day 3, just overwhelmed to the point of emotion at how beautiful the natural world really is.

The nature paired with groups of children from the ethnic minority tribes walking home from school with wide eyes and playful grins as they high-fived us while we motored past them. The warm-heartedness of this region, the herds of buffalo that sauntered past our line of motorbikes, the wildflowers and neatly layered rice fields between jagged towering peaks. All of it was made even more exhilarating to experience from the back of a motorcycle, wind against your chest, with the electric energy of the rest of the group just as enamored as you are. This day held the culmination of why the Ha Giang loop tops my travel experiences so far.

Lunch in Mau Due was followed by more indescribable mountain passes and viewpoints such as Lung Ho, and as we drove into Du Gia, the sun was setting over the mountains, greeting us at every turn. It was the only sunset that we witnessed while on the loop, but that made this moment feel even more special as it greeted us along the most beautiful drive of the whole loop. Du Gia village is stunning, with a small river running through the valley, enchanting bridges over the river, and so many viewpoints around the town.

Ha Giang loop - Bong motorbike tour
Ha Giang loop - Bong motorbike tour

Day 4 - Du Gia to Ha Giang (100km)

The final day of the tour is a bittersweet one. After breakfast, we headed to the Du Gia waterfall for a swim and some cliff jumping for the brave ones, followed by a drive through Lung Tam village. Lunch was in Tam Son town again, though at a different place than the first day’s lunch stop. I really savored the views on the final day and the thrill of being on the bike. It really made me want to learn how to ride a motorbike just to have more experiences like this one.

Ha Giang loop - Bong motorbike tour
Ha Giang loop - Bong motorbike tour

The final stop was at Little Ma Pi Leng Canyon, with the option to grab a coffee or coconut at the cafe viewpoint. We relaxed here for a while, chatting about everyone’s next destination and highlights of the loop. Then, we drove back to Bong Hostel, arriving around 4 pm. This gave everyone a good amount of time to bid our drivers farewell (and give them a good tip for taking care of us these 4 days!), shower, pack our bags, and grab dinner before taking buses to the next destination in northern Vietnam.

Buses to Hanoi, Cat Ba, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, and Sapa can all be arranged with Bong Hostel and will pick you up from the hostel itself, making it super convenient for your trip. You can also book other tours with Bong in these destinations if you enjoyed joining them for the Ha Giang loop. I would honestly give Bong 5/5 for my loop tour and recommend booking with them if you prefer a wholesome and intimate yet fun and down-to-earth experience of the Ha Giang Loop

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