What a big miss if doing trip to Ha Giang without paying a visit to Hoang Su Phi

What a big miss if doing trip to Ha Giang without paying a visit to Hoang Su Phi

Are you planning to have a photography tour in Vietnam? If you are the nature lovers & would love to have the most beautiful pictures of rice terraces in Vietnam, we recommend you a trip to Hoang Su Phi, a remote district of pristine landscapes in Ha Giang province. Let's follow our inspection trip in this blog for the travel itinerary & trip notes before making your real adventure to this land......

Travel back to Ha Giang with treks to explore Hoang Su Phi's landscapes.

Being ever fascinated with marverlous beauty of Dong Van Geopark, especially being exposed myself to Ma Pi Leng Pass, the most imposing pass & the king of passes in Vietnam, I do really have a special love to this wonderful land of Ha Giang.I try to come this land annually in different seasons to captivate its beautiful landscapes & get the full taste of local daily life living in this far-northern mountains of our motherland.

In the past, I loved Ha Giang with her winding & steep passes to reach Dong Van Limestone Plateau (USNESCO’s Geopark), with colorful beauty of buckwheat, chrysanthemum, orange flowers blooming on mountain slopes, with old-styled palace of Vuong family, Pao’s House in Lung Cam village, traditional architectures of H'Mong houses, and with Lung Cu flag tower ( marking the important northernmost point of the country)…. This time in September, I travelled back to Ha Giang and did my trekking exploration to a new destination of Ha Giang, that is Hoang Su Phi, a remote & mountainous district on the west of Ha Giang province.

Dong Van - Ha Giang

Dong Van Geopark view from Don Cao Fortress

Hoang Su Phi is not only a kingdom of stunning rice terraces in Vietnam, but also an off-beaten-path travel destination with untouched landscapes of mountains & valleys.Most of people are local ethnic groups who have inhabited here for ages and kept their tradition & customs well.To live along with the nature, local tribes sloped the valleys to make stepped fields for rice cultivation, that is why you can expect to admire the most impressive rice terraces when doing trip to Hoang Su Phi. Please, read one of our blog about the ideal time to visit Hoang Su Phi & Ha Giang.

Travel to Hoang Su Phi in the middle of September, luckily, it was on the right time of harvesting season when the rice turns its green color to golden one.The colors of golden rice on different layers of rice terraces scaling down the valley really create a picturesque landscape, overwhelming me like a pristinely golden paradise.No photo can describe this beauty than our real sense touching to it.

Below are my travel itinerary & experiences on a 3 day adventure treks to Hoang Su Phi with my collegue from Hanoi by bus & motorbike.

Rice terraces in Hoang Su Phi

The view of rice terraces in Ban Luoc village

Night 1.Local bus Hanoi to Tan Quang -6 hour drive.Overnight on bus

We chose to go by a night bus from Hanoi, departing at 22h00 p.m and were at Tan Quang T - junction at 3h30 a.m, so early to start a trip to Hoang Su Phi, we just got a room in a guest house in Tan Quang & slept there till 8h00 a.m.

Day 1.Tan Quang to Hoang Su Phi by motorbike & Hoang Su Phi trek to Nam Hong- Nam Khoa villages.Overnight in Hoang Su Phi Bungalow.

After breakfast, we rent a motorbike in a local family and drive along NR58 up & down on winding & bumpy roads in 15km, then turn left on village roads to Nam Hong hamlet in Thong Nguyen commune.Stop between for photos and travel in a bad road condition, we reached Hoang Su Phi bungalow at noon time, a good time for lunch with Mr Quyen family.

After lunch, we got Mr Quyen arrange us a local tourguide taking us on a nice trek thru Nam Hong & Nam Khoa villages. The trek is about 8km on buffalo trails along mountain sides offering us the outstanding exposure to stepped rice fields and good chances to interact with locals working on the farms & their villages.Enjoy the sun setting down- the sun rays with golden rice fields really make another beauty of Hoang Su Phi.

Trek along the rice terraces

Back to Hoang Su Phi bungalow & we got a private bungalow - a good one overviewing down scenic mountains for relaxation.

Have a talk with Mr Quyen about Hoang Su Phi & sightseeing routes, he recommended us to try a special Red Dzao Herbal Bath with his offered price. It was really relaxed to dip ourselves on warm herbal water (cooked by family member for hours before), all the tiredness of not well sleeping last night on bus & 3 hour trek in the afternoon was really released with more energy for coming day.

Dinner was served in the restaurant that we together had with all family members & two other Dutch travellers.The foods are authentic & delicious. We drank some local rice wine and chatted with family & their guests till 9h30 p.m and went to bed early.

Day 2. Hoang Su Phi Trek to Giang Ha village & its waterfall - Ban Luoc village.Homestay in Ban Luoc village.

Sleep well for the night, we woke up at 8h30 a.m, opened the bedroom’s window and admired far mountain peaks with white clouds flying around - really beautiful landscapes on a clear day, promising a nice day adventure for our trip.If you love to capture this moment with a Red Dzao traditional dress on, you should prepare early in advance because that scenery is quick to come and soon to disappear.

Mountain landscape from Bungalow

After a good breakfast with pancakes, banana, honey and a cup of hot coffee or tea, we met our local guide again for today’s adventure with trek to Giang Ha village.This hike is decended down to the valley, viewing more rice terraces & local Red Dzao in Giang Ha village.This trek is another highlight with a visit to Giang Ha waterfall - a cascading one in Thong Nguyen region. In a summer day, after a trek, it will be refreshed to swim in the cool & fresh stream water.Remember to bring along a swimming suit for this experience.

Continue trekking down the valley bottom, viewing the full waterfall and stop in a local Red Dzao family for a home-cooked lunch, of course, with some cup of rice wine and open talks with the host about their daily life.

Giang Ha waterfall

Saying a goodbye with the family, we hiked back to Hoang Su Phi bungalow, got on our motorbike and journeyed to Ban Luoc village in 1,5 hour drive up & down the pass.

Enough with the trekking, we drove directly to Mr Canh homestay with many stops between for good pictures and admiration of beautiful rice fields in Ban Luoc commune.

Check in the homestay at 18h00, have a shower and relax at leisure.

The homestay is set up following the standard of CBT ( Community Based Tourism) to serve tourists.All berths with soft sleepers, pillows, mosquito net & curtains, which are laid on the second floor of the house on stilts - really clean & cosy.The bathroom & toilet are separated from the main house and shared among travellers & family.The meals are served with home-cooked dishes on the first floor.

We chose this night homestaying & dinning with a local family so we could partly contribute our small support to the community and get to know more about their cultures.And surely it was another memorable experiences we had in Mr Canh’s homestay.

Ban Luoc view at dawn

Day 3 : Ban Luoc village trekking tour – bus back to Hanoi.

After a good night, we were wakened by the sounds of rousters & nearby waterfalls running day & night.We walked for morning exercises passing by local kindergarden & primary school and caught a number of good shots of Ban Luoc village at dawn.Down is the stunning valleys of yellow rice stepped fields and streams, far to the other sides are high mountains with white clouds flying around- so peaceful & beautiful landscapes.

By the way, we started hiking deep into Ban Luoc village with adventure trek up to the top of mountains – more impressive captivation of multi-layered rice terraces, viewing more daily life of local Black Dzao and contemplating a really nice waterfall in the region.

Back to the homestay, we farewelled to the host and jumped on the motorbike to Viet Quang town for lunch, then drove back to Tan Quang T-Junction to send back the motorbike and catch a bus at 17h00 to go back to Hanoi.The trip was finished in Hanoi at 23h00 p.m.

Meals in homestay

Travel notes when doing trips to Hoang Su Phi.

1.There are different routes to reach Hoang Su Phi :

Route 1.You can do a trip to Sapa, Bac Ha market, then approach Xin Man & Hoang Su Phi ( Ha Giang). When you follow this route, there is no public transport connecting between Bac Ha region & Hoang Su Phi, the road is in a very bad condition

Route 2: Following NR2 till Tan Quang T-junction, then approach Hoang Su Phi. There are many buses Hanoi to Ha Giang, you can choose the time & transports that suit your travel schedule.Renting a motorbike in Tan Quang is not convenient ( we got that arrangement thru Mr Quyen in Hoang Su Phi bungalow) so you should have it arranged in advance.Please, take a notice that the roads Tan Quang to Hoang Su Phi & Xin Man are very winding,steeping up & down, and sometimes in bad conditions with small lanes.If you are not experienced in driving motorbike in mountain roads, you’d better have a motorbike with driver taken you to Hoang Su Phi, you just enjoy the scenery with your peace of mind.If you need the service of pick-up by private car or motorbike with accommodation, meals & trekking trips to explore Hoang Su Phi from Tan Quang, we can support you, do not hesitate to send us your request to goldenholidaytravel.vn@gmail.com.

2.Hoang Su Phi rice terraces where to visit?

In Hoang Su Phi district, there are 6 different communes of breathtaking rice terraces recognized as the national heritage in 2012 such as Ban Luoc commune, San Sa Ho commune, Ban Phung commune, Ho Thau commune, Nam Ty commune và Thong Nguyen commune.Those are typically beautiful rice terraces of hundreds of years created for farming by the hard work of La Chi, Dzao, Ninh, Hmong… in Ha Giang, Vietnam.

3.Authentic cultures of local ethnic groups you can experience in Hoang Su Phi.

Beside admiring the beauty of rice terraces, travellers can explore the authentic cultures of local ethnics living in remote villages.You can join in beautiful treks to visit local villages, homestaying in their simple houses, tasting their local dishes & corn wine or taking part in weekly local markets in Hoang Su Phi or Xin Man areas ( smaller in scale but more local authentic than Bac Ha market in Lao Cai)

Attend the wedding retuals of Black Dzao people

4.Chances to admire many beautiful waterfalls in the region.

5.Conqueration of highest peaks in Hoang Su Phi.

You love adventure and would love to conquer the mountain’s summits?There are two of them in Hoang Su Phi region and we suggest to do it with a local tourguide :Tay Con Linh peak (at 2,427m) or Chieu Lau Thi mount (at 2,402m).

6.When is the ideal time to explore the best of Hoang Su Phi?

The ideal time of the year to visit the rice terraces is between late May & early June ( falling-water time for starting a new crop), June to September ( pristine green rice fields) and between late September & early October ( the time when the rice turn from green to yellow).

About the weather :the months of October till May, the weather is cooler & cold and not big rainfalls (but no ricefield in this time) so it is safer than the months of June till October when it is constantly with big rains resulted in landslides blocking the roads & dangers.

Rice terraces & mountains Hoang Su Phi

Hoang Su Phi adventure with Golden Holiday Travel.

As a local & licensed tour operator in Hanoi, Golden Holiday Travel regularly do the trip inspection to new destinations and try to customize the trips suitable for your travel interest.Above are our travel experiences in a recent adventure to admire the golden rice terraces in Hoang Su Phi by bus & motorbike that we would love to share you.Together with some travel notes, you can have a good reference and plan your merorable adventure to Hoang Su Phi - Ha Giang in a coming trip to Vietnam.In need of travel consultancy, travel service of Hoang Su Phi trekking tours or private car hire with driver Hanoi to Hoang Su Phi, feel free to drop us an email to goldenholidaytravel.vn@gmail.com or whatsapp us to +84.988451530.

Have a good trip in Hoang Su Phi - Ha Giang.

Golden Holiday Travel Team.

Need local support, please, let us know!

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