One of the first things that come to every traveler's mind about Ha Giang Loop is how difficult it is to ride a motorbike there. Are road conditions that bad? Is it dangerous?
This feeling is completely normal. I even scared myself to death the first time I came. I only learned how to drive a scooter a couple of weeks before and tour agents kept repeating stories about how many people got involved in accidents (25 cases each year).
Even if it's true that I'd not recommend having your first bike driving lessons in Ha Giang, missing Ha Giang Loop, or only staying around the city, is the worst decision you can take. And I will explain to you why.
1. Ha Giang is one of the most fascinating places in Asia
Dong Van Karst Plateau, in the north of Ha Giang province, has been recognized as a global geopark by UNESCO. Located at an extension foot mount East of the Himalayas, geoheritages date from 550 million years ago! It's also home to 17 different ethnicities, most of them who escaped from neighboring countries in the past and took refuge in the highlands (where they have almost been living isolated until tourism arrived). It's all about nature (breathtaking landscapes) and culture.
2. Road conditions of Ha Giang
Ha Giang roads are constantly being fixed, due mostly to landslides. That means most of the pavements are in good condition to drive on, but some can also be full of stones, mud, or gravel. Tip: make sure you go slow and don't press the brake during these moments. Play with the lowest gears (in case you are not driving an automatic motorbike).
If it's really gonna rain (don't trust the weather forecast) and you are not an experienced driver, maybe you should let it go. Ha Giang Loop roads go upside down, they are full of mountain passes, slopes, and turns. If the pavement is dry, no problem (just go). But if it's wet you will have to take extreme precautions. Especially when going down.
You have to understand the informal driving rules in Vietnam first. No one takes a look at what's happening behind them. That means that whatever can happen in front of you it's your fault. Make sure you go slow enough and constantly check where their back wheels are going. And don't scare if they beep at you. That's a cultural thing. They are just being nice by alerting you they're passing near (and avoiding an accident).
3. Alternatives to motorcycles in Ha Giang
If you are still feeling scared or doubtful about driving a motorbike, you should know that's not the only way you have to enjoy the beauty of the province. Some people are doing it with an easy rider, a car, or even the bus. So don't stop reading this post yet!
In almost every tour company in Ha Giang, you will be able to hire a driver who will ride you all along the Loop. You will just need to stay behind the bike to watch and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. If you want an skilled one, send us a message through our chat box and we will help to hire the best one!
Rent a car
A car doesn't feel as free as a motorbike, and for sure you will not be able to go inside the most remote villages, but it's also a good choice. You can drive it yourself or you can also hire a driver/tour guide. Send us a message if you also need us to help!
There are plenty of buses covering the route from Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Ha Long, or wherever you are, to Ha Giang city. And from there to Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, Meo Vac, and Du Gia. Send us a message if you want us to help you book a ticket, for no fee at all. It will be easier, as we will ask the bus company to pick you up at your location (wherever in Vietnam) and leave you exactly in the hostel you will sleep in Ha Giang. No delays, no rush, no stress.