Heaven's Gate | Nam Dam | Trang Kim | Yen Minh Cloud Mountains | Tham Ma Pass | Pho Cao | Pho Bang | Vietnamese Border | Lao Sa |
Hmong Palaces | Dong Van | Ma Pi Leng Pass | Meo Vac | Mau Due | French Fortress | Du Gia
Duong Thuong | Mien River Canyon | PIZZA HERE
8:30 am - Our team (guide or easy rider) will pick you up at your accommodation
9:00 am - We start the loop. During the journey, we will visit Heaven's Gate. At 1,500 meters above sea level, Quan Ba's Heaven Gate is the first window onto the rock paradise of Dong Van, which can already be glimpsed on the horizon. From this height, you can see the majestic mountains that surround the valley where the Tam Son village is located, covered by clouds and mist. Be it winter or summer, you will most likely have to put on a jacket. It feels so cool! Afterward, we will take an alternative and hidden road to reach the traditional village of Nam Dam, from the Dao ethnic
12:30 pm - We will have lunch in Trang Kim, famous for its handmade rice noodles (with pink color), which are highly appreciated among locals in Ha Giang
1:15 pm - We will continue our journey through Yen Minh's spectacular Cloud Mountains and its beautiful pine forest, on the top of the peaks. You will smell it from miles away! The perfume of the resin of these pines spreads down the road. The forest, which crowns the mountain that precedes the town of Yen Minh, has a magical color that changes according to the season. In spring it’s carpeted by beautiful pinky and purple flowers from buckwheat. Afterward, we will pass Yen Minh town and enjoy the breathtaking Tham Ma Pass, a must-stop in the Loop
3:00 pm - We will spend time visiting the ancient town of Pho Cao, the first step into the Dong Van Karst Plateau. Built-in the last century, and one of the most important villages by then, Pho Cao still retains the wild and rustic features of an ancient village. The old houses, with yellow walls and stone fences, and almost no windows, keep the house warm during winter and cool in summer. The village, with around 5000 inhabitants, is almost all of the Hmong ethnic. The surroundings were widely used during the French occupation as opium fields. This is the reason why houses have better structure and characteristic elements related to that period (like opium flower-shaped sculptures).
4:00 pm - We will admire the beauty of Pho Bang town, once the capital of Dong Van district. Still inhabited by Chinese (Han) descendants, as it's very close to the border with China. Its clay-made houses are over 100 years old, with wooden doors and old parallel sentences in Chinese scripts, brown moss walls, or yin-yang roof tile. Its people are engaged in agricultural products and small trading, thanks to being five minutes from the border with China. Lately, villagers have also been encouraged to raise roses, and when they blossom, it all gets covered by a colorful flowered carpet.
5:00 pm: Quick visit to see the brand new Trump-style fence built last year, which separates now China from Vietnam. Before that, ethnics used to cross informally without any papers.
6:00 pm - We will enjoy the sunset in the road that leads to the cultural village of Lao Sa, which is practically hanging from a cliff. A part of the stunning views, reaching this hilly terrain will allow you to see a Hmong community village that, apart from agriculture, lives off silver casting. Very famous in the whole district, its families have been producing rings, necklaces, and bracelets for more than a hundred years. Shaped like flowers and butterflies, they even add bells, making tinkles with every step women take.
7:00 pm - We will share a dinner with Vang Hong's family, in Nhà Co Lao Sa, whose family has lived there for many generations. After that, we will have time to relax, read, be around the fire, and have some locally made drinks, such as corn and rice wine.
8:30 am - Breakfast time in Lao Sa
9:00 am - We start again to admire an unspoiled palace from the Hmong ethnic. Few people know about it and is only visited by guests of Borderland Tours. Local people say this family was even richer than the Vuong family, the one who built the now famous Hmong King Palace in Sa Phin. Still, nowadays, not much of its history is known, but by its decoration, one can guess that they earn everything from growing opium plants.
12:30 pm - Lunch in Dong Van's Old Quarter. It’s one of the most iconic areas in Dong Van town, surrounded by evergreen valleys and rocky mountains. Most of its 40 houses were built during the French colonization, and some even before (1810.-1820). Their style was inspired by Chinese architecture, with Ying yang roofs, thick walls, and wooden structures made from ironwood. Currently, these houses are being used as small restaurants and shops to cater to travelers. The most famous one is Pho Co Coffee, which belonged to the Luong family, from the Tay ethnicity, and that still retains an impressive ancient beauty.
From 1:30 pm to 5 pm - Visit Ma Pi Leng Pass, translated as Bridge of a Horse’s Nose’ due to its shape. This is, by far, the most impressive mountain pass in Vietnam. 1500 meters high with views of endless limestone mountain ranges and clear skies. Plus, a balcony to Su Tan Canyon, with the Nho Que River on the down part. Then we will cross Meo Vac village and pass incredible sites like the 'M' road, and the French fortress, on the road to arrive at Du Gia
5 pm - Arrive in the village of Du Gia, and take a rest to see the rice fields under the light of the sunset
7 pm - Have a traditional dinner together with in the Hoi family homestay.
8:30 am - Breakfast time in Du Gia
9:30 am - Drive through the relaxing villages of Duong Thuong, located in a precious valley, and surrounded by high mountains. Going along its flat road, we will go through corn fields, small villages in the heart of the mountain. Immediately after, we will follow the Mien river Canyon.
2 pm - Lunchtime at PIZZA HERE, including a large pizza and drink for you. You will be craving for it. Here's the menu!
3 pm - Resting time at Maison Tea House homestay, until the bus time, with accommodation in the dorm