International tourists give rave reviews of Ha Giang Loop

By Tu Nguyen   November 10, 2023 | 11:00 pm PT
The Ha Giang Loop, a journey that surpasses expectations with its natural beauty and thrilling adventures, is casting a spell on foreign travelers.

Alina B., a German tourist, arrived in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang in October after hearing about the Ha Giang Loop from fellow backpackers. The images she saw online were already mesmerizing, but experiencing the route in person exceeded her expectations.

The Ha Giang Loop embarks from Quan Ba District and winds through the districts of Yen Minh and Dong Van, then Meo Vac Town, before returning to the starting point.

Covering approximately 350 kilometers, the Ha Giang Loop traverses towering mountain passes and deep valleys, demanding the utmost skill to navigate its endless curves.

Alina embarked on the trip with a group of around 20 travelers, booking a tour with a local company since she lacked the skills to handle a motorbike. This allowed her to immerse herself in the natural landscapes of Ha Giang’s mountains and forests.

"The landscape is surreal. I couldn't tear my eyes away for a moment. This is Southeast Asia's most beautiful place," she said.

Ảnh Alina chụp đoàn khách đi cùng trong tour Hà Giang loop hồi tháng 10. Ảnh: Lina.btnr

German tourist Alina and her group drive motorbikes during their Ha Giang Loop tour. Photo courtesy of Lina.btnr

Over four days in Ha Giang, Alina engaged with local communities and gained a better understanding about the lives of the people in the area.

Meo Vac Town and Pai Lung Commune, in particular, left a lasting impression with their distant mountains shrouded in clouds and beneath a boundless blue sky.

Éadaoin Fitzmaurice from Ireland, introduced to the Ha Giang Loop by a friend, thought it might be overhyped. However, after completing a three-day journey in September, she said, "I've been to over 30 countries, and this is unquestionably the best."

Fitzmaurice found this route to be a dramatic one, quickening her heartbeat with every twist and turn. The natural beauty often left her pinching herself in disbelief.

Guided by a local man named Huey, Fitzmaurice felt safe and at ease throughout the trip. The group, primarily consisting of young travelers, quickly formed bonds and had conversations.

With Huey bringing a speaker along, the group could sing and dance amid the grandeur of the mountains and forests. Fitzmaurce shed tears when their trip ended, overwhelmed for the moments they had shared.

Charlotte and Natalie, a British couple on a budget-friendly world tour, experienced the Ha Giang Loop earlier this year. They maintained a moderate pace to soak in the natural scenery.

For the women, Quan Ba heaven gate in Quan Ba District felt like paradise, with the sunset casting everything in a golden hue. The beauty of Yen Minh pine forest even caused them to lose track of time. They had to adjust their plans and find accommodation in Yen Minh as night fell before they could reach the next town.

"It's not just the stunning scenery, we also feel the warmth of the local people. They've created a harmonious and joyful community," Charlotte said.

Linh Huu Khuong, co-founder of a company specializing in the Ha Giang trips, revealed that most foreign visitors are eager to experience the Ha Giang Loop journey. The price for a three-day tour typically ranges from $150 to $300 per person, depending on individual preferences.

Đoàn khách từ Israel chạy xe qua xã Đường Thượng. Ảnh: BiBi Ha Giang Tour

A group of Israeli tourists journeyed through Duong Thuong Commune. Photo courtesy of BiBi Ha Giang Tour

He noted that the majority of participants were backpacker groups, and the Ha Giang Loop has yet to attract wealthy travelers. Infrastructure and a shortage of English-speaking guides present challenges to its further development.

A typical group of 15 tourists is accompanied by two tour guides (if the tourists are driving themselves). Because only the tour leader can speak English, it poses a challenge for companies to ensure a smooth experience.

Minh Hoang, who has been working in the tourism industry in Ha Giang for more than 10 years, also emphasized the potential of the Ha Giang Loop but lamented its underdevelopment. Currently, tourists in Ha Giang predominantly engage in sightseeing with limited spending.

"It's a beautiful destination that attracts many tourists, but the total tourism revenue remains low, it can be counterproductive," Hoang said. He also expresses concerns about the potential negative impact on the environment and local culture.

Alina acknowledged that there were not many spending opportunities in Ha Giang. As a tour participant, her expenses were confined to coffee and snacks only.

She also recognized that the Ha Giang Loop is gaining fame thanks to backpackers. However, the route's adventurous nature makes it less suitable for elderly tourists and families.

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