Among the districts along the “Ha Giang Loop”, Bac Me is probably the least visited by travellers, often simply passing through on the road running from Yen Minh to Ha Giang Town. Perhaps because of this, the district has a wonderfully authentic and peaceful vibe that can’t quite be matched elsewhere in the province, and travellers opting to pass straight through are definitely missing out on simply experiencing the relaxed and authentic atmosphere here.
The most visited attraction of the district is Bac Me prison, built by the French in the early 1900’s as a garrison, military camp and most infamously; as a political prison for Vietnamese dissidents and freedom fighters.
Another great way to spend a day in Bac Me is to hire a boat for a trip downriver on the beautiful green waters of the Gam River. Unlike other rivers in the province, this one is gentle and peaceful, and is flanked by mountains clad in green forest. In previous times, one could take the boat all the way up the river to Tuyen Quang Lake, but the construction of a hydro-electric dam intended to provide more consistent electricity to the locals in the area, means the trip now has to end before reaching the end of the river and the lake.
The area is also home to deer, and the locals of Bac Me will tell you that if you’re lucky, you may see a herd of them thundering down the mountain behind their village to reach the small lake where they drink water.
Slightly south of the town are two caves with immense historical significance. Recently discovered within was several tools and artefacts that have been dated to at least 10.000 years ago, a remnant of a culture long gone and lost to history.
While there might not be many specific attractions to visit in Bac Me, the serene and peaceful atmosphere of the district should not be missed, and it’s a perfect place to stop after all the excitement of Dong Van, Meo Vac and Yen Minh to relax and catch your breath before continuing your adventure through northern Vietnam.