Ha Giang Town (not to be confused with the province as a whole) lies in the centre of the province that shares its name and acts as the gateway to the beautiful scenery further north on the Dong Van Plateau.
Essentially everyone intending to travel deeper into the province will find themselves in Ha Giang Town, as this is where you have to buy the mandatory travel permit from the local immigration office. This may sound daunting, but don’t worry, it’s a simple and streamlined process, simply there to safeguard this remote northern part of Vietnam.
Another reason for the town serving as the entryway to the region is that this is where the busses stop, and travellers who don’t feel prepared to brave the traffic of Hanoi can take the bus here and then rent a motorcycle locally. Its distance from Hanoi (roughly 6 hours of driving) also makes it an ideal resting spot for the night, so that you can face the day bright and early the next morning to set out on your adventure through Ha Giang Province.
If spending the night in one of the larger towns doesn’t fit with your image of your time in Ha Giang, don’t fear, because near the town there are two fantastic villages inhabited by the Tay people located quite near called Ha Thang and Ban Tuy. Both villages have several lovely and authentic homestays, and present a more serene alternative to spending the night in busy Ha Giang Town. Additionally, there are some wonderful waterfalls around Ha Thanh, which means there are some great opportunities for trekking here as well.
You also have the nearby village of Thon Tha, site of a community-based tourism initiative focused on improving the facilities of the village and ensuring responsible and sustainable tourism practices so as to preserve the idyllic image of rural Vietnamese life that it presents.
While the town itself doesn’t have much in terms of attractions and sights, there is one monument of note that is definitely worth visiting. Located on the west side of the river, the monument consists of a massive statue of Ho Chi Minh surrounded by the local people of Ha Giang and commemorates Uncle Ho’s visit in March 1961. Now the monument and the square surrounding it serves as a place for the local townspeople to gather and socialize, as well as a staging ground for various festivities throughout the year.
There is also an excellent museum in the town, called Ha Giang Provincial Museum. The building is easy to spot, as it is designed to look like a lotus rising into the sky at the centre of the city, and showcases the heritage of the many different ethnicities that make their home in the province.