If you’re coming from Dong Van, the highlight of your trip to Meo Vac is likely to happen as soon as you cross into the district, namely the jaw-ping Ma Pi Leng Pass.
The road running through the pass is carved right into the side of the mountain, and as you climb to the 2000 meter high peak, you will witness some of the greatest panoramic views Vietnam has to offer.
As you descend down from Ma Pi Leng Pass into Meo Vac Valley, you’ll be able to continue taking in the amazing views of the valley below, bisected by the river and with the peaceful town of Meo Vac at its centre.
Once you’ve left the soaring peaks behind and entered Meo Vac Valley proper, you will likely stop in Meo Vac Town itself to visit the market here or eat some lunch, but aside from the weekly market there is not much to see in the town itself, as it’s the countryside surrounding it that attracts travellers from far and wide. Trekking around the verdant rice fields of the valley or to some of the many charming ethnic villages is a great way to spend a day or two while passing through this path of Ha Giang. Two fantastic villages to visit are Na Trao and Ban Tong, inhabited by Giay and Tay people and featuring plenty of traditional architecture and costumes.
To the southeast of Meo Vac town lays the village of Khau Vai. If you happen to be in Vietnam during the third lunar month (usually in April) then we recommend that you set aside the 27th day of this lunar month (for example April 21st in 2019) for a visit here. This is because this is the date of the famous annual “love market”, alternatively known as the “adultery market”. The market has gained this name due to the unusual purpose of the market, namely to allow former lovers who were not allowed to marry each other a place to meet, talk and catch up every year. This produces a bitter-sweet atmosphere, as while the locals are happy for the chance to reconnect with their lost love, many of them still wish that they had been allowed to marry each other, even after years of marriage to someone else.
The market is said to have started when a young couple, their love denied by their families, made a solemn pact to meet once every year on the top of a nearby mountain on the 27th day of the 3rd lunar month. This mountain is said to be where the market now takes place, and the date is the same as the legend. Bear in mind as the love market only takes place once a year, there may not be much to see or do in the village at other times, as the love market is the main reason people come to visit.