The journey from Ha Giang to Dong Van is around 160km (100 miles). Many tourists use a scooter to get from Ha Giang to Dong Van, as part of the Ha Giang Loop.
They do this either by riding their own scooter or riding on the back of a scooter with a hired driver.
But for many people, this method isn’t an option.
And even for those who it is, it can be very dangerous. Riding a scooter in Vietnam can be very unsafe, and even fatal - but that’s especially the case in Northern Vietnam. In this region, the roads are winding, narrow and potholed. And the weather can make the roads wet, slippery and hard to navigate.
If you want to get from Ha Giang to Dong Van without a scooter, we’ve got you covered.
Instead of using a scooter, you can take a bus to Dong Van from Ha Giang, allowing you to enjoy the incredible mountain views without having to fret and fuss about staying safe on a scooter.
This journey is one of the best that Vietnam has to offer. By taking a bus from Ha Giang to Dong Van, you can truly enjoy all the views and vistas without having to think about navigation. On a scooter, your eyes have to be on the road. In a bus, they can be firmly fixed on the mountains.
You’ll absolutely love this stretch of Vietnam. Towering limestone karsts, steep rice paddies, meandering roads and local tribes all grace these mountains, which are enshrouded by layers of low-level cloud.
Bus journeys from Ha Giang to Dong Van are simple and easy, and they’re a great way to experience the best road trip that Vietnam has to offer.
Once you arrive in Dong Van, you’ll experience an even more remote settlement than that of Ha Giang.
Full of local tribes and panoramic views, it’s home to Dong Van Market, one of Vietnam’s emerging tourist attractions. Every sunday, people from various tribes come here to trade their wares and barter their way to a bargain.
People come from all over the world to experience this part of Vietnam.
We’ve all heard the cliches - that the journey is more important than the destination. But here, it’s absolutely true.
The landscape is stunning, with limestone karsts, sheer drops and small forests. And just when you think it can’t get better, you’ll hit another mountain pass, with an even better panoramic view than the last.
One of the best parts of this road trip is passing through Dong Van Karst Plateau, a UNESCO Global Geopark.
But much of the on-road action is a real treat too. The winding roads aren’t just used by buses and cars. You’ll see speedy scooters, whizzing by at breakneck speeds. You’ll see farmers shepherding their animals down steep verges. You’ll see colourfully-clothed tribal children carrying essentials from one village to another.
With most bus journeys, you’re glad when it’s over. With this one, you’ll be sad to see it end.
When you arrive in Dong Van, you’ll be greeted by a busy little town, with taxis, scooters and locals offering you a place to stay. If you haven’t already booked somewhere to sleep, you’ll have absolutely no problems finding a great place the moment you arrive.
Dong Van is full of beautiful homestays, with traditional food, smiling faces and seemingly-endless offerings of local rice wine.
But be sure to bargain! Don’t be dismayed by the idea of haggling to get a lower price. Bargaining is the culture here, so get yourself a good deal before you agree to stay at a guesthouse - or before you agree on a taxi fare.
Taking a bus
The bus ride from Ha Giang to Dong Van leaves twice a day, once in the early morning, and once at midday. There’s no toilet on board, but the bus will stop to make breaks along the way.
All buses offer air conditioning, and some offer WiFi.
Make sure you carry warm clothes for the journey. Because of Ha Giang’s altitude, it’s often way colder than you might expect! And if the AC is on, the bus will be even colder.
If you can, make sure you get a window seat, to really enjoy all the views. Wherever you’re sat, you’ll be craning your neck to get the best vistas you can - so a window seat is a wise investment. Get to the bus station early to get yourself a prime location onboard.