Dong Van Ancient Town
Ruby Le

Ruby Le

Ruby Le's keen on travelling and exploring undiscovered places in Vietnam,
love to share travel experiences, photos, writing article after every trips.

Dong Van Ancient Town

Ha Giang is not only known for its brilliant pink buckwheat flowers in the rocky plateau during autumn. It also has a tourist attraction that bears resemblance to Hanoi and Hoi An. When it comes to ancient towns, it’s not just Hoi An or Hanoi’s 36 old streets, but also Dong Van Old Town in Ha Giang.

Ha Giang offers more than just the stunning natural scenery; it has a rich cultural heritage preserved in its ancient town, Dong Van.

How Dong Van Ancient Town is Unique?

Dong Van ancient town in Ha Giang is a magical place where the passage of time has bridged the gap between the past and the present. Its centuries-old houses, lively highland markets, and spirited festive evenings have allured tourists on their Hà Giang tours, evoking a sense of longing that lasts a lifetime.

Nestled amidst the rugged mountains and dense forests, Dong Van ancient town in Dong Van District stands proud at an elevation of 1,000 to 1,600 meters above sea level. Its silent and majestic ambiance captivates visitors, serving as a remarkable contrast to the dry and barren rocky plateau. Exploring Ha Giang without immersing oneself in the nostalgic charm of Dong Van ancient town would be a missed opportunity.

Since the early 20th century, families from various ethnic backgrounds, including Tay, Hoa, Mong, Nung, Dao, and Kinh, have migrated to this area, making it their home and building their lives. As a result, the town has evolved into a vibrant melting pot of cultures, bustling with the energy of its diverse residents.

How to get to Dong Van Ancient Town?

To get to Dong Van ancient town, you can follow these steps:

  1. Fly to Hanoi: If you are coming from outside Vietnam, the most convenient way is to fly to Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam.
  2. Travel to Ha Giang City: From Hanoi, you have several options to reach Ha Giang City, the capital of Ha Giang Province. You can take a bus, minivan, or hire a private car. The journey takes approximately 7-8 hours, covering a distance of around 320 kilometers.
  3. Reach Dong Van ancient town: Once you arrive in Ha Giang City, you can hire a motorbike, join a tour group, or hire a local guide with a car to travel to Dong Van ancient town. The distance between Ha Giang City and Dong Van is about 130 kilometers, and the journey takes around 4-5 hours due to the mountainous terrain and winding roads.
  4. Enjoy the Scenic Drive: The route from Ha Giang City to Dong Van ancient town offers breathtaking scenery, with winding roads passing through stunning landscapes, terraced rice fields, and picturesque mountain ranges. Take your time to soak in the beauty of the journey.

It’s recommended to check the weather and road conditions before your trip, as the roads in the mountainous areas can be challenging, especially during the rainy season. Also, make sure to have proper travel insurance and necessary permits if required.

Overall, traveling to Dong Van ancient town requires some time and effort, but the journey itself is an adventure filled with natural wonders and cultural experiences.

When is the best time to visit Dong Van Ancient Town?

The best time to visit Dong Van ancient town is during the months of September to November and March to May. These periods are considered the spring and autumn seasons in Ha Giang Province and offer the most favorable weather conditions for exploring the town and its surroundings.

During spring (March to May), the weather is mild and pleasant, with blooming flowers and lush greenery. It is a great time to witness the vibrant landscapes, including the famous pink buckwheat flowers that adorn the rocky plateau.

Autumn (September to November) is another excellent time to visit. The weather is cool and stable, and the landscapes transform into stunning hues of golden yellow and brown as the rice terraces ripen for harvest. It is also the time when the Tam Giac Mach (buckwheat) Festival takes place, showcasing the beauty of the pink buckwheat flowers.

It’s important to note that Dong Van ancient town is located in a mountainous region, so the weather can be unpredictable at times. It’s advisable to check the weather forecast before planning your trip and be prepared for temperature variations and occasional rain.

Avoid visiting during the winter months (December to February) as the temperatures can drop significantly, and some areas may experience foggy and misty conditions, limiting visibility and obstructing the picturesque views.

By planning your visit during the recommended seasons, you can fully enjoy the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and traditional festivities of Dong Van ancient town.

Top things to do & activities in Dong Van Ancient Town

When visiting Dong Van ancient town, there are several top things to do and activities that you can enjoy. Here are some recommendations:

1. Explore the Ancient Town:

Dong Van ancient town shelters a modest community of only 40 closely intertwined households, creating a concealed enclave beneath the rugged cliffs. The captivating landscape of this historic town in Ha Giang resembles a picturesque masterpiece, adorned with the warm golden tones cast by sunlight, the serene green hues of mountains and forests, and the nostalgic patina of time-worn silver dwellings. Indulge in a leisurely stroll through the enchanting, meandering streets of Dong Van ancient town. Marvel at the meticulously preserved ancient architecture, featuring traditional clay and stone houses. Immerse yourself in the alluring ambiance and catch a glimpse of the town’s illustrious past, steeped in rich history.

2. Visit Dong Van Market

Visit Dong Van Market: Experience the local culture by exploring Dong Van Market. This bustling market is a vibrant hub where ethnic minority communities gather to trade their goods and produce. You can find a variety of local products, handicrafts, traditional costumes, and delicious local snacks. It’s a great place to interact with the locals and learn about their daily lives.

3. Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark:

Discover the unique geological features of the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, a UNESCO Global Geopark. Take a scenic drive through the karst landscape, characterized by rugged limestone formations, deep valleys, and towering peaks. Visit attractions like Ma Pi Leng Pass, Lung Cu Flag Tower, and the Hmong King’s Palace to appreciate the stunning natural beauty of the region.

4. Hike or Motorbike to Nearby Villages:

Embark on an adventure and explore the picturesque villages surrounding Dong Van ancient town. Rent a motorbike or join a guided tour to visit ethnic minority villages like Lung Cu, Sa Phin, and Pho Cao. Experience the traditional way of life, interact with the locals, and witness the breathtaking landscapes along the way.

5. Taste Local Cuisine:

Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the local cuisine of Dong Van. Try traditional dishes like Thang Co (a hearty stew made from horse meat), Men Men (a noodle dish with local herbs and spices), and Hmong-style pancakes. Explore the local eateries and street food stalls to indulge in the flavors of the region.

6. Attend Festivals and Cultural Events:

Attend Festivals and Cultural Events: If your visit coincides with local festivals or cultural events, make sure to participate and experience the vibrant traditions of the ethnic communities. The Tam Giac Mach (buckwheat) Festival, held in October, is a popular event featuring cultural performances, traditional games, and the beauty of the blooming buckwheat flowers.

7. Enjoy Scenic Drives and Trekking Routes:

The surrounding area of Dong Van offers breathtaking landscapes and scenic routes. Take a drive along the Ma Pi Leng Pass, renowned for its dramatic cliffs and panoramic views. Alternatively, embark on a trekking adventure to explore the hidden gems of the region, including terraced rice fields, hidden waterfalls, and remote ethnic minority villages.

These are just a few of the many things to do and activities available in Dong Van ancient town. The town and its surroundings offer a rich cultural and natural experience that will leave you with lasting memories of your visit.

Recommend travel Itineraries To Dong Van Dong Van Ancient Town

Here are two recommended travel itineraries to Dong Van ancient town from Ha Giang City:

Itinerary 1: Weekend Getaway

Day 1:

  • Morning: Depart from Ha Giang City and make your way to Dong Van ancient town.
  • Afternoon: Explore the ancient town by taking a leisurely stroll through its narrow streets. Admire the well-preserved traditional houses and soak in the charming atmosphere.
  • Evening: Enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant, savoring the flavors of the region’s cuisine.

Day 2:

  • Morning: Visit Dong Van Market to experience the vibrant local culture and shop for traditional handicrafts and local products.
  • Afternoon: Take a scenic drive to Ma Pi Leng Pass, known for its breathtaking views. Capture the panoramic landscapes and enjoy the natural beauty of the karst formations.
  • Evening: Return to Dong Van ancient town and relax at a local café or restaurant, immersing yourself in the tranquil ambiance.

Itinerary 2: Extended Exploration

Day 1:

  • Morning: Depart from Ha Giang City and drive to Dong Van ancient town.
  • Afternoon: Explore the town’s ancient architecture and visit the Hmong King’s Palace to learn about the local history and culture.
  • Evening: Enjoy a traditional dinner with local specialties.

Day 2:

  • Morning: Venture into the surrounding villages, such as Lung Cu and Pho Cao, to experience the daily life and traditions of the ethnic minority communities.
  • Afternoon: Visit the Lung Cu Flag Tower, the northernmost point of Vietnam, and enjoy panoramic views of the border region.
  • Evening: Attend a local cultural performance or traditional event, if available.

Day 3:

  • Morning: Embark on a trekking adventure to discover the hidden gems of the area, such as terraced rice fields or secluded waterfalls.
  • Afternoon: Visit the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark and explore its unique geological features.
  • Evening: Reflect on your journey and enjoy a farewell dinner in Dong Van ancient town.

Note: These itineraries serve as a general guide. Feel free to customize them based on your preferences, the duration of your trip, and any specific attractions or activities that interest you.

Dong Van Ancient Town in Ha Giang is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and a glimpse into the region’s rich history. From exploring the well-preserved ancient architecture to immersing oneself in the charming ambiance of the narrow streets, visitors are sure to be captivated by the town’s beauty and authenticity.

To make the most of your experience in Dong Van Ancient Town and Ha Giang, we invite you to embark on a Ha Giang scenic tour organized by the Origin Vietnam team. Our expert guides will take you on a journey through the wonders of this region, ensuring a memorable and immersive adventure. Whether you prefer a weekend getaway or an extended exploration, our tailored tours cater to different preferences and interests.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the picturesque landscapes, meet the friendly locals, and create lasting memories in Dong Van ancient town. Contact the Origin Vietnam team today to plan your unforgettable tour and discover the hidden treasures of Ha Giang.

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