Hi all! We are Elisa and Thomas. Welcome to our travel guide on the Ha Giang Loop in Vietnam. Together we run the blog Generation Wanderlust. We were both born in Vorarlberg, the westernmost part of Austria.
Growing up in the beautiful Alps meant that we became connected to nature from an early age. We met in 2015 at a party and fell in love for many reasons including our shared passion for travel. After only a few weeks of being together, we decided to take our first trip together to Barcelona.
Since then we have been living by the motto: “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”. Travelling is what makes us feel alive and we try to explore new places around the world as often as possible. For us it’s the people, beautiful landscapes and food that makes travel so special.
Four Amazing Weeks in Vietnam
During the summer of 2019 we decided to quit our jobs and cancel our rental contract to go backpacking in Southeast Asia. Back then we also launched our blog – www.generation-wanderlust.com. After travelling through Thailand and Cambodia the day finally came when we arrived in Vietnam – the country we had heard so many amazing things about!
We were so excited and really wanted to see as much as possible. That is why we decided to spend four weeks in this wonderful country. We entered Vietnam by crossing the land border from Kep in Cambodia to Ha Tien. The first area we explored in Vietnam was the southern region.
Our first days were spent on the island of Phu Quoc where we created photo and video content for a hotel. From there we took a plane to Ho Chi Minh City. After spending a few awesome days in this city we continued our trip by train with stops in Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An and Ninh Binh before we finally arrived in Hanoi with a week left on our visa.
Our Journey on the Ha Giang Loop
Thomas has always been fascinated by the idea of travelling through Vietnam on a motorbike. We both had big backpacks and so we decided to travel by train instead. One evening though, Thomas came across the Ha Giang Loop while reading another blog. We were both instantly intrigued.
It dawned on us that we definitely had to do this motorbike trip before leaving Vietnam. We had this inner desire to travel through Vietnam by motorbike and coming across this blog post set the desire in motion.
When we arrived in Hanoi we first had to buy some winter clothes. During these months travelling from south to north Vietnam is like switching from summer to winter. We booked a minivan from Hanoi to Ha Giang which in the end was the craziest six hour drive of our whole trip through Asia!
We highly recommend taking the big bus instead. It will definitely save you the nerves. Our first night was booked at Moc May Homestay which is located in the heart of Ha Giang. Most of the homestays in this small city offer motorbike rentals and you can store your luggage there (check out Minaal – a New Zealand brand which creates awesome travel bags).
Moc May Homestay was a good choice. The night we arrived a guide explained the route and told us about some spots that we shouldn’t miss. We went for a 125cc Suzuki and did the big loop in three days with two overnight stops in Yen Minh and Dong Van. On our third day we returned our bike and picked up our luggage before taking a bus back to Hanoi.
Favourite Part of the Ha Giang Loop
The constant feeling of being surrounded by unreal looking mountain landscapes is what makes this motorbike trip so special. If we had to choose one special part it would be the Skywalk. It’s a narrow road (one of the most dangerous in Vietnam) leading to an incredible rock viewpoint.
We recommend driving the first part of the Skywalk before parking your motorbike and continuing on the road walking. Only local people drive up the whole road because it becomes quite dangerous towards the end.
5 Highlights of the Ha Giang Loop
Driving around the mountains of Ha Giang is a bucket-list experience that you will never forget! There are a couple of highlights and must-do’s along the way. Here is what travellers can look forward to on the Ha Giang Loop:
- Walk to the end of the famous Skywalk
- Enjoy a Vietnamese coffee with a view at Heaven’s Gate
- Take a stop and watch over the Ma Pi Leng Pass from above
- Watch the local women work on the farms with their families
- Drive up north, go up Lung Cu Flag Tower and enjoy the views of China
Best Memory from the Loop
A moment that we will never forget on the Loop was an afternoon when we drove up to a viewpoint where we were completely alone. After a while we noticed a woman harvesting in the slopes 50 meters away from us.
She had a little girl and baby with her. We talked about how unreal this situation was compared to the lives of people back in Europe. Suddenly the little Hmong girl – a Vietnamese minority – was waving at us. This was such a heartwarming moment and became one of our favourite memories.
Staying at Moc May Homestay
As mentioned before our “base camp” was Moc May Homestay in Ha Giang. We booked a nice double room for a cheap price. They have several different motorbikes and all the equipment you need for the trip to rent.
We would definitely book Moc May again. Also because the staff were friendly and helped us with everything we needed to know for the Ha Giang Loop. Another place we can recommend is Hoang Ngoc Hotel in Dong Van, the small city we stayed at on the second night of our trip.
At $30 per night it was a bit more expensive than other homestays but we got a clean and comfortable double room – something you will definitely enjoy after driving by motorbike for several hours. We also met some other backpackers there and continued the loop together the next morning.
Need to Know Before you Go
If you plan on doing this epic motorbike adventure in Northern Vietnam one day we have some useful tips for you:
- Check the weather forecast before driving up to Ha Giang. When it’s raining the streets can get slippery and dangerous. During these moments we would wait for better weather to continue riding.
- Rent a motorbike with at least 125cc – especially if you are driving together with another person. You will need the power for two people.
- Before you set off on the road, make sure to check out these motorcycle fuel savings tips. From good maintenance to sufficient lubrication and properly inflated tires, there are many things you can do to make sure that every petrol dollar you spend goes further!
- We would recommend taking at least three days to complete the loop. If you have less time there is a shorter loop which you can do in two.
- Leave your big backpack in the homestay you are staying at in Ha Giang and pack a smaller day trip backpack for the motorbike ride.
- We used the app Maps.me for our entire trip. You can save some nice locations in advance and the app can be used without any internet connection which is really helpful when travelling through Vietnam.
- Drive with foresight and pay attention for trucks overtaking you.
- Enjoy every minute and take lots of stops and photos!