In the extreme north of the country along the Chinese border, Ha Giang is Vietnam’s most remote and mountainous province. Local markets provide the best opportunities to meet its ethnic minority people, dressed in their dazzling attire, and to shop for the vividly patterned, handwoven textiles and silver jewellery that are a local speciality. Overland journeys in Ha Giang tend to be long and winding, but enthralling from start to finish.
A mix of limestone outcrops and dramatic gorges interspersed by rice fields and orchards, the scenery ranks among the most spectacular anywhere in Southeast Asia. Highpoints include the awesome Ma Pi Leng Pass (1500m / 4921ft) between Dong Van and Meo Vac, and the equally spectacular Quan Bai Valley (‘Heaven’s Gate’), a vale of bucolic minority villages swathed in groves of plum and peach trees, where ginseng and cinnamon are widely cultivated.