Memorable Dong Van Geopark Exploration With Two Canadian Expats during Covid 19

Covid19 pandemic has caused a big problem worldwidely so far and prevented us from travelling domestically & internationally. Luckily, that is not the case of Vietnam for domestic travel business, many companies can still operate & keep their business active. Below is a typical trip we got a chance to operate for two Canadian clients living & working in Vietnam to explore Ha Giang Loops and sightsee Dong Van Geopark, amazing Ma Pi Leng Pass, Lung Cu flag tower……

Customized Dong Van Geopark Tour for Ms Joanne & Ms Susan

One day in late November 2020, while working at home online, we got a phone call from Ms Joanne to customize her & her friend a dream trip to explore Ha Giang Loop for their Christmas 2020 & New Year 2021 vacation.Ms Joanne & her partner have been living & working for an international high school in Ho Chi Minh city for almost 4 years.She said that she had visited many places in Vietnam such as Halong bay, Hanoi, Sapa, Da Nang, Da Lat, Ho Chi Minh, Mekong Delta & Phu Quoc island.In 2020, she was planning her adventure to Ha Giang loop & did booked a motorbike adventure to Dong Van Geopark ( Ha Giang) with a local company departing in July, but a big flood took place in Ha Giang & Covid 19 outbreak happened again in Da Nang city so she could not make her dream adventure to Ha Giang in July.Then she replanned her trip to Ha Giang by reading many of our useful blogs shared about Ha Giang online, contacting us for the trip’s suggestion & consultancy, and having their ultimate Ha Giang adventure with Golden Holiday Travel from 27th to 30th Dec 2020.

Ma Pi Leng Pass - Ha Giang

Ma Pi Leng Pass  & Nho Que river

Ms Joanne informed us that they are both around 60 years old, do not want to expose to the cold weather of winter on motorbike trip and love exploring the top must-see attractions in Ha Giang loop, spending warm nights in 3-4 star hotels, interacting with local ethnics in their villages & tasting the locals’ home-cooked dishes. With her personal request, we suggested her 4 day Dong Van Geopark Exploration by private car with driver & English speaking tourguide departing from Hanoi & returning back to Hanoi capital.

Our suggested program of Dong Van Geopark Exploration for them in brief.

  • Day 1. Hanoi – Ha Giang city (320km), visit Tha village of local Tay ethnic next to Ha Giang city.Overnight in 4**** Phoenix hotel (L)
  • Day 2. Dong Van Geopark Exploration to Quan Ba heaven gate, Twin Mountains, Yen Minh pine forest, Ma Pi Leng Pass – Dong Van town.Overnight in 3*** Hoa Cuong hotel (B,L)
  • Day 3. Ha Giang Loop Discovery to Dong Van ancient town, Don Cao fortress, Lung Cu flag tower, Vuong palace, Lung Cam village, Tham Ma pass – Ha Giang city.Overnight in 3*** Truong Xuan resort (B,L)
  • Day 4. Ha Giang visit to Vi Xuyen Cemetary of Vietnamese heroic solders fighting for Chinese Invasion – Hanoi (B,L)

Don Cao fortress - Dong Van

Mountain views from Don Cao fortresss

On agreement with our suggested itinerary & price qoutation, they agreed to make the deposit to reserve their adventure but with hesitation for the fear that Covid 19 might turn back & what it would be with their deposit.We reassured them as well as any clients booking with us during the pandemic by our additional terms & conditions such as 100% deposit refund or deposit for life…., which are really helpful for any travellers planning trips in this uncertain time of pandemic.

A week & a half before their flight to Hanoi, a bad new that Covid 19 came back in Ho Chi Minh city, possibly they could not fly to Hanoi.However, thanks to strong measures always done strictly by Vietnamese government, the situation was under control again, they were happy to carry out their planned flight to Hanoi & memorable journey with us to Ha Giang, their dream place to discover in Vietnam.

Kale flower Ha Giang

Kale flowers & local children in Lung Cam village

Their real adventure to admire Dong Van Geopark with good luck & aspiration.

Day 1( 27th Dec 20) : Hanoi – Ha Giang city (320km – in 7 hour drive), visit Tha village of Tay ethnic.Overnight in  4**** Phoenix hotel in Ha Giang city (L)

As the scheduled itinerary, Mr Vu ( experienced tourguide) & Mr Hai ( experienced driver for the mountain roads) greeted Ms Joanne & Ms Susan at their hotel in Hanoi old quarter at 7h00 a.m & departed to Ha Giang. For the pandemic prevention, Vu offered them with surgical masks & hand washing liquids, constantly available on the car at service.The morning was quite foggy with some light rains – not a good signal for Dong Van Geopark Exploration if the weather would continue that way in Ha Giang loop as well.Guide’s introduction about the places the journey past & some stops for coffee & lunch made this 7 hour driving journey become more relaxed & faster. The first day would be a nice to view the countryside with tea & orange plantations in hilly Phu Tho, Tuyen Quang & Ha Giang provinces if the weather were fine.

Tha village - Ha Giang

The view down Tha village in Ha Giang city

After the lunch in Tuyen Quang,luckily, the sky got clearer with some sunlight so the group could view scenic mountains along the roadsides, arrived in Ha Giang city at 15h30 pm and started one hour hike to visit Tha village experiencing simple daily life of Tay ethics, the peaceful hamlet nearby Ha Giang city.

The following a nice hike along Tha village  & up the hill to captivate far mountainscapes of Ha Giang loop is the time to check in 4**** Phoenix hotel, one of the most boutique hotel in Ha Giang which offers a good view of nearby mountains backgrounded by Lo river, good accommodation for a comfortably cosy night after a long day driving.Overnight in emerging Ha Giang city, a bordering city with China.

Day 2 (28th Dec 20): Impressive Dong Van Geopark admiration to Quan Ba heaven gate, twin mountains, Yen Minh Pine Forest, Ma Pi Leng Pass & Nho Que river – Dong Van town.Overnight in 3*** Hoa Cuong hotel Dong Van (180km- in 8 hour drive with numerous stops for wonderful photos) (B,L)

The weather forecast mentioned today a raining & misty day in Ha Giang & became a true reality when the morning started.After breakfast in the hotel, the group started an adventure journey up to northern districts of Ha Giang province where are located Global Dong Van Geopark following the legendary Road of Happiness.On the first 20 kms, the trip was on flat roads out of the town and past mountainscapes dotted with local villages on both sides,then ascended up the passes on snaking roads.

Ha Giang pass & view

The mist became thicker & thicker to some levels that driver could not see the roads ahead at all.It was cold and raining as well – so scaring drive that the driver decided to stop for safety and waited for better view.The drive could slowly reach Quan Ba Heaven Gate – the highest point between Ha Giang city & Quan Ba Town. Normally at this part, one could have an outstanding overview of rolling mountains nearby, symbolic Twin Mountains & Tam Son town, but this time of the day, our guests could not view anything except for the clouds which seemed to last for the whole day. “What really unexpected weather”, Ms Joanne said, but “we will enjoy whatever it will be & can visit this place again in the future”. Mr Vu suggested them having hot coffee to warm up and prayed for a better weather of the journey ahead.

Their pray & positive thoughts seemed to work so well in this trip that the sun gradually showed up when the group travelled past Quan Ba town.From that time to the third day of the journey, the weather stayed warm & really clear with blue sky & white cloud flying around. How impressive weather condition was for the group to admire the best of Dong Van Geopark Landscapes !

Buckwheat flower in Nam Dam commune

Ha Giang is famous for its beautiful buckwheat & kale flowers and the best time for it takes place in December. This journey offered them countless chances to enjoy its stunning beauty.Then the the rest of the day was continued with the most amazing exposal to gorgeous Dong Van Geopark from Quan Ba town to Yen Minh Pine Forest, Meo Vac town and Dong Van town. The drive between Yen Minh & Meo Vac was quite bumpy due to bad road condition but a good journey in terms of landscapes & a faster route to reach Ma Pi Leng Pass – the most challenging pass of awesome landscapes in Vietnam.

Ms Joanne would love to admire the best of this pass at sunset.What they planned were really fit the schedule, therefore,they could behold & feel such breathtaking wonder of nature in Ma Pi Leng Pass.The sun was just light enough & clear with blue sky – quite a right moment to capture the most breathtaking landscapes of the regions overviewing manificient towering mountains, deep valleys & gentle Nho Que river running between the high cliffs.The second day was really a day of mind blowing in their adventure to Dong Van Geopark and ended up with a night in Dong Van town.Spend the second night in 3*** Hoa Cuong hotel, in a walking distance to Dong Van ancient town & Dong Van market.

Day 3 (29th Dec 20) : Dong Van Geopark Exploration to Lung Cu flag tower, H’Mong King Palace, Lung Cam village – Ha Giang city.Overnight in 3*** Truong Xuan resort (B,L)

This day would be a long journey with a number of attractions to explore so Mr Vu planned the trip for the group to start at 7h00 a.m with 1.5 hour hike to conquer Don Cao fortress, where the French built a banker in the past to defense Dong Van town.The trek was like healthy exercises to start the day for their great view of Dong Van valley & its town.

Down the fortress was Dong van ancient town so Mr Vu took his guests along for them to get a good sense of typical ancient clay houses of H’Mong & Tay families, who have lived here & developed this town for generations.

Continue another drive to Lung Cu district, the northernmost point of Vietnam, for a visit to Lung Cu flag tower, the must-visited place for any Vietnamese when doing their trip to Ha Giang.For the fast access to the flag tower, instead of climbing up, Ms Susan suggested taking electrical car, then climbed some two hundred steps more to approach the tower.Mr Vu introduced about Vietnamese flag, the tower’s history & related designs there.

Back to car and take another route back to Ha Giang with stops to visit Vuong’s Palace, Lung Cam village & some beautiful passes en route.After a full day of fun & exploration, they got back to Ha Giang city about 6h30 p.m.Check-in 3**** Truong Xuan resort, a peaceful accommodation with flower gardens & mountains views for another wonderful retreat in their Ha Giang adventure.

Day 4 (30th Dec 20) : Ha Giang city visit to Vi Xuyen cemetary & back to Hanoi (320km – in 7 hour drive).Overnight in their booked hotel in Hanoi (B, L)

After breakfast, the group said a goodbye to beautiful Ha Giang while it was turning cold again with some rain.En route, Mr Vu arranged a visit to Vi Xuyen cemetary to review his guests about servere battles & Vietnamese solders’ sacrifice to fight against Chinese invasion between 1979 to the 1980s.Back to Tuyen Quang city for a delicious Vietnamese lunch, then a long jounrey back to their hotel in Hanoi city.

Lunch with clients & Mr Vu Tourguide

Dong Van Geopark Adventure with Golden Holiday Travel

Above is our share of a typical tour operated by Golden Holiday Travel for two lovely & lucky Canadian expats to explore Ha Giang Loop’s attractions.By this, we would love to say that Vietnam is really a safe destination that visitors can think about when Covid 19 is worldwidely eradicated.At the moment, we are totally in normal state with schools & bussiness operation, flights’ schedules to serve locals & expats travelling around thanks to good messures done strictly by central & local governments.As an inbound travel company ( serving international travellers to visit Vietnam), Golden Holiday Travel is also largely affected by the pandemic but we still keep our personels and focus more on marketting, renewing our tour products, inspecting new destinations as well as applying advanced technology so we can bring better travel experiences to our clients in the time to come. Don’t hesitate to contact us and plan for your Vietnam Trip in 2021-2022, we are pleased to support you !

Take care & see you in Vietnam soon !

Golden Holiday Travel Team !

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Ban Vu Dinh

Start working in travel industry in Vietnam from 2003, I had the great chance to learn and see the change as well as the development of tourism in our country. After a few years working in different positions in some well-known international travel companies, together with some co-founders, we found Golden Holiday Travel in 2012 basing on our passion and knowledge with the dream to show tourists around the globe more about Vietnam’s beautiful attractions and to be the travellers’ best local partner for their enjoyable Vietnam holidays of unforgetable memory.

Hope this personsal blog do some help for your Vietnam trip plans ! Any questions or support you need, feel free to let me know.....

See you soon in Vietnam !

Ban Vu Dinh

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