About 160 km from Ha Giang city, Dong Van ancient town is a lovely destination with charming houses and vibrant markets.
The town deserves at least one or two-night stay, and it’s a perfect base to see the surrounding attractions.
About Dong Van ancient town
Dong Van ancient town is located in the center of Dong Van, nestled between surrounding rocky mountains.
This place was occupied by French colonialists from the 1880s. They planned and carried out the construction of several works, which have remained intact so far.
How to get to Dong Van
From Ha Giang, you can rent a motorbike or join a Ha Giang loop tour to explore Ha Giang in a group. It’s much fun and safer, especially if it’s your first visit.
While the distance between Ha Giang and Dong Van is more than 100km, it takes about 4 hours by motorbike. This road has many dangerous passes and cliffs, so you should avoid going on rainy days or in bad weather.
You should depart early so you can rest and visit popular attractions on the road. Try to get to the town before 6 pm, because there’s no light on the roads at night.
Route: Ha Giang city – National Highway 4C – Tam Son town (Quan Ba) – Yen Minh town – Dong Van.
Best time to visit Dong Van
You can visit Dong Van ancient town at any time of the year, but it’s best from October to December. Ha Giang is lovely at this time, with blooming buckwheat flowers and pleasant weather.
Also, if you can arrange your trip, visiting Dong Van on the weekend is the best. The town is vibrant and busier on the weekend with many events.
You should stay in Dong Van old town on Saturday evening and join the weekend market on Sunday morning.
Best places to stay in Dong Van
There are limited choices regarding places to stay in Dong Van old town as it’s a popular stopover. If you visit the town from Friday to Sunday, you should book your hotels as soon as possible.
Best things to do in Dong Van
Wander around the town
Nestled between mountains and valleys, Dong Van ancient town has charming characteristics.
When visiting the old town, you will see nostalgic architecture with rows of ancient 2-story houses.
Above is the yin and yang tile roof – a typical architectural style in the houses of ethnic minorities in Vietnam’s northern mountainous region.
Several homes also hang lanterns in front of the door to make the area more fantastical.
The old town is also colorful, shifting at different times of the day. The gray tint of the old houses and the vivid golden sunlight combine creatively to paint the town. It provides a strangely tranquil setting where one can enjoy the morning’s fresh air.
The historic town boasts a serene ambiance with poetic sunset colors in the afternoon. At night, the town is illuminated by magnificent lights and chilly weather.
Visit the Sunday market.
Visiting Dong Van’s Sunday market will be a memorable experience on your trip to Ha Giang.
Built in the 1920s, Dong Van ancient market presents the harmony of Vietnamese and Chinese architecture.
Once a week, people gather in the market to exchange and sell local products.
You can see ethnic people in colorful dresses and get nice souvenirs for your loved ones. Some unique are fabrics and brocade products.
Relax at the cafes
There are a few nice cafes to relax in Dong Van ancient town.
The most famous one is Cafe Pho Co (Old town coffee Dong Van), a redesigned cafe from an old house that has been around for hundreds of years.
The historic homes are only a short stroll from the Pho Co cafe. It appears that time has not diminished this cafe’s beauty but rather enhanced the striking nostalgic color.
Try local food
Don’t forget to sit at a small roadside shop to try local specialties such as corn wine, Au Tau porridge, Banh Cuon, black chicken hotpot, and sticky bamboo rice.
Nearby places to visit
From Dong Van old town, you can visit nearby places and take wonderful day trips. Here are some suggestions: