The Ha Giang Loop with Jasmine Hostel is an unforgettable experience, looking back on our travels throughout South East Asia this is the best trip we did and an adventure we will treasure for the rest of our lives and is not one to be missed.
This loop takes you through the remote villages of Northern Vietnam, giving you a whole new understanding and perspective of the country. Bike through stunning landscapes on winding roads and dirt tracks, there is no shortage of amazement throughout this whole journey.
With this Complete Guide to the Ha Giang Loop with Jasmine Hostel I will make sure you have all the information you need to book this trip and to ensure you know what to expect so can make sure you have the best time possible.
Keep reading to discover this breathtaking experience 🏍️
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The Ha Giang Loop
The Ha Giang Loop is a famous road loop in North Vietnam that starts and finishes in the town of Ha Giang.
The top of the loop is located near the Chinese border and runs through many villages such as Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van & Men Vac.
The roads (if you can call them that at some points) go through untouched countryside and remote villages giving you a real authentic Vietnamese experience.
Using a Tour vs Biking Alone
It is possible to do the Ha Giang Loop alone and without an organised tour
‼️ I would only recommend doing this if you have done plenty of research on the area and route prior to starting. The roads can be extremely dangerous at times and there was often no service so you’ll want to ensure you know exactly where you’re going and what to do if your bike breaks or you get a puncture.
English is not widely spoken throughout the loop so if you are alone it can be quite hard to get the help you need.
Going alone may also get lonely, it is a lot of driving and you won’t see many other people throughout the day so unless you have a group, I would recommend booking a tour to join a group of other likeminded travellers having the same experience.
Going with Jasmine Tours was such a great experience, they organise absolutely everything for you.
All you have to do everyday is show up and drive! Every detail is covered from your transport to Ha Giang, your bikes, all breakdowns, food, accommodation and sightseeing stops.
How to Book The Ha Giang Loop with Jasmine Hostel
You can either head to the Jasmine Hostel website and book online or if you are in Hanoi then visit their office located in Old Town Backpacker Hostel.
If you can I recommend booking your tour in person at their office, this way you can explain exactly what you want, review all the options they have and ensure everything is booked perfectly.
💡 For example because we visited the office, the staff showed us a game on the website that we would have missed otherwise and it gave us a free nights accommodation.
How Much Does it Cost & What’s Included
We paid £195 each, this included:
- VIP bus return – Hanoi to Ha Giang
- 1 nights stay in a private room at Jasmine Hostel.
- 3 nights accommodation in Homestays throughout loop
- All meals during the loop (4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners)
- Entrance fees to all attractions.
- Fuel throughout the loop.
- The bike (note if you would like to upgrade your bike this is an additional cost – we upgraded to a Honda XR150cc dirt bike this was an extra 250,000 VND (£9) per day for insurance)
- Half nights stay in dorm on arrival back to Hanoi.
🙋🏻♀️ this was the best £195 we spent in the whole of South East Asia!
Using an Easyrider vs Riding Yourself
An Easyrider is where you have an experienced rider controlling your bike and you sit on the back!
This option gives you peace of mind if you are not a confident on a bike, you can just sit back and enjoy the view.
‼️ Note though that not all Easyriders speak English, but most people wore headphones during the riding.
If you are an experienced rider and are confident on a bike then you can ride yourself. The roads throughout the loop however, are quite challenging and it is not advised to ride yourself if you have no previous experience.
There is a choice of 5 bikes, if you are riding solo the standard 110cc semi automatic bikes are perfectly good and will do the job.
However if you are riding two-up like we were I’d recommend going for one of the larger bikes as it’s easier with all the hills and changing speeds. We chose the Honda XR150cc dirt bike and we were very happy with our decision, especially on the dirt tracks and we had a bouncy suspension.
Getting from Hanoi to Ha Giang
Ha Giang is only accessible by road so the only way to get there is by car or bus.
Booking with Jasmine Tours this is all arranged for you. There are 2 choices and you can either get the bus at midday or 9pm everyday from Hanoi.
‼️ The journey from Hanoi is 7 hours, if you get the 9pm bus you arrive at 4am and you leave to start the loop at 9am that same morning.
We decided to get the VIP bus at midday so we had some time to chill out in the evening and get a good nights sleep before the big 4 days riding.
The VIP bus was such a cool experience, you have your own compartment with an adjustable chair, air-conditioning, sometimes a TV, wifi and a blanket.
After such a long bus journey we were so glad to have arrived at Jasmine Hostel and get ourselves settled in and to eat some food.
What to Pack for the Loop
Because the tour is 3 nights long and you stay at a different homestay every night you can only take a small backpack, you will be able to leave your larger backpack or suitcase in the Jasmine Hostel store room in Ha Giang town.
This bag will then be put in a plastic bag and tied to the back of your bike every morning, you do not need a lot so just take the essentials I outline below and leave the rest behind.
- Comfy clothes for everyday – ensure these are suitable for the time of year you are riding
- A jumper – whether its hot or cold take a good one!
- Your passport – this is needed every night to check in to the homestay
- Bum bag/small bag – keep all of your daily essentials in here for easy access
- Inspect repellant
- Raincoat or plastic poncho/suit
- A camera
- Chargers and adapters for phone etc
- Good shoes – not flip flops or sandals
- Dry towel
- Any medication you need
- Cash – for souvenirs and snacks along the way
4 Day Itinerary – Ha Giang Loop with Jasmine Hostel
On day one you are off to a busy start!
You have to get up ensure you’ve packed your bag, eaten breakfast, picked and tested your bike and are back there ready for the briefing at 9am.
A large number of people start this tour everyday so you are split into smaller groups. There was around 50/60 people starting on the same day as us so we were split into 4 groups and assigned a designated guide.
At 9.30am the tour starts and the vibes are seriously high! Everyone was so excited to get on the road and start the adventure.
As you get out of Ha Giang and deeper into the country side the scenery just gets better and better and this doesn’t stop throughout the whole trip!
‼️ Due to an increased number of deaths on the Ha Giang loop there is now a police checkpoint on the road in and out of Ha Giang. This is to ensure you have the correct documents to ride – in Vietnam you need an international motorbike license to drive legally.
If the police are there, you are not with an organised tour and you do not have the correct documentation you can be fined up to 3,000,000 VND (£100).
On day one you stop at quite a lot of viewpoints and cafes, but who’s complaining when it looks this good. Most of these stops also have little shops and toilets so just ask if you need anything.
Starting low you follow a river along the valley surrounded by lush green mountains before climbing up them on a beautiful path that weaves left to right.
The first view point is truly breathtaking, the combination of textures – hills, rice paddies and winding roads makes it one that’s hard to forget.
You’ll then stop to see Quan Ba Heaven Gate and the ‘boobs’ (yes you did read that right, they are 2 boob shaped mountains).
Soon after you will stop in Quan Ba for lunch, lunch and all other meals throughout the trip are organised for you and are included in the package.
They are all traditional Vietnamese style family meals which include, some kind of meat, tofu, sticky rice, vegetables, spring rolls, & noodles.
They are served in large bowls in the middle of the table and you are encouraged to help yourself into smaller bowls provided. Forks are not always present so make sure you’ve had some chop stick practise.
Drinks are not included throughout the trip but you can purchase these anywhere you go separately.
After lunch you then continue climbing up higher and higher into the mountains, stopping occasionally to admire the view and where you’ve come from.
The first night we stayed at Bong Bang Homestay located in Yen Minh. Most of the accommodation is back to basics but you don’t need much more.
Because there was quite a few of us we ended up in a separate building in a room with 12, this was quite a good deal as we had separate bathrooms and it was a bit quieter.
In the evening the hosts bring out dinner in traditional Vietnamese style again accompanied by happy water.
Happy water is famous throughout the Ha Giang loop it is distilled rice wine, it is said to be so clean that you never have a hangover… I’m not so sure, what did you think?
Most often it is served in shot glasses, however, some of them throughout this journey could be confused with baby bowls they were so big.
Once everyone’s had a good helping of happy water the owners bring the karaoke microphone out and it’s passed around the tables!
Don’t worry this is all turned off at 10pm so you don’t have to worry about being serenaded to sleep.
We were told that day two would start around 8.30 am but when you have this many people to manage you’ll never really leave on time.
At around 9.30am we left and headed to Tham Ma Pass which is a famous piece of road and probably one of the most circulated and well known scenes from the Ha Giang loop.
Unfortunately for us this is when the heavens decided to open, we were completing this trip at the same time that there was a typhoon in central Vietnam so we were getting some of the weather from this.
💡 If you see your guide purchasing and putting on a waterproof suit, do the same! Even if it’s blue skies, trust me they know it’s going to rain. Make sure you buy the waterproof socks too because once your shoes are wet they are so hard to dry.
You drive through many beautiful and remote villages such as Lao Xa. Many of the locals will be out around the villages and the children love to wave at you or give you high fives!
After this you’ll take a diversion from the main loop to head toward the Chinese border and Lung Cu flag tower.
Prior to covid the Chinese border wasn’t patrolled and you were able to, sometimes and very discreetly, cross over for a couple of minutes before running back. However since covid the border is patrolled by the military. You can catch a glimpse of the metal fence that separates Vietnam and China but it is not advised to cross.
Lung Cu flag tower is located on Rong mountain, you’ll take a small and narrow road to get here so drive carefully.
The flag tower stands in the most northern part of Vietnam and is 33m high with a 54m squared flag, the size represents the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam.
From the top of the mountain next to the tower you have beautiful views of the surrounding villages and Chinese mountains, however due to the low cloud we couldn’t see much at all.
Passing through Dong Van village you will stop for another traditional Vietnamese meal before heading onto the famous Ma Pi Leng pass.
This piece of road hugs the side of the mountain while the other edge is an 800m canyon with the Nho Que river below. At the time none of us were aware of this drop or the river due to the thick low cloud, it would have been a pretty scary journey if we were!
Along this road you’ll stop off and have the chance to do the skywalk to Thai Phin Tung, another famous image you’ve probably seen before where a piece of rock is sticking out like a platform.
This is supposed to be one of the most beautiful views on the Ha Giang loop but, unfortunately for us, the cloud was so thick and we opted to leave it out as it was torrential rain at this point and its a 1km walk to the platform.
We headed straight for Meo Vac H’mong Ecolodge where we were staying for the night.
The accommodation here is beautiful!
Each group was allocated one large building each with mattresses lined out upstairs and private rooms and a living space downstairs.
Jack was very wet and grumpy when we arrived here so decided to purchase one of the private rooms downstairs, as quite a few in our group were snorers! So for 330,000 VND (£11) we got ourselves a nice quiet double room.
Dinner here was again the traditional Vietnamese family meal followed by some more happy water and our table ended the night with some card drinking games.
On this morning we didn’t have to leave as early, it was a 9.30am start (which of course turned to 10am).
Our first stop was back to the Nho Que river to admire the Tu San Canyon.
The boat ride takes roughly half an hour to get to the canyon and go through it, during this time you can admire its beauty and size, this canyon is known as the most magnificent canyon in Vietnam.
The river itself is a stunning green colour which also adds to the photographic appeal of the area, even in the rain it was lovely to see.
Day three’s riding is definitely the hardest, there’s only a small amount of proper roads on this day and the majority of it is dirt tracks through local villages and quarries.
Once we left the river it started to rain again, very heavily, so the plastic suits were on and we were ready for another day of wet weather.
After about 2 hours of dirt roads we finally reached our stop for lunch, all covered in mud and starving.
I wasn’t riding and I don’t ride bikes but I know that this piece of road was extremely hard to navigate, it is also so bumpy so if you’re on a standard bike it can be very uncomfortable!
Luckily after lunch the rain stopped meaning we were able to see some of the scenery. The roads also got a lot better which was good news for everyone.
‼️ Jasmine Tours offer a 3 or 4 day trip so the people doing 3 days headed off separately after lunch and started their ride home as we took a different route. From our own experience and of all we have spoken to this is one of the best experiences you can have while travelling South East Asia so I would opt for 4 days if you can!
We were so grateful that the weather cleared up for this last part of the day, as the views were incredible the whole way to Du Gia village where we spent the last night.
Arriving at our homestay Jack & I were told that unfortunately (or fortunately) there was not enough room for us in the main building so we had to have a private room located next door in another building.
The bed was super comfy and the bathrooms were big and clean, what more could you want.
At dinnertime we headed back to the main building where the food was served on small round tables and we all sat around in small groups on the floor.
This was by far my favourite homestay, the way it was all set up was so beautiful and the surrounding scenery of mountains and rivers was breathtaking.
After dinner there is a small bar just across from the main building that does karaoke so after we played some more card games we headed over there before it was bedtime!
The last day started around 10am and luckily for us the sun decided to come out and it was nice and warm again.
It was perfect timing as day four starts with the Du Gia waterfall, the route to get here is stunning, a little off roading again but it’s not for long, you feel like you are driving through scenes from the Hobbit.
💡 I’d recommend putting your swim stuff on that morning to save you having to find somewhere discreet to change at the waterfall as it can be extremely busy.
The water is icy cold but definitely worth going in, it’s a wonderful way to cool you down before a long hot day of riding. You can also climb up the waterfall and jump in if you want to get your blood pumping and have a little adrenaline hit.
After spending about an hour at the waterfall we all headed back to the bikes and continued riding for the day.
The first section of the ride you have to go back on yourself which was very lucky for us as the scenery was no longer cloud covered and was beautifully paired with bright blue skies.
It was wonderful to see this amazing landscape is all its glory.
The last day is truly stunning, you drive through many little villages and up down and over the mountains before stopping for lunch in Quan Ba, the same place as day one.
Once you’ve finished your last traditional Vietnamese lunch its a straight 2/3 hour ride back to Jasmine Hostel in Ha Giang back along the same road you took on the first day.
Arriving back at Jasmine Hostel in Ha Giang safe and sound and in one piece you are congratulated by the staff and given a Ha Giang loop finishers t-shirt.
We arrived back at around 4.30pm and our VIP coach back to Hanoi wasn’t until 9pm so we had plenty of time to sort our bags, have a shower and grab some food.
‼️ If you are going back to Hanoi the coach arrives in the city around 4am, they will drop you at Old Town Backpacker Hostel. When booking the trip you can book a half nights stay here at a discounted price and they will be there waiting for you to check in. If you do not book this ensure your accommodation has a 24 hour check in desk.
The Ha Giang Loop with Jasmine Hostel is by far one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life.
I know you can go it alone but it’s the company of your group and the guides that made this experience so special.
You are looked after from start to finish and they ensure you are always having fun and making memories you will never forget.
Booking the Ha Giang loop with Jasmine Tours takes away all the stress and worry meaning you can just show up and ride everyday while completely enjoying yourself.
The Ha Giang Loop with Jasmine Hostel should have a well deserved place on your Vietnam bucket list!
If you do one thing in Vietnam, make sure it’s this!
Looking for more things to do during your stay in Vietnam? Check out these posts:
- My Favourite Places in Hanoi to Eat & Drink
- Exploring Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park: Including Phong Nha & Paradise Caves
- Why Canyoning in Da Lat is a must during your stay in Vietnam
- A guide to the Cu Chi tunnels, Saigon
- My top places to visit in Ho Chi Minh city
- The First Timers Guide to Hoi An, Vietnam