When one talks about Northwestern Vietnam, it’s deficient if we do not mention Ha Giang with breathtaking landscape. This rocky plateau is renowned for the stunning buckwheat flowers, majestic mountains, astonishing passes, the amazing terraced paddy fields and the distinctive culture of ethnic groups living there. As a chance came out, we decided to take a Ha Giang Tour – the final frontier part of the country in the last days of October.
The first stopover – Tha village
We started the trip by a bus in the early morning from Hanoi with lots of expectations for the first journey. After about 7 hours travelling, we arrived in a peaceful village named Tha for lunch. Located about 2 kilometers from Ha Giang City, Tha village is the place where Tay group live with more than 100 households and about 500 people.
Despite just a short distance to Ha Giang City, this village seems to be a different world without high buildings and bustling vehicles. Tay people here still maintain the traditional stilt houses which are entirely made of bamboo. The lunch included traditional dishes of local people such as bong fish and forest vegetables. The atmosphere in Tha village is silent, just only the sound of the pounding of the rice mortars lifting up and down, small streams murmuring all day and night, the sounds of chicks and fish in the ponds.
Trekking in Ha Thanh cultural and tourism village and explore Waterfall No.6
We continued the trip to Ha Thanh village, about 3 kilometers from Tha village for trekking. Ha Thanh was recognized as a cultural and ecotourism village by the end of December, 2011. We all were amazed with the scenery as soon as we got off the bus. The village is like a curtain with the green of terraced rice fields and palm trees. We went around the village to see traditional stilt houses and vast fields. This time is the harvesting season when the local people bring sheaves of rice with smiles on their faces. From a distance, we also saw a couple taking wedding photos. Ha Thanh village is also well-known for a beautiful stream flowing through the center of the village. The local people name it “Waterfall No.6” because it’s 6 kilometers from Ha Giang City.
To reach the waterfall, we had to go across a slippery road and a small stream with big rocks. We were a bit lucky because when we came, the water level was low so there was no difficulty for us to go through it. The local guide told that if the water level was high, you could not reach the Waterfall No.6. On the way, buffaloes were glazing and herdsman were chatting with each other.
Nam Dam village – the last destination for the first day
Leaving Ha Thanh, we headed to Nam Dam when the sun slowly went behind mountains. About 2 kilometers from the center of Quan Ba District, Nam Dam village has 52 households of Dao people. Nam Dam still remains the bold tradition of Dao group with the roofs of the yin-yang and the locals who always wear traditional costumes even when doing the copper. We stayed in a homestay called Ly Ta Han’s – one of the most popular homestay in the village. Coming here, we really felt the friendliness and hospitality of the local people. They warmly welcomed us and served traditional dishes. The things that we remembered most are the black chicken and corn wine – two specialties of this land. As a featured custom, the homeowner went around the table and invited each of us a cup of corn wine to show their hospitality. We enjoyed the meal happily while listening to stories about the culture and daily life of the local. After the dinner, we came back the room and went to sleep.
The first day closed quietly and we all excitedly expect for the next journey tomorrow.
(to be continued…)