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Once again: Sapa vs Ha Giang

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Iowa
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292 posts
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Once again: Sapa vs Ha Giang

My Vietnam trip had to be canceled last year, so I am re booking.

I was going to take in Sapa, but I now have doubts. I really don't like being hounded by people. I don't care if they are nice or polite. I just don't want someone jabbering "buy from me?" as I am walking.

I am looking at Ha Giang now specifically the Pan Hou eco lodge.

My plan was a night train to Lao Chai, get to Bac Ha on Sunday, get out to Pan Hou after market. Tour from Pan Hou for 2 nights, then start the driving loop with driver/guide back to Hanoi, stopping along the way to visit other towns.

Questions:

Is the scenery as beautiful in Ha Giang?

Should I base camp at Pan Hou for 2 nights or just keep on the move doing the loop back to Hanoi?

Thanks!

Boston
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1. Re: Once again: Sapa vs Ha Giang

I haven't been to either place. However, there was a great article in the nytimes this past fall that might be worth a read.

…nytimes.com/2010/…31vietnam-ha-giang.html

Iowa
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2. Re: Once again: Sapa vs Ha Giang

Thank you for the link. Now everyone is going to go there :) Nice article.

Iowa
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3. Re: Once again: Sapa vs Ha Giang

I'm going to bump this to see if anyone has been to Ha Giang. I'd love to hear it compared to Sapa.

thank you!

Montreal
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4. Re: Once again: Sapa vs Ha Giang

I also would love to hear of any experiences with Ha Giang and especially any comparison with Sapa. In the New York Times they mention doing this by bus from Hanoi but everything else I read seems to say avoid the bus. Comments?

Thanks in advance.

Gatineau, Canada
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124 posts
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5. Re: Once again: Sapa vs Ha Giang

I've been to both Sapa and Ha Giang. The landscape in Ha Giang is more spectacular and, if you don't like to be hassled by people selling stuffs, then Ha Giang is the place to go. People in HG leave you alone but are super nice if you need something from them. However, because Ha Giang is not yet on the tourist trail, the infrastructure is not as developed as in Sapa. For example, hotels are 1* quality but still have all the basics you need. Also, there's no nightlife at all.

Pennsylvania, USA
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6. Re: Once again: Sapa vs Ha Giang

Absolutely no comparison-- Ha Giang is a substantially better destination because:

- the scenery is more dramatic

- there are hardly any tourists (yet)

- there is more diversity in ethic groups found there; zao and homing like Sapa, but also groups of very small population size like the Lo Lo

- tourists are a novelty rather than a source of income

- the markets have more residents than tourists

I would continue on your drive rather than have a base. As you drive from place to place structure your trip to stop for hikes along the way. Be sure to get to Dong Van and Meo Vac area.

Ha Giang is like the Sapa and Lao Cai area was 15 years ago. Go while you have the chance.

Hanoi
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7. Re: Once again: Sapa vs Ha Giang

Ha Giang is not touristy like Sapa. The landscape in HaGiang is more beautiful and wilder than Sapa. Tour to Ha Giang, you can visit Dong Van, Lung Cu, Meo Vac with villages and markets on Sunday and enjoy the spectacular scenery. I think one night in Pan Hou ecolodge is enough and spend another night in Dong Van to explore this ancient town.

8. Re: Once again: Sapa vs Ha Giang

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