Experience the Authentic Culture of Ha Giang in Dong Van Ancient Town

July 18, 2020 6 mins to read

Dong Van Ancient Town, nestled in Dong Van District, Ha Giang, boasts a history stretching back hundreds of years. This place has thrived thanks to the migration of Nung and Dao ethnic groups who settled here. Today, it has become a uniquely fascinating destination for travelers exploring Ha Giang.

1. Dong Van Ancient Town – Overview & Tips

1.1 Introduction to Dong Van Ancient Town

Dong Van Ancient Town sits at an elevation of 1,000 – 1,600 meters in Dong Van District, Ha Giang. It remains hidden, surrounded by lush mountains on all sides. Consequently, the air here is incredibly fresh and cool. In winter, it can get quite chilly and cold! At the dawn of the 20th century, this area was home to Tày, Mông, and Hoa families. Over time, it became livelier and more bustling due to the migration of Nung and Dao ethnic groups. Despite Ha Giang’s development and changes to boost tourism, this area retains its ancient, simple, and impressive charm. Many young travelers choose Dong Van Ancient Town as a must-visit spot during their Ha Giang trip, seeking tranquility amidst the bustling life. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Dong Van Ancient Town is a remarkable highlight amidst this rugged mountainous landscape.

1.2 How to Get to Dong Van Ancient Town?

To reach Dong Van Ancient Town from Hanoi, you must first get to Ha Giang. Numerous Hanoi – Ha Giang or vice versa bus routes run from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM, providing you with ample choices for departure times. This option is safe and less exhausting, allowing you to conserve energy for exploring Ha Giang freely. Most buses depart from My Dinh Bus Station.

Apart from buses, nowadays, many young travelers prefer to conquer the journey to Ha Giang from Hanoi on their own, opting for motorcycles and traveling in large groups. However, since the trip is quite long, it’s a bold move if you have previous experience with long-distance rides. Otherwise, taking the bus is still the most sensible option.

After arriving in Ha Giang, you must travel another nearly 100km to reach Dong Van Ancient Town. The road is difficult due to the mountain passes with rocky cliffs. Hence, if you’re traveling by motorcycle, it’s advisable to time your arrival and avoid traveling at night to ensure safety for yourself and others.

1.3 Ideal Time to Check-In at Dong Van Ancient Town

Dong Van Ancient Town attracts thousands of visitors year-round, especially during major festivals. You don’t need a specific itinerary to visit Dong Van because its poetic beauty is preserved throughout the year. However, the most beautiful time to visit Ha Giang is during the ripe rice season in September, the blooming season of buckwheat flowers, or during the Khau Vai love market festival around March or April, according to the lunar calendar. Therefore, you can consider visiting Ha Giang at the appropriate time and combine it with a visit to Dong Van Ancient Town!

2. Dong Van Ancient Town – Where Time Seems to Stand Still in the Old Days

2.1 Explore the Old Corners of Ancient Houses

Dong Van Ancient Town in Ha Giang still preserves around 40 old houses nestled closely together beneath the rocky cliffs. The picturesque space of the ancient town is imbued with the solemn hues of time, blending with the golden sunlight and the gray-black moss-covered old houses. The dominant architectural style here is the tube house, with two floors and roofs oriented to harmonize with the yin and yang directions – this is also the typical tile type in the northern border region. Moreover, if you explore Dong Van Ancient Town, you’ll notice many houses adorned with additional red lanterns to enhance the ambiance.

The remarkable thing about this ancient town is its unique, delicate, and different beauty at different times of the day. In the morning, the ancient village is gently beautiful, with the sunlight coloring the serene and magical space, imbued with fresh and comfortable mountain air. In the evening, as the sunset fades, the place becomes gently beautiful and romantic under the twilight, with a touch of melancholy. Nighttime is when Dong Van Ancient Town shines the brightest, thanks to the prominent red lanterns illuminating the entire courtyard.

2.2 Experience the Distinctive Northeastern Cuisine

Northeastern cuisine has long been renowned not only in northern regions but also in the south. Therefore, if you can visit Dong Van Ancient Town in Hà Giang, don’t forget to experience this culinary tradition! Roadside eateries offer a variety of Hà Giang specialties for you to taste or buy as gifts for friends and family. Especially on weekends or during festivals, you’ll find additional unique and delicious dishes such as corn wine, thắng cố (a traditional dish made from horse meat), Dong Van steamed rolls, ấu tẩu porridge, colorful sticky rice, Bac Me bamboo-cooked rice, and buffalo meat cooked in the hearth… All of these will surely provide you with various delightful culinary experiences!

2.3 Visit Dong Van Market

When you come to Dong Van Ancient Town to experience its culture, besides the moss-covered houses, you should also visit the famous Dong Van traditional market. Viewed from above, the market resembles a U-shape, conveniently arranged for trading and gatherings. This area is where the main ethnic specialties of Dong Van District are traded and exchanged.

Moreover, it’s a place for meetings, making friends, and forging relationships for young men and women in the town. This market exudes a sense of intimacy and familiarity; people come here to sell fruits, produce, handmade items they grow or make, and countless other items.

During market days, you’ll see girls dressed in colorful traditional outfits, smiling brightly to welcome tourists. You can also conveniently find beautiful outfits at this market without searching too far and wide. Isn’t that extremely convenient?

Dong Van Ancient Town in Ha Giang is an exciting destination with many romantic and poetic spots. Whether traveling with a partner, friends, or family, you will find joy in Dong Van. Though not glamorous and modern, it exudes a peaceful, simple, and intimate charm that Vietnampeace.com is sure many of you are seeking in this busy world of work. So, if you get the chance to visit Ha Giang, take the time to visit Dong Van Ancient Town at least once!

Lên Hà Giang thăm phố cổ Đồng Văn

Houses with many traditional cultures of ethnic minorities (Photo: collectibles)

Những cây đèn lồng trên phố cổ Đồng Văn (Ảnh: sưu tầm)

Lanterns on Dong Van Old Town (Photo: collectibles)

Dong Van Market festival season (Photo: collectibles)

Boys and girls hand in hand by the sound of grace exchange (Image: collectibles)

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