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Vietnam forum

Ha Giang province - restricted areas?

Posted by UsTwo on 16/2/2012 at 03:38

I'm planning a bike trip from Ha Noi to Mai Chau, Dien Bien, Sa Pa, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Ba Be NP, Cao Bang, Lang Son, Cam Pha, Ha Long, Ha Noi.

My problem is with the Ha Giang to Cao Bang section.
I want to travel due north from Ha Giang, through Tam Son, Yen Minh, Meo Vac, Bao Lac, Ba Be NP, and on to Cao Bang. There are several places of interest close to the China border, but it seems some of them are restricted by the police at Ha Giang. I can't find any definitive information, and was hoping some one may have done such a trip before.

Any advice or information I can get would be MOST appreciated.

#1 UsTwo has been a member since 22/4/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 72
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Posted by tvo314 on 16/2/2012 at 05:01

Posted from within Vietnam.

I rode through Ha Giang, up to Dong Von and Meo Vac last year, and will do it again in April. It is important to get the permit at Ha Giang City. It used to be that you needed a tour guide, but this was not the case when I did it. And I've had about five other friends who have gone and they didn't need a guide either. But I know that if you fail to get the permit, there's a good chance that the hotels won't register you. Anyway, get the permit at the Immigration office that's next to the Tourist office. I think I got the address from a lonely planet, otherwise someone in town should be able to point you in the right direction. It should only be around $10, but some lady tried charging me a total of $50 for the service. This is not needed at all, as the process was really simple. Just need your passport. Hope this helped. That area is absolutely stunning. My favorite region in Vietnam.
Safe Travels,

#2 tvo314 has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 1

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Posted by UsTwo on 16/2/2012 at 06:04

thanks, Tyler.
What I was hoping for. You've made my day!

#3 UsTwo has been a member since 22/4/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 72
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Posted by Suturn on 19/8/2013 at 19:59

Posted from within Vietnam.

At Dong Van the hotels will get the permit for you at the local police station, for an extra fee.

#4 Suturn has been a member since 14/4/2012. Location: Italy. Posts: 28
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Posted by Want2BHappy on 20/8/2013 at 02:02

Yes, just get the permit in Dong Van or Yen Minh if you stop there. Police will take no interest in you at all, but the permit is needed to stay in hotels, so if you need one, they will get it for you if you haven't got it yourself. There are plenty of places where you could ride right up to the border and stray into China if you were so minded, but the border is usually marked, so it would be hard to cross over accidentally.

Scenery is stunning so don't rush. Plenty of exploring to be done off the main roads, which are generally not bad, although there is a lot of road improvement and repair going on.

Don't try to go on highway 279 north of Ba Be.

#5 Want2BHappy has been a member since 23/2/2013. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 81
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Posted by erohisms on 1/9/2013 at 06:15

Hey guys - we did the loop from Ha Giang in June and even though we overnighted in Meo Vac, we ended up doing it without a permit.

What happened is the hotel we were going to stay in was full, so we crossed the street to a "homestay." She took our passports when we checked in and I assumed she'd go and buy the permit for us and charge us the next morning. But the next morning, there was no extra charge and no permit.

I wouldn't try this if you're staying multiple nights, but for one night, it worked out. Here's our trip report if you're interested:

#6 erohisms has been a member since 17/3/2013. Posts: 10

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