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Local bus between Bac Ha, Ha Giang and National park of Ba Be

Posted by vuh on 1/7/2007 at 18:58


Did anybody take a local bus or any other transportation way to go from Bac Ha to Ha Giang and from Ha Giang to National park of Ba Be ? Or the only way is to go back to Hanoi and go to each place ?
The lonely planet guide seems to say that unless you have a 4WD or you are a very good motobike driver, it is not possible to go from one town to an other.

Thank you for sharing your tip

#1 vuh has been a member since 1/5/2007. Posts: 24

Posted by CatBa on 2/7/2007 at 04:55

Posted from within Vietnam.

Why believe LP? Outdated, inaccurate info.

Frommers has a better one.

You can, with patience and getting up early, travel using local buses - these are buses used primarily by VN people.

Take the rail to Lao Cai and then a local bus to Bac Ha (make sure your room is not near a public loudspeaker) then a bus to Ha Giang which might involve a little bit of back tracking.

NOTE: TRAVEL AROUND HA GIANG OCCASIONALLY NEEDS POLICE PERMITS. They mean business - no permit means house detention and 'deportation' out of the province bot don't get too excited.

You can usefully use a motorcycle ride between Bac Ha and Ha Giang for convenience - just make sure the driver knows you want to travel at a reasonable speed and arrange a signal to stop. The opportunities for getting unique pictures are great so don't bury your camera.

You will need a permit when home-staying in Ba Be.

Don't forget your Sufella (cream), Ramos (spray) (readily available in stores in VietNam) or Deet based repellent.

Ba Be to Ha Noi is a breeze using local transport.

Check the Thorntree on the LP site (the FAQ I seem to remember) where there is more info on travelling in Ha Giang and other border provinces.

Take scented soap with you to gift to the senior female when you homestay and if they really give you a good time tuck about VND50,000 into your bedding (NOT as gift handed to them). They will appreciate the thought.

#2 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349

Posted by vuh on 2/7/2007 at 17:38

Hello Cat Ba,

Thank you for your advice. I have more questions:
1. Do you know where I could obtain the police permits to travel around Ha Giang? Do I have to obtain in Hanoi beforehands or directly in the town of Ha Giang? How much does it cost

2. Do you know if there is a local bus from Ha Giang to Ba Be ? I guess if there is one, it must go through Cao Bang first?
The home staying permit in Ba Be can be obtained at the national park reception?

Thank you very much in advance

#3 vuh has been a member since 1/5/2007. Posts: 24

Posted by CatBa on 2/7/2007 at 23:40

Posted from within Vietnam.

(1) All permits are obtained from the local police station - they enter all the information on the national Internal Police computer as well as giving you a piece of paper.

The cost depends on length, intent and your status (I am permanent resident status) so I can't help you there. The key is to ask about permits. Before you leave Ha Noi have some hotel person write, in Vietnamese, DO I REQUIRE ANY PERMITS.

Any hassles will be offset by the wondrous views you will see (and hopefully photograph) which is why you should consider using a motorcycle - making sure the driver has washed!

2. Local buses are point to point between major towns where they simply turnabout and leave you to catch another bus - usually early the next day. These buses are 'private' and therefore they will charge what they can get away with. Try to check with locals about what they pay for these journeys.

Space is often tight so you might want to buy two seats so you can 'expand'. Often baggage is put on the roof rack (as are motorcycles) and you should take a LOCKING CHAIN to SECURE YOUR BAGGAGE TO THE RACK RAILING as well as some ROPE with which to TIE YOUR BAGGAGE DOWN. See if you can't bring or obtain in VietNam large plastic garbage bags to cover your baggage with.

Try to get seated towards the front, next to a window that opens, so when the smokers start up ... and in case some fellow passenger has forgotten what washing is all about.

(3) Ba Be comprises three lakes. It was formerly a French garrison area where the Squaddies lived under canvas and the officers, naturally, stayed in great style in a 'auberge' which remains today and is operated as a hotel.

You will get your permit from the park entrance, it is simply a method of tracking you as is done every night by each hotel you stay at. You will be required to show the permit and likely your passport / visa to some part time police character who is usually dressed in civilian clothes.

Travel safe.

#4 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349

Posted by vuh on 10/7/2007 at 19:25

Posted from within Vietnam.

Dear CatBa,

Thanks so much for your detailed information. I really like this website.

As soon as I'll be back, I'll report my trip, then, it would be useful for other fellow travellers.

Cam on nhieu

#5 vuh has been a member since 1/5/2007. Posts: 24

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