Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang Province was recognized in 2010 by UNESCO as a world geological park. The plateau is a true masterpiece of nature where man is small against the vastness of the sky, mountains and clouds.
Your journey begins in Ha Giang. After driving for about 40 km along steep roads, you will reach Dong Van Karst Plateau. At an altitude of 1,600m above sea level, the Plateau covers more than 2,350 square kilometers encompassing Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, and Meo Vac districts.
This natural curiosity of limestone peaks and black granite resulted from a very long geological history and provides evidence of the evolution of the Earth's crust.
Along the 100km road from Quan Ba to Dong Van, you pass Quan Ba heaven gate, Co Tien mountain, the Vuong residence - a national relic site, the Lung Cu flag tower, and Ma Pi Leng Pass which was called a "geological monument" by the French.
The access road is quite rough but the scenery compensates your efforts. Below, the Nho Que River meanders like a silk ribbon around the base of the high cliffs. Ngoc Anh is a tourist from Ha Noi. “It is incredibly amazing! I never imagined that our country had such a wonder", she said.
"It was a blast discovering this UNESCO World Geopark, to wander in the flower meadows and rice terraces and climb Ma Pi Leng Pass and admire the Nho Que River. This is unforgettable! Even though the access road is not yet improved, I was not discouraged”, Anh added.
On this barren land live several ethnic minorities: Mong, Dao, Tay, Nung, Lolo and Pu Peo who fiercely guard their cultural identities to the delight of tourists.
Ma Ngoc Giang, Deputy Head of the Management Board of Dong Van Geological Park, said, “Tourists, especially foreigners, are attracted by the rich and authentic ethnic culture. The traditions and cultures of these ethnic groups are under preservation. Our project aims to preserve stone walls, tiled roofs, clay houses and ethnic costumes”.
If you want to meet ethnic groups in their traditional colorful costumes, it is essential to visit the Dong Van market. It is the meeting place of minorities, where women take the opportunity to do a little "shopping", while men prefer to drink and toast.
If your trip coincides with the third lunar month, don’t miss the annual Khau Vai market. It is here that the ex-lovers meet again after many years of separation, sometimes accompanied by their husbands or wives.
There is no jealousy. On the contrary, the ex-soul mate is quite respected.
French tourist Angier Marcel shared, “The landscape is wonderful. There are beautiful rice fields and not many tourists. It is very beautiful. The setting is authentic with interesting ethnic groups and superb villages. We will come back for sure and advise our friends to visit these places”.
Breathtaking scenery, authentic heritage, untouched beauty, exotic markets and friendly people – they are what Dong Van Karst Plateau can offer.