The old town of Dong Van, in Ha Giang, is a haven of peace where time seems to flow with serenity. It’s impossible to conceal the old-world charm that permeates this place. Come to Ha Giang and discover Dong Van.
There, you will be greeted by traditional dwellings and rows of houses adorned with red lanterns. One might think that Dong Van, in its tranquility and antiquity, invites travelers to immerse themselves in a peaceful world from another time.
Of course, this atmosphere is just one facet of Dong Van’s unique identity. But with the program to discover the old town of Dong Van Ha Giang, it’s certain that you will fall under its charm!
Detail of the old town of Dong Van
Perched between 1,000 and 1,600 meters in altitude, the old town of Dong Van nestles in the heart of Dong Van district, in the mountainous region of Northwest Ha Giang. This old town is encircled by mountains and dense forests, giving it a secret and secluded character. Despite this, the air is refreshingly cool and the time seems to be preserved in its purest essence.
The old quarter of Dong Van was born during the 20th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were only a few Tay, H’Mong, and Chinese households. After that, more and more people from many other ethnic groups such as Nung, Dao, and Kinh came to live here.
Setting foot in the old town of Dong Van, you will be seized by a picture of a strange beauty, both antique and rustic. Currently, the old town of Dong Van consists of about 40 houses nestled at the foot of rocky cliffs, creating a perfect harmony between the dwellings, the surrounding forest, and the inhabitants of Dong Van.
The overall picture of the old town presents a fusion of the yellow hues of the sun with the black and gray colors of the old houses.
And this place has become more broadly developed. But this neighborhood of Dong Van still retains its unique old appearance. Until now, the old town of Dong Van has become more dynamic and lively than ever.
The image of the old town comes in a multitude of varied colors. These hues evolve with time but always keep their ancestral, rustic, and simple charm. As for the old town market, it still retains many tubular houses, an architectural style that resembles that of the old quarter of Hanoi.
Since 2006, the Dong Van district organizes every year, in March, the “Night of the old town” on the 14th, 15th, and 16th days of the lunar calendar. For the occasion, all the households of the old town simultaneously hang red lanterns, illuminating the night and warming the chilly atmosphere of the rocky plateau.
In parallel, various activities are organized, like the exhibition of ethnic brocade, as well as the sale of traditional dishes. These activities attract many tourists and contribute to the dynamization of the economy of the old town of Dong Van.
You will discover two-story houses topped with yin and yang tile roofs. These dwellings display a traditional and distinctive architectural style, and the tiles used are characteristic of this northern border region.
The best period of the year to visit the old town of Dong Van
Dong Van is a destination that you can visit at any time of the year. Indeed, the climate of Ha Giang, and more specifically of Dong Van, is pleasantly cool and airy throughout the year. Winter nights can be a bit colder, offering a delightfully invigorating experience for visitors.
The influx peaks during the festival season, where the number of visitors is larger than ever. While it has been said that you can visit the old town at your leisure, the buckwheat flower season remains a privileged time to discover and explore the old town.
If you plan your trip at the end of the year, not only will you enjoy the fresh air, but you will also have the opportunity to admire buckwheat flowers. Plus, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the bustle of the old town of Dong Van!
If you choose to visit the old town early in the morning, you will be greeted by a picturesque view of the town bathed in the warm colors of the rising sun, all in a surprisingly peaceful atmosphere.
The freshness of the morning air offers a particularly pleasant experience, allowing travelers to relax and rejuvenate. With the arrival of the afternoon, the whole Dong Van neighborhood takes on undeniable gentleness and romance.
The atmosphere of the afternoon is also soothingly tranquil. As night falls, the red lanterns light up, giving the environment of the old town of Dong Van a more intense brightness than ever.
What makes the charm of the old quarter of Dong Van, Ha Giang?
Cafe Pho Co
One of the most renowned and frequented places in the old town of Dong Van that you should absolutely add to your itinerary is the Café Pho Co.
This café, housed in an old house that has been around for several centuries, is a place of rustic and authentic charm. The owner of this café was once a certain Mr. Luong, of the Tay ethnic group.
After spending many years developing and refining his café, it has become famous while retaining its old appearance and impressive beauty.
Dong Van Antique Market
If you’re visiting the old town of Dong Van, it would be unthinkable to miss the old market during your journey through Ha Giang. The old town of Dong Van seduces not only with its mossy houses, it is also a true reflection of the cultural traditions of the highlands.
To unearth these treasures, head to the Dong Van antique market. Seen from above, the organization of the market stalls in a unique U-shape is an architectural particularity that sparks the curiosity of many tourists.
If we dwell on the architecture of the old market, it is recognized as a place of subtle fusion between Vietnamese and Chinese architecture. Erected between 1925 and 1928, the old market of Dong Van has become a striking image among the thousands of high plateaus. During your visit to this historic market, don’t forget to admire these magnificent architectural values!
Beyond its architecture, the most important aspect of Dong Van’s old market lies in the trade and exchange of local ethnic specialties. Moreover, it is also a meeting and interaction place for young men and women in search of a life partner.
That’s why, during your visit, you will catch sight of many women from various ethnic groups dressed in colorful traditional costumes, displaying radiant smiles on their faces. However, this is not the main point. The most important thing when visiting the antique market is to find delicious culinary specialties. In parallel, you will have the opportunity to buy many beautifully designed brocade items.
Exploring these places will make your trip to Ha Giang all the more interesting!