10.10.2022, 09:29

American tourists are “fascinated” by the majestic mountains in the Dong Van rocky plateau

“Conical mountains, towers, pyramids … intertwined in front of our eyes”, the American tourist described the scene on the rocky plateau.

In her next New York Times article, author Jennifer Bleyer describes the colorful experiences that come from the costumes of the Hmong women, as well as the yellow color of the alternating corn beds. in the middle of the rocky plateau.

The surreal scene on the rocky plateau

If when we arrived the night before, Dong Van was extremely quiet, the next morning, this town came to life at dawn. Hmong women with colorful green and pink headscarves descend from the stilt houses, carrying bamboo baskets laden with corn and vegetables to the town market. People are busy buying and selling cigarettes and tea. Farmers lead their buffalo around the market.

American tourists are “fascinated” by the majestic mountains in the Dong Van rocky plateau

Vibrant colors in the costumes of the highlanders (Image: NYT)

We linger inside a centuries-old house that has turned into an Old Quarter Cafe, enjoying a mango smoothie and strong coffee, before heading back to the market to shop for breakfast. We bought packets of sticky rice with black beans wrapped in leaves and tied up pretty; and hot tofu. Another specialty of the H’mong is cornbread with an attractive yellow color.

Dong Van rock plateau (Photo: Vietnamtourism)

Sua, a young White Hmong woman who works at the hotel, planned to take us on a tour. Wearing a traditional hand-woven hemp dress and an indigo blue head scarf, Sua, who does not speak English, informed us of the plan by smiling and typing a Vietnamese phrase on her mobile phone, Translated as: “I will lead you through the beautiful little path”.

For 5 hours, we followed Sua into the hills, drenched in sweat on narrow, steep trails crisscrossed. This is also the daily path of the local people through the hamlets and fields.

The majestic scenery in Dong Van (Photo: Vietnamplus)

This is definitely a worthwhile experience. After going through a steep slope away from the village, immediately before our eyes was a panorama of limestone mountains, creating a scene like giant egg cartons upside down. I must say it was a surreal scene: conical mountains, towers, pyramids…weaving before our eyes.

Corns sprouted among the rocks. The farming of the families here is closely associated with the rocky plateau. Occasionally, flashes of red and green from the vibrant costumes of the H’mong women flicker among the rocks, as they visit the fields.

Colorful costumes of Hmong women at a market in Ha Giang (Photo: NYT)


As we passed a walled house, we heard chanting and gongs. Sua told us that someone had just passed away, and that a shaman was cleaning the house.

The market next to Thang Co pot and a bowl of corn wine

After a visit with Sua, Tuan Anh drove us to the small town of Sa Phin, 16km west of Dong Van.

About 100 years ago, King Meo chose a hill here to build a mansion. The hill’s relatively gentle, shell-like shape is considered auspicious by fortune tellers.

“The fortune-teller said that if he built a house here, he would reign forever,” Tuan Anh said.

However, despite the fortune teller’s prediction, the power of the Royal Family was gone, but the mansion was preserved as a beautiful museum.

The next morning, we set off early for the last leg of our Ha Giang discovery journey: about 20km from Dong Van to Meo Vac town. Construction began in 1959, the road connecting the two towns lies on the side of a large gorge and is not for the “weak of heart”.

Tuan Anh drove his truck slowly as we were drawn into the Nho Que stream, at the bottom of the high canyon. Looking down from above, the river is only as small as a thread of earth. The road up and down, zigzag and soaring. The Hmong and Tay families ride motorbikes behind us, not a bit confused by the tourists who are “fainting” because of dizziness.

Photo: NYT

On the return journey, we pass through Lung Phin, where there is another upland market. Tuan Anh delighted us when he told us about the fair here. Thousands of people from many tribes in the area gather and trade here, from horse saddles, dried mushrooms, sausages, water buffalo, cardamom, plastic shoes and embroidery thread… All are bought and sold with sentences. small talk, beside pots of Thang Co and corn wine.

“Next time you come here, you must definitely go see it,” Tuan Anh said.

We nodded, filled with fantasies of returning one day.