Dong Van Old Quarter – Ha Giang

Dong Van Old Quarter, also called Dong Van Old Town or Dong Van ancient town is nestled in a valley in the heart of the Dong Van district, Ha Giang province in the northeast Vietnam. The ancient town of Dong Van Vietnam has a cluster of houses that line the street that one end leads to the road to Yen Minh Town and the other end takes you to the sublime beauty of Ma Pi Leng Pass and Meo Vac Town. Dong Van ancient town is surrounded by rock mountains with a sheer color of gray all year round.

Dong Van Old Town has a long history where ethnic groups of the Hoa, of the H’mong, Tay and Kinh People have lived together for many years. These Vietnamese ethnic groups share some parts of their traditional culture and retain some others. Probably because of this, the town got its name: Dong Van, meaning sharing culture? Surely, there have been certain changes to the life of the local people now compared to before, but it’s certain that most of their culture has remained as it’s been for hundred years.

The old houses in Dong Van Vietnam were built around 1810-1820 while most were built in the late 19th century, when the French colonialists took control of the area and established the local administration. The houses of Dong Van have 2 storeys with Ying-and-Yang roof tiles and earth-pounded walls. The wall of these houses may be around 30-60cm thick which allows the temperatures inside to stay relatively stable. The wooden structures of these houses are of iron-wood which allow them to withstand the time; or in other words, time coats a weathered feel to these houses that makes the town fit in the fabled landscape of Dong Van Rock Plateau.

Getting to Dong Van Old Quarter

The best way to get to Dong Van Old Quarter from Hanoi is to rent a car with driver. You will be picked up at your place in Hanoi and brought to Ha Giang city. From there, take either Ha Giang local bus or motor-taxi to Dong Van ancient town. Those who are on budget can take a public bus at My Dinh bus station in Hanoi. Hanoi Ha Giang city bus journey takes about 6-8 hours on road. There are both overnight buses and day buses from Hanoi to Ha Giang city.

Booking a guided tour (with a tour guide) is highly recommended, especially when you travel to an off the beaten path destination like Dong Van Vietnam.


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