How to do the Ha Giang Loop: Self-Drive, Easy Riders, Tours, Car

In this article, we go over the ways to do the Ha Giang Loop by driving it yourself, hopping on the back of an Easy Rider's bike, joining organized self-drive tours or even with a car.
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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Croatian-Slovenian full-time travel duo, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists for over 4 years. We write in-depth travel guides about destinations we have personally visited, providing practical travel tips and recommendations.

How to do the Ha Giang Loop - Easy riders, tours, self-drive

About doing the Ha Giang Loop

We were on the Ha Giang Loop with a Honda XR150 for 8 days and have done over 800 kilometers (you usually do much less). And we’ve driven on all kinds of roads (some perfect, some not so perfect) in all kinds of conditions.

Shipped Away on the Ha Giang Loop with QT Motorbikes
Ha Giang is our favorite place in Vietnam, right after Ban Gioc Waterfall.

The scenery of Ha Giang is fascinating, and everyone wants to see it, BUT you have to know how to see it safely.

In this article, we review the different ways you can experience the loop, depending on your skill level, budget, and available options.

And if you want to know all about the Ha Giang Loop and the things you can see and do there, check out our big, extensive article:

Ha Giang Loop – In-depth Guide to a Road Trip of a Lifetime.

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Easy Rider around the loop

One of the safest and most reliable ways to do the Ha Giang Loop is with an easy rider.

Easy Rider is when you hop on the back of the motorbike of a skilled local driver that will also be your guide for the Ha Giang Loop.

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Arijana Tkalčec at Skywalk in Meo Vac

These are the guys and girls you can trust 100% to take you around the glorious mountains and roads of the Ha Giang loop comfortably.

Check out the most recommended Easy Rider tours:

Our recommendation for the company to take you around the Ha Giang Loop is QT Motorbikes, as they have been successfully operating these tours for many years, have lots of experience, and hire fun local drivers.

Since publishing our big Ha Giang Loop guide a few years back, we have sent many travelers on the loop with them, and they all had a great time.

QT Motorbikes rental company in Ha Giang
Figuring out the best route at QT.

View of the Tu San Canyon

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Self-driving the Ha Giang Loop

Self-driving is, of course, the most popular way to do the Ha Giang Loop and the coolest experience you can have in Vietnam.

We rented and self-drove the Ha Giang Loop with a well-maintained Honda XR150 bike, and we still regard it as our top Vietnam experience.

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Did you know?

We explored Vietnam for more than 1 year and a half
and wrote 34 and counting detailed articles.

Did you know?
We explored Vietnam for more than 1 year and a half and wrote 34 and counting detailed articles.

There are different ways to go about self-driving the Ha Giang Loop, such as renting a bike and doing it yourself or renting a bike and having a guide with you on another bike.

1. Renting a bike and going yourself

The most straightforward way of self-driving the Ha Giang Loop is to rent a motorbike from one of the reputable motorbike rental shops in Ha Giang City.

Top Ha Giang Loop motorbike rental shops:

Giang Son’s bikes can also be booked online in advance.

Shipped Away on the Ha Giang Loop

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2. Renting a bike and having a guide with you

Along with renting a motorbike and heading out on the road yourself, you can hire a guide or join a group of travelers on an organized self-drive trip.

Which bike to choose for the Ha Giang loop?

One of the most important decisions for your Ha Giang Loop is choosing the bike. 

The roads of Ha Giang are mostly well-maintained, unlike some 10 years ago before it became a somewhat popular tourist destination.

But you need to know that the roads cross over big mountains and that landslides are a common occurrence. So when that happens, some roads can be temporarily blocked and inaccessible.

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What awaits you on the loop are many sharp bends, turns, and high mountain passes. 

Curvy roads of Ha Giang

All this is mostly fine until you add dew (wetness) in the morning/evening or rain on one of the rainy days, of which you never know how many will be. And with those conditions, it becomes much more dangerous than it usually is.

The most important action, or rather inaction, is knowing when to brake or not brake, as you can easily also overbrake and slide off the road. We had a few situations where we almost slid, and we’re so thankful for the bike we had (manual).

Dirt bike – Skilled riders

We chose the Honda XR 150cc, which ended up being a great choice as it was very comfortable for both of us, even with a big bag strapped behind.

These bikes are great for regular roads, as well as bumpy roads and even a bit offroad. Because of that, we could choose a bit different route at some parts of the loop.

PROSCONS
great for offroad and bumpy roadsbig
comfortableharder to drive as it’s a manual
powerfulno storage space under seat
big tires – much safer, lots of grip

Semi-automatic – Recommended

Semi-automatic bikes are the perfect option for doing the Ha Giang Loop for everyone.

You can change gears to conquer hills a bit easier, but it also stays in gear by itself when you stop. This helps a lot when you have to stop in the middle of a hill.

Having a semi-automatic bike also means you won’t have to use the brake as much compared to a fully automatic one. This helps in wet conditions, so you don’t overbrake and slip.

Additionally, you won’t get to the point of your brakes overheating and failing (this happened to us in Bali, and it is terrifying when you are midway down a steep slope).

Automatic – NOT RECOMMENDED

Riding an automatic bike in Ha Giang is not recommended as it’s unsafe and dangerous. And only the locals (not many) do it.

It’s very likely that the rental companies won’t even want to rent you one (or at least we hope so).

Arijana Tkalčec on a boat ride in Meo Vac

Ha Giang Loop with a car

The safest and most comfortable option for seeing the fascinating landscape of Ha Giang is to do it with a driver in a car. 

While it’s not the “classical” way, it’s definitely something we’d recommend to families or simply those not comfortable riding a motorbike themselves and neither as passengers. 

And hiring a private car is also the best way to do the Ha Giang Loop as a family with children.

How to get to Ha Giang

The best way to get to Ha Giang for doing the Ha Giang Loop is with a comfortable van or sleeper bus from Hanoi.

All the Ha Giang Loop tour agencies can organize transport from Hanoi to Ha Giang, but you can also book it yourself.

You can get a bus ticket directly at the My Dinh Station in Hanoi or tour offices across the city, but we highly recommend booking your transport from Hanoi online.

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And you can also very easily get to Ha Giang from Sa Pa:
> VIP Sa Pa to Ha Giang bus (about 18 USD)

Valleys of Ha Giang

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Crucial Ha Giang Loop travel advice

In 2022 and 2023, there were far too many motorbike accidents (including deaths) by tourists on the Ha Giang Loop.

Ha Giang is NOT the place to learn how to drive a motorbike.

We urge everyone reading this to consider driving the Ha Giang Loop by yourself only if you have driven a motorbike before and know how to react fast when you suddenly have to brake, speed up, or avoid an obstacle.

Meo Vac viewpoint in the clouds, Ha Giang
Slippery conditions on the road between Meo Vac and Dong Van.

While the roads on the Ha Giang Loop are mostly fine, in the end, the people, primarily tourists with no prior experience, make it dangerous.

Have fun, and stay safe! 👋

And don’t forget to read our full Ha Giang Loop guide.


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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Full-time travelers, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists.

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We're Arijana and Matej, a couple and travel blogging duo from Croatia and Slovenia who thrive while slow-traveling. And we have been doing it for over 4 years.

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3 Responses

  1. Hi, thanks for this amazing guide! I was wondering if you are aware of the process to apply for a temporary drivers license for Vietnam? Can you apply for it in advance?

    1. Hi,

      A Vietnamese temporary driver’s license is usually only reserved for those staying long-term in Vietnam on non-tourist visas. So something like a work visa for longer than 3 months.

      As a tourist, you need a valid driver’s license from your own country for the bike you intend to ride, as well as an accompanying IDP (International Driving Permit).

      Hopefully, this helps!

  2. Hi, you said that it was possible to do the loop on our own just by renting motorbikes, which would be the best option, are there any requirements for these or do we just take the scooters and do the loop? For example I know that there are a lot of police controls. Do they care if we have no guide or no license? Otherwise we need to have a guide if we don’t have the drivers license?

    Thank you very much

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