Get an early breakfast in Hà Giang city before hitting the road. As you head north on the QL4C, the landscape quickly transforms into a limestone mountain range, covered with lush jungle. Soon you’ll reach the Dong Van Karst Plateau, a UNESCO Global Geopark. The highlight of this section of the trip is Heaven’s Gate Pass, where you’ll get your first taste of exhilarating views along with challenging, tight curves.
Cruising down from Heaven’s Gate Pass, you’ll arrive in Tam Sơn — a town surrounded by jutting, forested hills — just in time for lunch. Here the restaurants and road stalls serve classic Northern Vietnamese fare. And like anywhere else in the country, a great Vietnamese coffee is not hard to find.
Once you’re refuelled, continue on the QL4C towards Yên Minh. The road follows the beautiful Mien River before climbing through a tall canyon. Cruise though karst plateaus and mountain passes before arriving at Yên Minh, where you can settle in at a local hotel for the evening.
TIP: It’s best to reserve your hotel or homestay ahead of time when staying in smaller towns: the best accommodations fill up quickly, especially during high season.