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Dong Van is a rocky plateau in northern Ha Giang province with range of Limestone Mountains and hills creating a stone landscape.

146km from Ha Giang town is Dong Van which spans a total natural area of 44.6 square kilometers with 9 communes is on the Chinese border. This region has a total population of more 57, 000 with 17 ethnic groups including the Mong, Tay , Nung, Han, Ray, Lo Lo and so forth. In the winter, the temperature drops to 1­0c but in the summer when it is at its hottest, temperatures reach about 240c. It rains all the year round and misses in the blink of an eye. Dong Van occupies a complicated geological position and the environment is the result on the weather, the high mountain pass and abyss. This destination provides a spectacular landscape with high peaks and is the perfect destination for those who like to travel to an unknown region.

The Van Chai Primeval forest zone has ancient trees, creepers that have wrapped round the landscape for thousands of years. Forest roads lead up to mountain peaks and from there one can look down on the valley and green forests below. Crossing the Chi Khoanh pat one comes to Pho Bang town located in the middle of an immense rocky region, where there is the Ta Pha border gate and Nguyet cave. Xa Phin commune is the site of the Nha Vuong vestige area. And on the Dragon peak the Lung Cu, dragon Column is a sign of Vietnam’s sovereignty. Dong Van – Meo Vac plateau is home to rocks and nature. At sunset, the forest of rocks and the plateau loom up in strange and interesting shapes created by the talented artists of the rain, sun and time. Nho Que River meanders and follows the cliff and deep valley rising out the cloud and mist which gives an illusory feel to the landscape.

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Dong Van town is very steep with an average height of 1000 – 1600m above sea level. People live by the tilling the mountain fields and trading.

The whole life of this region is associated with rock, and a basic existence. Surrounded by abrupt rocky cliffs, the ancient Dong Van old street is deep and arcs for many kilometers. Along this street are about 40 houses they are about 100 years old as well as some 200 year old houses existing from about 1810 to 1820. Looking from up high the two sides of the market form U shape as the two old streets lead to the foot of the mountain. This is Quyet Tien village with many houses built by workers from Sichuan and this is regarded as part of an old street with specific old Vietnamese/Chinese architecture. Typical architecture here is included 2 storey houses with wall made of soil and roofs covered by double tiles. Dong Van market area has many old tube houses.

Dong Van celebrates the Night festival on the 14th, 15th and 16th days in the lunar month. Red and multi – colored decorations hang on the front door of each house. Warm fire for cooking are in the corners of markets. Cooking a pot of “thang co” and H’ Mong young man takes along ladle to stir the bones, beef and cow entrails in a pan. Cake is baked form rice flour. Hot screamed glutinous rice is placed on a low table. The Mong,Tay, Nung , Kinh people intermingle to as they trade and it’s hard to distinguish between the groups.

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Differing from other tourists destinations, tourists are attracted to Dong Van Old Street by its original and simple features. Beauty is based on the natural landscape; newness is based on traditional habits and customs.

Coming to Dong Van means visiting an old street, old cultural activities and old materials. It is an imposing grandiose landscape that captures the immigration.

This article is written by lan nguyen from Vacation to Vietnam

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