How to get your Ha Giang permit to explore Northern Vietnam.
The mountainous region in Northern Vietnam makes for some of the most spectacular motorbike riding in all of South East Asia.
Home to the region’s second UNESCO Geopark Site, the Dong Van Karst Mountains and the H’Mong ethnic minority people, it is an area that should be high on any traveller’s itinerary who likes to get off the beaten path
. But for the area north of the provincial capital, Ha Giang, there are some conditions that need to be adhered to.
In order to travel past Ha Giang you need to acquire a “Permit To Enter The Border Area”. Even though it sounds authoritative and difficult to obtain, trust us – it’s not!
Most hotels and guesthouses in Ha Giang will help you secure your permit, but they will charge a premium for this. We went straight to the immigration office ourselves and saved a lot of time, hassle and money in doing so!
Here is the best way to get your Ha Giang permit for the north of Vietnam.
The Ha Giang Immigration Office
The Ha Giang Immigration Office is located at 415a, Tran Phu. Heading north, it is just before Nguyen Thai Hoc merges with Tran Phu, across the road from the cinema.
The opening hours are reportedly everyday (Vietnamese holidays excluded) 8am until 8pm, and closed for lunch from 1pm to 1:30pm.
However don’t bet on these times being set in concrete. Best to arrive in the morning or early afternoon and not leave anything too late.
Zoom in on the map to see the exact location of the Ha Giang Immigration Office
How To Get Your Permit In Ha Giang
The process to get your permit in Ha Giang is ridiculously easy. First you walk into the immigration office and approach the window.
If you are a Westerner, the officers will know straight away that you are there to purchase a permit for the North. You need to hand over your original passport.
If you don’t have this with you, give them a photocopy of your picture page and visa of your passport, along with a letter stating that your passport is in Hanoi receiving a visa extension (or any other legitimate excuse as to why you don’t have it with you).
If you have a motorcycle with you, they will need your registration plate number to put on your permit.
They then fill out the permit card for you. The cost for the permit is 210’000 VND, or about US$10. Hand the money over, and they will give you back your passport and your new shiny permit.
Do I Really Need To Get A Permit In Ha Giang?
Chances are you may never be asked to show your permit while travelling around Northern Vietnam.
However some guesthouses and hotels in Dong Van, Meo Vac and other Northern towns will require you to have one in order to allow you to stay, as they need to report to the government any guests they have in their accommodation.
If you are pulled over by the police they will probably ask to see your permit. If you don’t have one they may turn you around, escort you back to Ha Giang, fine you, or worse – confiscate your bike!
The last option is a ‘worst cast scenario” but it’s not worth the risk in our opinion. Pay the $10 and save the hassle!