Tam Son is the capital of Quan Ba District in Ha Giang Province.
- Tam Son – Such an inconspicuous small town on the map. But it certainly offers an interesting spectacle for tourists and travelers with several interesting places in the area and a colorful Sunday ethnic market. The town of Tam Son (Tam Sơn) is located in Quan Ba district, part of Ha Giang province, about 50 km from Ha Giang city and about 340 km from Hanoi. Thus, in a district that is part of the fascinating Dong Van Geopark and also part of the popular Ha Giang motorbike loop running through Ha Giang province. If you go on this circuit through Ha Giang province, you practically can’t miss this town and that’s not a bad thing at all, the whole area is charming and authentic.
- Tam Son town is also called as Tam Son Valley or Quan Ba Valley on various websites, however Quan Ba is a district and Tam Son is a town. But on the whole I don’t think it matters, just Tam Son – Quan Ba. It’s also part of the fascinating Quan Ba mountain pass, which will offer fabulous views of the distant surroundings. Not only that, of course, it’s an area where various ethnic minorities live, and further away from the city there are also villages where ethnic people still maintain their customs and traditions.
If you’re looking for more authentic places, definitely stay here for a while.
- Tam Son town and its valley is a classic vietnamese agricultural area. A little further above the town you’ll see the markings of a place like Quan Ba – Heaven Gate, and with its view and places to visit like Lung Khuy Cave (definitely visit, maybe on a motorbike), Tam Son Valley and its Co Tien twin mountain (looking like a woman’s breasts, also called Fairy Mountain or Doi Mountain) and Nam Dam village with various authentic homestays as well as a small museum of ethnic minorities and nice nature around.
- Co Tien twin mountain is also connected with a historical legend, when a man from the Hmong ethnic group used to play a musical instrument and bewitched a fairy from heaven, who came down to him and married him. But she had to go back to heaven, and because of the child they had together, she left her breasts here to feed the child with her milk. Her tears then turned into the Mien river. The milk from her breasts is said to give the place a specific cool climate. Well, that’s roughly how this legend is told in a very small way. The Fairy Mountain in Tam Son town lies just off the road and you can’t miss it, it really is a landmark.
▶ Lung Khuy Cave – beautiful cave in the mountains
▶ Tam Son valley (it is called also like Quan Ba valley)
▶ Co Tien twin mountain (Fairy Mountain or Doi Mountain)
▶ Nam Dam village – homestay with Dao people + waterfall
Ethnic market in the town of Tam Son – definitely visit especially on Sunday.
- In northern Vietnam, large Sunday ethnic markets are held in various cities. The Sunday markets are always the most interesting because they are the ones where a large number of different ethnic groups and minorities gather, even from far away. Quan Ba district and Tam Son town is an area of several ethnic groups such as the Dao, Hmong and Tay, and it is always guaranteed that the Sunday market in Tam Son town will be very colourful and very lively. And there is a lot of stuff being sold here, from various raw materials, food, handmade goods, textiles, jewelry, electronics to animals like dogs, ducks, chickens, buffalo…
- It is also an opportunity where you can taste some freshly made interesting dishes. It’s just a great experience. It’s also worth adding that some of the ethnic markets in Vietnam are also slowly changing. During the week, they are actually kind of markets where they sell different goods and different copies and trinkets from China as well, for example in Tam Son town. So except for Sundays, it may not be as interesting as on the aforementioned Sunday where crowds of ethnic people come and even from minorities.
Lung Tam village – a chance to see the traditional process of brocade weaving.
- If you stay in Tam Son, you should definitely take a short trip to Lung Tam (Lùng Tám) village by motorbike. On maps, this place is marked as Lung Tam Linen Cooperative. This small village in a very nice valley surrounded by mountains is a unique opportunity to see the traditional process and production of various textiles of the Hmong ethnic group. It used to be a very small village, nothing special compared to others. However, with the passage of time and the development of tourism, it has become one of the destinations of tourists who pass through Quan Ba district and stop here. There is also a nice shop in the village where various products and fabrics can be purchased.
- The special feature of the linen products in Lung Tam village is that all the products are made from natural medicines, flowers, plants, etc. Therefore, the colours are fresh, very colourful and last for a long time. In addition, they are also healthy in terms of wear and tear, resistant to mildew and also environmentally friendly. The traditional craft of fabric making is handed down from generation to generation in the village.
- If you are lucky, sometimes there is also a small outdoor market with these fabric products and you will also see traditional looms. If you want to learn about the meaning of the symbols you will see on some of the textiles check out Hmong Embroidery. The village of Lung Tam is located about 12 km from Tam Son town and is easily reached by scooter / motorbike or private transfer. A visit can only be recommended.
How to get from Hanoi or Ha Giang to Tam Son / Quan Ba?
- You can travel from Hanoi to Tam Son town by bus, minivan, motorbike through Ha Giang city. Tam Son town is approximately 50 km from Ha Giang city and is crossed by the main QL4C road. There is no airport or railway in Ha Giang province. There are some local buses from Ha Giang to Dong Van town in the far north, and you can use this bus to get off in this town. If you are experienced motorbike drivers, I recommend you to go by motorbike.
What is the best time to visit Tam Son (Quan Ba) in Ha Giang?
- The best time to visit Tam Son city in Quan Ba district – Ha Giang province is the dry season. The same applies to the whole of the mountainous province of Ha Giang. The recommended months to visit Tam Son town in Quan Ba are September – October or the spring months of March or April. In these months there can be a good visibility in the countryside and here in this beautiful geopark it is very suitable. There can be fog in winter and more rain in summer, which can cause landslides on roads throughout the province and travel can be very difficult, especially if you are traveling on a motorbike. You should also bring warmer waterproof clothing for the trip.
Where to stay in Tam Son town (Quan Ba)?
- Tam Son is the capital of Quan Ba District, so it is best to look for accommodation here. There are mostly cheaper guesthouses in the city and authentic homestays of ethnic minorities in the surrounding area, for example in Nam Dam village, just outside the city. In the village of Nam Dam it is mainly the Dao ethnic group. The homestay usually includes meals made from local ingredients, which is also definitely worth a try. Prices here are of course mostly low compared to tourist places. The most expensive but very stylish is the Hmong Village Resort with a swimming pool, but this resort is located about 7 km from town.
Some tips for accommodation in Tam Son:
FAQ + Travel Tips – Tam Son town / Quan Ba in Ha Giang:
Where is the town of Tam Son (Tam Son Valley / Quan Ba)?
- Tam Son town is located in Quan Ba district, which is part of Ha Giang province in northern Vietnam. The travel distance from Hanoi to Tam Son is about 340 km and from Ha Giang city about 50 km. Tam Son city and the whole Quan Ba district is part of Dong Van geopark.
What makes the town of Tam Son (Quan Ba) interesting?
- Tam Son Town is the gateway to the so-called „Quan Ba Heaven Gate„, the scenic area of Dong Van Geopark. Near the town, there is a twin mountain known as „Fairy Mountain“ or „Co Tien Mountain“, visually depicting women’s breasts. Approximately 6 km away from the town, there is also the beautiful Lung Khuy Cave and 12 km away from the town, Lung Tam village famous for its traditional way of making fabrics and textiles.
Is Tam Son town and Quan Ba District important for travellers?
- Theoretically yes, as it is on the route of the famous motorbike loop through Ha Giang province. Specifically on the main road QL4C. It’s also a good place for shorter stops, visiting ethnic minorities and exploring the beautiful surroundings.
How to get to Tam Son town (Quan Ba)?
- The only options are buses, minivans, private transfers or motorbikes. For the more experienced motorbike drivers I would recommend a motorbike. There are also some local buses running between Ha Giang and Dong Van town in the north, the timetable is a little limited. Between Ha Giang and Dong Van is just the town of Tam Son.
- From Hanoi to Tam Son – the best option is of course the bus + motorbike via the city of Ha Giang.
- From Ha Giang to Tam Son – local bus, minibus, minivan or travel with a motorbike.
What is the best time to visit Tam Son / Quan Ba?
- The best time for Ha Giang province and Tam Son city in Quan Ba district is the dry season. In the summer months, there is a risk of rain and landslides on the roads, it is a high mountain area and the weather also changes rapidly. In winter it can be very cold. Suitable months are September, October or March, April.
Where to rent a motorbike / scooter in Tam Son?
- If you come here by bus, ask for a motorbike where you will be staying, at the hotel / homestay.
Where to eat in Tam Son town?
- The same applies as in other cities in northern Vietnam. There are various restaurants and cafes in the city centre and a local market. Some ethnic minority homestays offer meals in the form of local ingredients.
When is the main Sunday ethnic market in Tam Son?
- Tam Son town also has its market. Market is open all week, but the biggest and most colourful one, where you can see different ethnic people, is always held on Sundays. This is the best time to visit this market.
Where to stay in Tam Son / Quan Ba?
- You can try homestay with ethnic residents. For example, in the village of Nam Dam, which is right next to the city, there is beautiful nature in the area. You can try for example Hong Thu Homestay. If you’re looking for something much more comfortable and stylish then H’mong Village Resort, about 7 km from Tam Son.
Where you can travel from Tam Son / Quan Ba?
- Certainly to the far north through the town of Yen Minh to, for example, the town of Dong Van and the beautiful Ma Pi Leng Pass. There are the most beautiful mountain areas of northern Vietnam. All these beautiful mountain places are part of the Dong Van Karst Geopark.
Route map from Hanoi to Tam Son town via Ha Giang:
(Tam Son town in Quan Ba district is located about 340 km from Hanoi if you go through Ha Giang city)