Admiring the Northwest’s legendary “Four Mountain Passes” (Part 1)

Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2017

1. Mã Pì Lèng

Mã Pì Lèng – or Ma Pi Leng Pass - is considered one of the most perilous, yet stunning, passes from the mountainous Leng Pass - is considered as one of the most perilous, yet stunning, passes from the mountainous North. Often, this pass is regarded as The Great Wall of Vietnam or Meo’s Pyramid.

Mã Pí Lèng Pass - Internet

Mã Pì Lèng (sporting different pronunciations like Mã Pí Lèng, Mã Pỉ Lèng) belongs to Hà Giang Province, which covers roughly 20 kilometers over the Mã Pì Lèng Mount– a 1,200-meter high mount from Đồng Văn plateau. It runs along the Road Of Happiness, connecting Hà Giang City, Đồng Văn and Mèo Vạc Town.

The pass is described as a thread hanging between mountains, creating spectacular views of rocky plateau. It was created in 6 years (1959-1965) by thousands of youth volunteers from 8 Northern provinces. The youth were quite courageous as they were frequently forced to hang on the mountain’s edges for months at a time.

The ladder rice field - Internet

Mã Pí Lèng can be directly translated as “the horse’s nasal bridge”, the figurative meaning is concerning the danger of mountain tops as horses often lose their breath when reaching its peak. People who’ve climbed to the top of Mã Pí Lèng to view the greeny Nho Quế river note that they’ve been lost in a fairyland filled with ease and comfort.

2. Ô Quy Hồ

Ô Quy Hồ Pass (also known as Hoàng Liên Pass) is considered an arduous trail that brings a hefty challenge for many backpackers. Laid on the 4D highway that crosses Hoàng Liên Sơn Mount, the pass connects both Lào Cai and Lai Châu provinces with its top, creating a slight boundary in between.

Ô Quy Hồ Pass - Internet

The name “Ô Quy Hồ” originates from the agonized cry of a bird. The pass lies 2,073-metes above sea level and can grow to the length of almost 50 kilometers. It’s the altitude, the ruggedness, and the length of Ô Quy Hồ Pass that gives itself the name “King Of The Northwestern Pass”.


With a deep abyss to one side and sheer cliff on the other, Ô Quy Hồ is a tough challenge to all those that cross it. And yet, while dangerous, the experience can be quite relaxing. When crossing Ô Quy Hồ pass, lingering clouds around mountains bring tourists a feeling that helps them forget the chaos in their lives.


Images source: Internet

(To be continued…)


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