The Beauty and Challenge of the Four Mountain Great Passes of Vietnam

The Northwest is known as the area with the highest average altitude above sea level of Vietnam. Due to the rugged mountainous terrain, this area possesses many spectacular passes, of which the most famous are the four great mountain passes including: O Quy Ho, Ma Pi Leng, Khau Pha, and Pha Din. This is also considered as the 4 highest and most dangerous passes in the Northwest in particular and Vietnam in general, challenging any adventurer who wants to conquer it. However, due to possessing special topography along with the air temperature is always in a relatively low state compared to the general level of Vietnam, This area has a very special landscape with majestic high mountains, endless terraced fields, or villages hidden in the valleys of highland ethnic minority communities. Those are the main features that attract visitors to conquer these passes. 

1. O Quy Ho Pass

O Quy Ho Pass is also known as Hoang Lien Pass because it crosses the Hoang Lien Son mountain range (the highest and most majestic mountain range in Vietnam). O Quy Ho Pass is located on National Highway 4D, connecting the two provinces of Lao Cai and Lai Chau. With a length of up to 50 km and located at an altitude of more than 2000m above sea level, O Quy Ho is the pass that holds the record for length in the Northwest and is also likened to the “King of the Pass” in this area. 

This pass passes through many famous tourist sites such as: O Quy Ho Heaven Gate, Silver Waterfall, Rong May Glass Bridge. In addition, in the process of conquering O Quy Ho, you will be able to see many typical terraced fields of the Northwest region on the Sapa side, before heading to the relatively wild mountain landscape at the end of the pass at Lai Chau Site. Besides, this is also a favorite place for adventure lovers with many popular activities such as climbing, trekking, or camping, etc. Therefore, O Quy Ho is a spectacular pass that you shouldn’t miss.

O Quy Ho Pass (Source: Internet)

2. Ma Pi Leng Pass

Ma Pi Leng Pass is located in the territory of two communes Pa Vi and Pa Lung, Meo Vac district, Ha Giang province. With a length of about 20 km and an altitude of up to 1200m above sea level, Ma Pi Leng is a part of the “Happy Road” connecting Dong Van and Meo Vac towns.

The reason is called “Happy Road” because when conquering this road, you will enjoy the feeling of driving winding through the majestic limestone mountains. From the top of the pass, you can zoom out to see the panorama of Dong Van rock plateau – one of the global geoparks recognized by UNESCO, Tu San Alley – Southeast Asia’s deepest gorge, and next to it is the emerald-green Nho Que river winding at the foot of the mountain. In addition, this area is also home to many mountainous ethnic minority communities. Therefore, when coming to Ma Pi Leng, you can not only admire the beauty of the majestic nature but also learn about the culture of the mountainous ethnic minorities here. Therefore, it can be said that Ma Pi Leng is the most attractive pass for international tourists when coming to Vietnam.

Ma Pi Leng Pass (Source: Internet)

3. Khau Pha Pass

Khau Pha Pass is a pass located on Highway 32, on the border between Mu Cang Chai district and Van Chan district, Yen Bai province. This is the most challenging and longest pass on Highway 32 with a length of over 30km. Khau Pha Pass is famous for being always covered with clouds and fog due to its altitude from 1200m – 1500m above sea level. Therefore, in the language of the Thai ethnic group (the majority ethnic minority community in this area) Khau Pha means “horn of the sky” – a horn reaching up to the sky.

When conquering Khau Pha Pass, you will pass through many famous tourist sites, among which the most prominent for visitors is Mu Cang Chai valley, The place is associated with many large and most beautiful terraced fields in Vietnam. In particular, around September and October every year, the “flying over the golden season” festival – an extremely famous skydiving festival is held annually, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to Mu Cang Chai every year. Therefore, this is also a pass worth your consideration to try.

Khau Pha Pass (Source: Internet)

4. Pha Din Pass

Pha Din Pass is located on Highway 6, on the border of Son La and Dien Bien provinces. Pha Din in Thai ethnic language means heaven and earth – so it can be understood that Pha Din pass means the meeting place of heaven and earth. That name also partly describes the spectacularness of this pass. The total length of Pha Din is 32 km and the average altitude is more than 1600 m above sea level.

Therefore, when conquering Pha Din, you will come across many important historical sites associated with the national defense wars of the Vietnamese nation. If you are a nature lover, along with cultural and historical values, Pha Din is an ideal place for you.

Pha Din Pass (Source: Internet)

These are the four great mountains passes of Vietnam that Sakima Travel would like to introduce to you, through the blog Four great mountains passes in Northwest of Vietnam. Sakima Travel hopes this will be useful information for you in your upcoming journey to discover Vietnam. If you want to use the package service including accommodation service, transfer service, and quality local guide. Please contact us for more specific advice.

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