Northwest of Vietnam is characterized by high mountain ranges which create many long, twisty and dangerous passes. Today, we would like to introduce you the Big Four Passes of the Northwest in Vietnam.
PHA DIN PASS
Pha Din pass (also called Pha Din slope) has a total length of 32km, lies on the National Road No.6 and belongs to Phong Lai commune, Thuan Chau district and Son La province and one part belongs to Toa Tinh commune, Tuan Giao district, Dien Bien province.
The name of the pass is originated from the Thai language. Pha means Sky and Din means Earth, Pha Din means the pass is the place where sky and earth meet each other. There is a story to explain the border between Lai Chau and Son La provinces. 2 horses started running towards each other from the 2 sides of the pass at the same time, but the horse from Lai Chau ran faster than one from Son La; therefore, the pass’ part of Lai Chau was longer than that of Son La.
The highest point of the pass is 1,648m above the sea level. The pass has 8 sharp zigzag bends along the road. One side of the pass is a high cliff, and the other is a deep valley. Many parts of the pass have only enough space for 1 car to go through.
The halfway of the pass is always covered by cloud. At the foot of the pass is green scenery dotted with the bamboo houses of the Thai ethnic minority people. Stand at the steep of the pass which belongs to Dien Bien province and look down, you will see very large and green Muong Quai valley and the first villages of Tuan Giao district. However, when you ride to the top of the pass, you can not see any villages but blue sky and grandiose forests and mountains
O QUY HO PASS
O Quy Ho pass or another names: Hoang Lien Son pass, May pass, lies on the National road No. 4D crossing Hoang Lien Son range and connecting Lai Chau province and Lao Cai province and it is also the border between the 2 provinces. Legend has it that there was a kind of bird with tormenting cry and this bird was related to an unhappy love story since time immemorial. The sound of the bird like O Quy Ho was given to name the wild pass at the height of nearly 2000m.
O Quy Ho pass is the longest pass of Northwest of Vietnam with total length of 50km. The height, dangerousness and the length of the pass make the pass have the title: King of the Northwest pass. The top of the pass lying among the mountains and cloud so it is also called Heaven gate. In the cold winter, the top of O Quy Ho is covered by ice and snow.
With one side is a high cliff, and the other is a deep abyss, O Quy Ho is still a challenge to any riders and drivers.
KHAU PHA PASS
Khau Pha pass is the longest and most dangerous pass lying on National road No.32 with total length of more than 30km. The pass lies near the border of Van Chan district and Mu Cang Chai district of Yen Bai province. Riding on Khau Pha pass, you will visit many famous landmarks such as La Pan Tan, Mu Cang Chai, Tu Le, Che Cu Nha, located at the height of 1,200 to 1,500m above the sea level.
Hmong people consider Khau Pha pass as a very sacred place where they can moan to the Heaven. Therefore, whenever they have misfortune or bad crops, they come here to pray for better things.Because the pass is always covered by fog and the top of the pass juts out from sea of cloud, according to Thai language, Khau Pha means Sky horn. The winding stretches of the pass run through primitive forests and terraced rice fields of the Hmong and Thai peoples.
Khau Pha provides the best view in the harvest season around September and October. It is the time many tourists who love adventure come here to enjoy the beautiful landscape. For the pass has a lot of bends, on the foggy days, the pass becomes very dangerous to all riders because it has no protection barrier or sign. The pass is deteriorated much because it is not repaired regularly, therefore, it is very easy to be eroded and subsided.
MA PI LENG PASS
Riding to Ha Giang, you will agree with us that conquering Ma Pi Leng Pass in Hagiang is extremely hard but absolutely rewarding because you can have a great opportunity to admire the intriguing and majestic scenery which has power to enchant every traveler coming here.
Ma Pi Leng area has recognized as scenic relic of country since November 16th 2009. This epic pass is a dangerous pass which belongs to Ha Giang province. The pass has total length of 20km, a height of approximately 2,000m, and lies on Happiness road which connects Ha Giang, Dong Van and Meo Vac town.
The slopes of the pass are too high that horse can not overcome. The long road of 200km was built by thousands of young men of 16 ethnic groups coming from 8 provinces of the North of Vietnam in 6 years.
Ma Pi Leng means horse nose to express the dangerousness of the pass. The pass was built along the mountainside and it provides spectacular view. Looking down from Ma Pi Leng, there is a winding river named Nho Que which look like a thin yearn crossing ravines.
It will take you about 30 minutes riding by motorbike from Ma Pi Leng to Nho Que river because it is about 12km in length from the pass to the river.
We organize many Vienam Motorbike Tours to these passes so if it belongs to your wishlist, please check out in tour program in sample trips or do not hesitate to ask us for tailor made tour.