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Vietnam is a country that has been blessed for its heritage of beautiful nature and landscapes. If you’ve ever heard about Ha Long Bay – one of seven wonders of the world, it is in North of Vietnam. If you’ve ever seen a breathtaking picture of the largest cave in the world, it is Son Doong cave in Quang Binh, Vietnam. Or if even if you never knew anything about Vietnam and always wanted to get to know more about this country. Vietnam is waiting for you to come and discover its hidden beauty.
Vietnam has much more than what most people know about it. Because sometimes the secret will only be unveiled once you come to it and feel it by all your five senses – smell it, taste it, touch it, listen to it, feel it, explore it, discover it and then you will fall in love with it. And this irresistible feeling you will have when taking on an adventure tour to truly find the gold of this country’s buried treasure.
THE FOUR GREATEST MOUNTAIN PASSES OF VIETNAM
Ma Pi Leng
Ma Pi Leng mountain pass is located at Dong Van Highland of Ha Giang Province connecting Meo Vac and Dong Van. This is one of the most difficult and rugged mountains to pass in Vietnam. The length of the pass is 20km and the height is 2000m. Ma Pi Leng means a horse’s bridge of the nose. It implies the ruggedness of the mountain pass that is extremely steep just like the nose of a horse.
The road traverses Ma Pi Leng is named Happiness, which was built by thousands of volunteers from 16 ethnic groups of 8 Northern Provinces of Vietnam from 1959 to 1965 with an estimation of more than 2 million shifts of work. In 2009, the mountain pass was nominated as a national vestige of nature. Accordingly, Ma Pi Leng is the most significant vestige of geology and landscape; the peak is one of the most beautiful places for panoramic views; Nho Que river at the bottom of Ma Pi Leng makes it one of the most unique gulfs in Vietnam. The crooked beautiful river has a natural green color all seasons. And you should not miss out to discover the deepest defile in southeast Asia – Tu San defile with 800m height of the cliff, 1.7km length, and 1km depth.
O Quy Ho
With the length of more than 50km, O Quy Ho mountain pass holds the first place to be the longest pass in northwest Vietnam. O Quy Ho pass belongs to the national highway 4D traversing Hoang Lien Son range of mountains. It connects Lao Cai and Lai Chau Provinces with a peak of 2073m which is the exact border of the two provinces.
The name O Quy Ho was named after the singing voice of a bird in mythology about the love story of a broken couple. Besides that, the mountain pass is also called Hoang Lien or Cloud mountain pass because the mountain peak is covered in clouds all years and the peak of O Quy Ho is called Sky Gate. With the height, length and ruggedness, O Quy Ho is unofficially considered the King of mountain passes in northwest Vietnam.
Pha Din mountain pass is located on the national 6th highway with half of it belongs to Thuan Chau, Son La Province and the other half belongs to Dien Bien. Pha Din has a length of 32km and the highest point at 1648m. The name of the pass was originally from Thai language which means “Sky and Earth” implying that this is the meeting point between the sky and the Earth. Another route has been built on other nearby mountain passes to decrease the traffic volume. Thus, there are very few people passing by which makes it an ideal place for adventurous tourists.
In Vietnam – French war in the last century, Pha Din mountain pass is one of the most important national routes for weapon and food supplies for the Dien Bien Phu campaign and was heavily destroyed by the French army by the time. Pha Din mountain pass is the symbol of bravery and victory of Vietnam and more than 8000 war volunteers.
Khau Pha is the longest mountain pass on the 32nd national highway with more than 30km in length and the height is from 1200m to 1500m above sea level. It is one of the most crooked and abrupt routes in Vietnam. Khau Pha is situated in the border of Van Chan and Mu Cang Chai Districts of Yen Bai Provinces. The pass goes through many popular places such as La Pan Tan, Mu Cang Chai, Tu Le, Che Cu Nha, Nam Co, etc.
Khau Pha is the highest mountain in Mu Cang Chai area. The name of the mountain comes from Thai language meaning “Sky Horn”. Figuratively, it compares the rugged mountain peaks that are like horns in the middle of the sky. It is perfect to visit Khau Pha mountain pass in September or October when rice plants down the Tu Le rice terraced fields are golden. Last but not least, next to Khau Pha pass is wild forests with many rare species of animals and plants.
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