Head for heights: five mountain passes of northern Vietnam

By Thanh Tuyet   October 2, 2016 | 04:41 pm GMT+7

Vertigo sufferers might want to think twice about the most attractive dangers the north has to offer.

Ma Pi Leng Pass - Ha Giang Province

Ma Pi Leng is considered to be one of the most dangerous mountain pass road in Vietnam with a length of 20 kilometers, at a height of 1,200 meters above sea level. The king of all Vietnam passes and part of the unofficial The great four passes of northern Vietnam, Ma Pi Leng was built by manual labor and crude instruments in six years (1959-1965) and ever since has been attracting countless bikers to behold and conquer. Photo by Hachi8

Ma Pi Leng is considered one of the most dangerous mountain passes in Vietnam with a length of 20 kilometers and at a height of 1,200 meters above sea level. The king of all Vietnam passes and part of the unofficial “Four Great Passes” of northern Vietnam, Ma Pi Leng was built by laborers using crude instruments from 1959-1965, and since then has been attracting countless bikers to behold and conquer. Photo by Hachi8

O Quy Ho - Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces

O Quy Ho Pass is part of 4D Highway that bends along Hoang Lien Son Mountains, home to Fansipan Mount, the rooftop of Indochina, and connects to mountainous northern provinces of Lao Cai and Lai Chau. Peaking at 2,073 meters above sea level, O Quy Ho is called Cloud pass due to the clouds that hang over it all year round. The ideal itinerary to discover it has the starting point at the resort town of Sa Pa, going past Silver Fall for 12 kilometers and heading for O Quy Ho. Photo by Ma Lum

O Quy Ho Pass is part of Highway 4D that bends along the Hoang Lien Son Mountains, home to Mount Fansipan, the rooftop of Indochina, and connects the northern mountainous provinces of Lao Cai and Lai Chau. Peaking at 2,073 meters above sea level, O Quy Ho is known as Cloud Pass due to the clouds that hang over it all year round. The ideal itinerary to discover it is starting in the resort town of Sa Pa, going past Silver Fall for 12 kilometers and heading for O Quy Ho. Photo by Ma Lum

Du Gia, Mau Due - Ha Giang Province

Du Gia and Mau Due are two communes of Yen Minh District, Ha Giang. The 73-kilometer part that goes through these communes is hence named after. From central Du Gia northward to Lung Ho Commune, travelers will meet Nam Lang Cliff, a sight that pulls many over for its splendor. The part from there to Mau Due has been since long notorious for its danger made up of a chain of slopes and for being the best vantage points to look for terrace fields below.

Du Gia and Mau Due are two communes in Yen Minh District, Ha Giang. The 73-kilometer part that goes through these communes is hence named after them. From central Du Gia northward to Lung Ho Commune, travelers will meet Nam Lang Cliff, a sight that pulls many over for its splendor. The part from there to Mau Due has become notorious for its dangerous chain of slopes and turns that offer the best vantage points to look down on the terraced fields below.

Khau Pha - Yen Bai Province

The longest pass that one will meet on Highway 32 with 30 kilometers in length, Khau Pha proves to be a strong competitor when it comes to curvaceousness and slope. The pass, at 1,200 to 1,500 above sea level, is exposed to many terrace fields and traveled the most in October, when the rice ripens. Photo by Vu Tuan Anh

This 30 kilometer pass eventually meets Highway 32, and is renowned for its steep, winding nature. The pass, at 1,200 to 1,500m above sea level, is exposed to many terrace fields and traveled the most in October, when the rice ripens. Photo by Vu Tuan Anh

Ma Phuc - Cao Bang Province

Ma Phuc means kneeling horse, after the two blocks of limestone on one side facing each other. Along Highway 3 from Cao Bang City for 20 kilometers, travelers will meet a seven-storied pass made of multiple blind bends. The pass is separated into two roads at the top, one leading to Trung Khanh District, a sightseeing chosen by many travelers. Photo by Ma Lum

Ma Phuc means kneeling horse, after the two blocks of limestone on one side facing each other. Along Highway 3 from Cao Bang City for 20 kilometers, travelers will meet a seven-storey pass made up of multiple blind bends. The pass is separated into two roads at the top, one leading to Trung Khanh District, a sightseeing spot chosen by many travelers. Photo by Ma Lum

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