Ma Pi Leng Pass Dong Van - Meo Vac in Ha Giang
Ma Pi Leng Pass, it is really difficult to find the exact words to describe Ma Pi Leng Pass, located between Dong Van and Meo Vac in Ha Giang Province Vietnam near the northernmost tip of Vietnam. I think of it as a painting of astonishing beauty and magnificence that captures the eyes of all viewers and nature lovers.
The pass stretches 15 kilometres or more along the sides of magnificently beautiful mountain ranges and runs along a section of the Nho Que River that weaves its way like a silver ribbon through the limestone ravines. The attraction of the Ma Pi Leng Pass lies in the mountains and cliff walls that the road passes.
Now is a good time to travel on the Ma Pi Leng Pass, as the blazing sunshine makes the mountains seem even more imposing on clear summer days. Visiting the pass from July to October is fine but heavy rain may pose risk to your travels through the pass. Winter is not a good time as blankets of thick fog blur the picturesque painting, and the icy winds and weather chill you. If it is possible, arrange your trip to the pass in the early morning of a clear Sunday, when you will see lines of Dao, H’Mong and other people of other ethnic groups walking from all directions of the mountains to Dong Van Market. The old and young walkers exchange merry chats on the long journey as they shoulder bamboo baskets of rice and vegetables as well as take cattle, fowl, or whatever they can sell at the colorful market, which is far from the pass.Many of the ethnic people, especially young girls, dress up in their colorful costumes for their journey to Dong Van Market, as if they were going to a festival. Adults take their children, sisters or brothers to the market to share with them moments of merrymaking as well as bowls of noodle soup or other food specialties of the region.When the sun rises high in the sky it reflects its light on the deep pristine water of the Nho Que River, making it look like a current of silver winding through mountains and rocks of all shapes and sizes. Let your motorcycle or car run gently down the pass from Dong Van to enjoy the pleasant sound of the river murmuring like sweet singing coming from a far distance.The peak of the Ma Pi Leng is certainly the best place to gain a panoramic view of the pass, particularly in the late afternoon when you can see a beautiful sunset overlooking the river.
The Ma Pi Leng Pass peak is also called Heaven Gate, and you will feel as if you can touch the sky in this land of wonders. It is of course the best position to appreciate the magnificent mountain chains and cliff faces.
From the top, you can see ethnic people farming on small terraced fields by the sides of mountains, and witness how hard locals have to struggle with extreme conditions for their life. Despite the hardship, the people are friendly and willing to offer a smiling welcome to you. For these reasons many locals say proudly that the Ma Pi Leng provides visitors with “the most stunning scenery in northern Vietnam.” The pass descends into a pretty valley where a colorful bustling market and little town of Meo Vac are situated. Documents say workers of 16 peoples built the road between Dong Van and Meo Vac from September 1959 to March 1965. It took the workers 11 months of suspending themselves on the sides of mountains and cliffs to open and develop the Ma Pi Leng Pass.