Conquer Ma Pi Leng Pass – A Natural Wonder in Ha Giang

by Lam Pham

Ma Pi Leng Pass is known as one of the most famous passes in Vietnam with dangerous turns, that challenge the steering wheels of backpackers. The pass is 20km long, located at an altitude of 1,200 m, belonging to the Dong Van karst plateau. This is an important part of the Ha Giang Loop, attracting thousands of tourists every year because of its majestic natural beauty and challenging roads. Let’s conquer this rugged and majestic pass with the Karst Plateau.

1. Where is Ma Pi Leng pass

It is located at an altitude of about 1,200m above sea level, and is about 20km long

Ma Pi Leng is known as one of the death passes of the Northern mountains, because of the rugged curves, challenging the steering wheel. The pass is located on National Highway 4C, Pa Vi and Pai Lung communes, Meo Vac district, Ha Giang province. It belongs to one of the highest and most dangerous slopes in the Northeast mountains, which is also a name on the list of “four great pass peaks” of Vietnam worth conquering.

Located at an altitude of about 1,200m above sea level, and about 20km long (connecting Dong Van ancient town and Meo Vac town), Ma Pi Leng bends and wraps around the mountain like a white python. Following this route, you will pass more famous villages or landmarks such as Pa Vi, Sin Cai, etc.

2. The best time to conquer Ma Pi Leng pass

Plum blossoms are white across the sky, a poetic season that tourists love

At each time of the year, Ha Giang wears a different beauty. Therefore, tourists and backpackers can come to Ma Pi Leng in any season.

From January to March, Ha Giang is covered with faded pink passes and pure white plum blossoms.

April is the time when the Khau Vai love market takes place only once a year. May is the season when water pours on beautiful terraced fields like a wonder created by human hands.

September is the season of ripe yellow rice on terraced fields, creating a magnificent natural scene and a time to attract a large number of photographers to “hunt” for their own artistic masterpieces.

October – November is the buckwheat flower season and is the time of the buckwheat flower festival. December is the canola flower season and also the cold winter, Ha Giang is prone to snowfall.

3. Means to Ma Pi Leng Pass

This is one of the most famous and dangerous passes in Vietnam

To get to Ma Pi Leng Pass from Hanoi, you can choose to travel by bus or motorbike or private vehicles.

For young people who are passionate about adventurous feelings, you can choose to travel by motorbike. However, the road going up the pass is quite dangerous, very high and steep so it requires you to choose the right vehicle type of good quality with confident driving skills to ensure safety. Do not forget to bring extra fuel and vehicle repair kits to easily handle whenever trouble comes on the way.

Along the way to the top of the pass, your eyes will catch the majestic natural scenery of the rolling mountains and forests of the Northeast, terraced fields, and small rustic houses scattered quietly, or meet Mong girls carrying their baby or younger brother/sister on her back. A simple yet beautiful scene in mind.

Conquering Ma Pi Leng by motorbike ideally fits those who love adventurous feeling and confident in driving skills

If you cannot afford to travel by motorbike, sharing buses from Hanoi will be another option. The buses to Ha Giang will depart from My Dinh, Giap Bat, Nuoc Ngam, or Gia Lam bus stations. On arrival in Ha Giang City, you can rent another means for your continuous traveling from the city up to the pass. You should book tickets in advance to avoid running out of seats, especially on weekends and holidays.

For the stress-free, private services with experienced drivers and a knowledgeable tour guide from Hanoi will ensure your safety at best.

4. Memorable experiences at Ma Pi Leng Pass

4.1 Conquer the pass and enjoy the majestic nature

Ma Pi Leng is famous for its winding and steep mountain passes

Ma Pi Leng Peak is located at an altitude of 1,200m including 9 rugged bends. On one side of the pass are extremely fierce cat’s ear rock cliffs, and on the other side are deep abysses. Along the way, you will see the Nho Que River, Tu San Alley, and Dong Van Karst Plateau – a plateau formed by limestone sediments more than 400 years ago.

All you can enjoy along the way is not simply beautiful nature but really masterpieces of nature, enough to make visitors stand in pictures or be absorbed in looking at it until they forget to blink.

4.2 Check In On The Cliffs Climbing Between The Cliffs

The cliffs are the most popular check-in locations for young people

In addition to the experience of backpacking, sitting on the craggy rocks in the middle of the cliff is probably the most favorite adventure experience of conquering Ma Pi Leng. Sitting on a rocky outcrop with a unique shape, climbing in the middle of space, in the middle of vast forests and mountains, this dangerous but extremely refreshing feeling will definitely not be found anywhere else.

It has just brought a panoramic view of the majestic beauty of the mountains along with the winding of the Nho Que River. This is an ideal viewing spot, allowing you to admire the entire unspoiled beauty of the mountains and forests and the vast river.

4.3 Enjoy Ha Giang specialties

Ha Giang cuisine has a strange and special charm

Coming to Ma Pi Leng, visitors should not miss the opportunity to enjoy the famous Northwest specialties such as Thang Co, dried buffalo meat, sausages, grilled moss, corn wine, buckwheat cakes, sour pho, etc. In Ha Giang, there are also many addresses selling specialties for you to buy as gifts.

5. What should you bring to Ma Pi Leng Ha Giang?

You should prepare carefully to have a safe trip

Clothing: You should wear long-sleeved clothes to avoid insect bites as well as protect against the cold on cold autumn and winter days. Especially in winter, the weather can drop to a few degrees, so please prepare a thick jacket, shawl, gloves, etc. However, you also have to be comfortable and don’t be too bulky because conquering Ma Pi Leng Pass you will have to climb a lot!

Food: If you decide to go backpacking from Hanoi to Ma Pi Leng by motorbike, you should also prepare some food, and a large bottle of water to rest and eat along the way. There will also be stops on the side of the road from time to time, and the view is also very beautiful. Stop recharging and move on!

Medicine: When traveling to an unfamiliar place, medicine is an essential thing. You should prepare some medical bandages, cold medicine, antipyretic … In addition, do not pass many trees, there will be many insects, so you should also bring a bottle of insect repellent spray, wind oil, insect bite medicine, etc. 

Slow Driving: Steep and winding passes. Maintain a steady speed and be careful at sharp turns.

Conquering Ma Pi Leng Pass is an unforgettable adventure, combining the thrill of motorbike driving with the beauty of the mountainous landscape of Northern Vietnam. With thoughtful preparation and a spirit of exploration, you can safely cross this famous pass and create memorable memories. Whether you’re a long-time travel enthusiast or just discovering for the first time, Ma Pi Leng Pass promises to bring you a journey full of discovery and amazement. Karst Plateau wishes you a happy trip and many memorable memories.

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