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O Quy Ho pass

O Quy Ho pass
O Quy Ho pass connects two northwest provinces Lai Chau and Lao Cai. The 50km-long winding road through the pass run two thirds of its course in Tam Duong District – Lai Chau Province, while the remaining belongs to Sa Pa – Lao Cai Province. A few kilometers from Hoang Lien National Park, we will reach the peak O Quy Ho – the so-called boundary point between Lao Cai and Lai Chau. The curve coils around the Hoang Lien mountain range, famous for its Fanxipan peak – also called the Roof of Indochina with the height of 3,414m. Moreover, O Quy Ho has been widely known for not only as an important traffic route but also as one of the most imposingly beautiful scenes in the Northwest of Vietnam.

It is not surprising that O Quy ho is often mentioned with enthusiastic desires to conquer by the adventurous travelers. As the most tortuous and difficult pass in the Northwest, its risky hairpin curves attract and challenge all kind of adventurous motorists. However, these trials reward successful explorers with victorious thrills driving through the limitless curves there. Standing on the top of O Quy Ho with the sight over the horizon, the endless sky and limitless mountains are spread beneath one’s view, mixed with the looming green fields and endless tracks around the mountains. The rivers of clouds above flow in the windy sky build up the nostalgic atmosphere that provides tourists the feelings of being wild birds.

The first time passing through O Quy Ho, you will be surprised by the gigantic landscape there. But is just the top of the iceberg as the legend is just beginning. Travelling there in a moonlit night to see what all should be called a legend is completely unforgettable. Indeed, those who prefer adventure usually choose a route so that they can reach O Quy Ho in the sunset. In the full-moon nights, when the moon leans down the lofty cliffs, the moonlight and the mountain look like an imposing watercolor painting. Stopping on O Quy Ho in a moonlit midnight and standing off in a corner beside steep cliffs to listen to the silent breath of the jungle night is something one must experience at least once in a lifetime.

That is the eerie but fascinating silence when hardly a vehicle is seen running in the opposite direction with a ghost-like looming lights appear in the curves. Whirring wind blowing over the cliffs, fog rising from the abyss and the distant twitters of the bird can surely induce sudden fears into the hearts of tourists. In this moment the bikers have to be fully alert and concentrate, because this adventurous trip can really become dangerous. Obviously you will need to be well-prepared both mentally and physically to drive through the pass at night. Only then the adventure trip begins and explorers will have the chance to challenge themselves.

The weather can be considered as a specific characteristic of O Quy Ho. In the summer, while the weather is nice in the Sa Pa side – the misty mountain town is cool and little cold, the weather in Tam Duong side is extremely hot with blazing and burning sun, while trees are withered in the sunlight, although the distance between them is only some kilometers. When winter comes, the weather is still warm and sunny at noon and even dries the steep cliffs on this side while it is absolutely cold and foggy over Sa Pa. Going from one side to the other side of the mountain in any season, tourists will be surprised by the dizzying change of climate.

For enthusiasts to explore and conquer the Northwestern stretch of roads, the Big Four Passes are names well known to everyone: Pha Din, Khau Pha, Khau Co and Ma Pi Leng, bringing an immense wandering feeling even when just mentioned. Unlike heavy traffic in cities, the travelers suddenly see very clearly moonlight pouring down her glistening curves like haunting soft silk. The glistening light looks like an intoxicating love in the twilight that lures travelers for any path in life. Certainly it will not be a dream for those who once have conquered the O Quy Ho Pass. These trips sometimes are as powerful painkillers remind pilgrims of a far-away land that they can get lost in. And sometimes that feeling evokes nostalgia like the hovering clouds drifting in the sky in O Quy Ho in a recent day.


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