A 30-minute drive from Sapa Town towards Lai Chau, Dien Bien province will send you to one of the few most spectacular sceneries in the Northern area of Vietnam: O Quy Ho Mountain Pass. Despite the winding road, wanderlust souls from all over the world have set their footprint on the Pass.
During the journey, the vast pine forests laden with chayote on the hillside and the verdant rose gardens all year round on both sides will help you keep the long-distance out of your mind. If you have been longing for astonishing views of the whole mountainous area, O Quy Ho pass could offer more than you can expect.
Amazing Geographical Features Of O Quy Ho
O Quy Ho pass is also referred to as the Cloud pass because it is covered with white clouds all year round. The pass is located right next to the National Road 4D running through the Hoang Lien Son range, which connects the two provinces of Lai Chau and Lao Cai. O Quy Ho pass is located at an altitude of nearly 2000m above sea level and is among the highest and most majestic mountain passes in Vietnam.
It is known as one of the longest, full of obstacles and difficult to access the Northern mountainous area of Vietnam. The length of 50km and its height make people both amazed and sometimes overwhelmed by it. That might be why it is named “King of the Mountain pass in the Northwest”.
On the top of the mountain pass, the immense and magnificence of the nature of a thousand years are all in visitors’ eyesight. The fresh air here will also bring you a very comfortable feeling that you have always looked for.
If you are in O Quy Ho in the winter, you might get really lucky to see one of the rare weather phenomenon in Vietnam – snowflakes, and ice. The drops of water turn into ice creating unique and beautiful scenery. At higher locations, we could even see the white ground as covered by snow and find the lovely image of children or couples playing happily regardless of the harsh condition.
The Best Route To Conquer O Quy Ho Pass
To get to O Quy Ho pass, visitors may find their way from Sapa town to the National Highway 4D. The route to O Quy Ho, despite well built, is not an easy task, especially if you are not familiar with mountainous bends.
On your way, you will come across Silver Falls – one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Lao Cai. Especially, when conquering the pass, you shouldn’t ignore Tram Ton – the ranger station of Hoang Lien National Park. This is also one of the starting points to conquer the breathtaking Fansipan mountain peak and the road to visit Love Waterfall. Here, one side of the scenery is the dramatic cliff, the other a deep end creates a sense of challenge for each driver passing here.
While going down to the other half of O Quy Ho pass, you should also take advantage of the magnificent beauty of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. On bright and clear days, visitors can also admire the fantasy of Fansipan peak from the top of Heavenly Gate.
And don’t forget to check-in at the newly launched Glass Bridge. The Cloud Dragon Skywalk opened in mid-November, features a lifting system with a transparent glass cabin at an altitude of 2,200m above sea level and 548.5m above the top ravine of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. The Glass Bridge system is reaching out from the 50m cliff. Cloud Dragon Skywalk is made entirely of transparent glass.
As you accelerate, the feel of the mountain clouds passing in front of their eyes is more apparent. You can look down to the lush green forests, the beautiful terraced fields in the distance
Bonus Tips To Explore O Quy Ho Pass
The best time for an expedition to O Quy Ho is during spring and the end of autumn. During spring, the Lao Cai side is still in the wintertime with fog and coldness. However, the other side in Lai Chau enjoys the sunshine around noon. It’s also the festive season with many kinds of flowers in full blossom the mountains. The weather in autumn is pretty cool and refreshing. Moreover, it’s the harvesting time, so the terraced fields turn into the dazzling yellow color of ripe rice. The sunny days and cool nights are perfect for sightseeing, photo-taking, and camping trips.
As O Quy Ho Pass is not easy to conquer, we suggest you have a local guide to take you there on a motorbike. Traveling by motorbike is very convenient as you can stop on the way without any trouble. However, if you are new to the mountain route, riding a motorbike can be risky.
Standing on the top of O Quy Ho you will enjoy the sight over the horizon, the endless sky and limitless ranges of mountains, mixed with the looming green fields and endless tracks around the mountains. While at the top, capturing its heaven-like scenery, don’t forget to look out for food stalls run by locals. There, you can check out famous dishes like grilled eggs and rice cooked in bamboo stems, known as com lam.