Together with Ma Pi Leng (Ha Giang province), Khau Pha (Yen Bai province), and Pha Din (Dien Bien province), O Quy Ho which is located between Lao Cai and Lai Chau province is one of the most rugged mountain passes in Vietnam. The extraordinary beauty of O Quy Ho pass has become the great inspiration for adventurous backpackers. Do not hesitate to take Sapa tours to get more information about where to eat and meet in Sapa and what to bring when travelling to Sapa.
O Quy Ho pass (via dulich24.com.vn)
Being the longest mountain pass in Vietnam, O Quy Ho is also called Hoang Lien Son pass since it is situated on Highway 4D cross Hoang Lien Son mountain range or Cloud pass since this is obscured by cloud year-round. O Quy Ho connects Lao Cai province to Lai Chau province. The summit of O Quy Ho is point distinguishing the boundaries of the two lands. Two-thirds of the pass is in Tam Duong District of Lai Chau province while the rest belongs to Sapa town of Lao Cai province. When you travel along O Quy Ho pass, it's easy to feel the change in the climate. The weather on two sides of O Quy Ho pass, in Lai Chau and Lao Cai province, is frequently different throughout the year. While it’s warm and there is a plenty of sunshine in Lai Chau, it’s fairly cool and cloudy in Lao Cai. In wintertime, the peak of O Quy Ho is one of the rare places in Vietnam, which is covered by snow.
The name of the pass is closely related to the legend of a love story thousands of years ago. According to the myth, in the ancient mountains there is a couple who fall in love with each other but they couldn't marry together. The girl was a fairy and the boy was a lumberjack named O Quy Ho. Due to over missing her lover, the girl was ill later. After the death, she turned into a phoenix. The bird flew over the forests and mountains and called out O Quy Ho repeatedly. The heart-rending cries echoed through the jungle. Since that time, the mountain pass was named after the cry of the bird. O Quy Ho is the cry of a phoenix for the sad ending of an unsuccessful love story of the couple.
Thanks to its great height, length and adventurousness, O Quy Ho was dubbed " the King Pass of the Northwest ". The peak of O Quy Ho Pass lies on the untouched mountain and is obscured by clouds across the year so this is also known with the name Heaven Gate.
From above, O Quy Ho looks like a white strip of fabric silk loosing among the immense greenish lush forests. With an altitude of over 2,000 meters above sea level, the atmosphere is extremely fresh. All you can feel is the appealing smell of flora, the lovely sounds of insects or birds singing occasionally. The views here are surreal. Standing at the peak of O Quy Ho, you not only feel like you are drifting among the rivers of clouds flowing in the windy sky but also get the sight over the horizon. The pure blue sky seems to be endless and the heaving mountains look stretching limitlessly, which spread beneath visitor’s view, mixing with the looming green paddy fields and thin tracks around the hills. Reaching O Quy Ho, you take the chance to mingle with nature more fully than ever.
According to the experienced travelers, you should cross O Quy Ho pass twice to get two entirely different experiences. Once in the daytime when you get the panoramic views and feel the mightiness of nature and smallness of human. And once under a full moon when the view from O Quy Ho is extremely beautiful, sparkling and romantic.
The peak of O Quy Ho is obscured by clouds (via divivuvn.com)
O Quy Ho is supposed to be in the most beautiful state in the sunset. During this time, the mountains remain to be colorful but not dazzling any longer. In the west, the peak takes the effort to keep the sun with it. This interesting image evokes the peach of heart and mind as well as the surprise of the visitors. In the fading golden yellow sunlight, the visitors will be surely amazed to see the local woodcutters wandering in the forest. The simple but beautiful picture is the hidden beauty that is easily forgotten in our daily life.
► O Quy Ho pass which is 50 kilometers in length is supposed to be the most rugged pass in Vietnam. The serpentine winding hillside road with the blind corners and the complicated turnings can challenge any the drivers. The route is quite narrow and each land can just contain one car. One side of O Quy Ho is steep cliffs while another is the deep abyss. O Quy Ho’s adventurousness stimulates the curiosity and the desire to conquer of any adventurous travelers. However, if you are not an experienced driver, this is not the time to try. Driving along O Quy Ho requires the drivers to be skillful, calm and react quickly to the urgent cases.
► In rainy days, you are sincerely advised not to transport on O Quy Ho pass since the route may be fairly slippery and the vision may be limited.
► Along the route, you may catch some food stalls that are set up by the locals. It’s a good idea to visit them, take a rest, enjoy some local mountainous specialties such as boiled or grilled corn, grilled sweet potato, tube rice, etc and chat with the friendly residential.
You are a nature lover? You like to conquer the magnificent constructions? O Quy Ho is for you. Exploring O Quy Ho, you will feel like you are near nature than ever. Do not hesitate to discover O Quy Ho and have an unforgettable trip.