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Head for heights: five mountain passes of northern Vietnam

Vertigo sufferers might want to think twice about the most attractive dangers the north has to offer.

Ma Pi Leng Pass – Ha Giang Province

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Ma Pi Leng is considered to be one of the most dangerous mountain pass road in Vietnam with a length of 20 kilometers, at a height of 1,200 meters above sea level. The king of all Vietnam passes and part of the unofficial The great four passes of northern Vietnam, Ma Pi Leng was built by manual labor and crude instruments in six years (1959-1965) and ever since has been attracting countless bikers to behold and conquer. Photo by Hachi8

O Quy Ho – Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces

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O Quy Ho Pass is part of 4D Highway that bends along Hoang Lien Son Mountains, home to Fansipan Mount, the rooftop of Indochina, and connects to mountainous northern provinces of Lao Cai and Lai Chau. Peaking at 2,073 meters above sea level, O Quy Ho is called Cloud pass due to the clouds that hang over it all year round. The ideal itinerary to discover it has the starting point at the resort town of Sa Pa, going past Silver Fall for 12 kilometers and heading for O Quy Ho. Photo by Ma Lum

Du Gia, Mau Due – Ha Giang Province

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Du Gia and Mau Due are two communes of Yen Minh District, Ha Giang. The 73-kilometer part that goes through these communes is hence named after. From central Du Gia northward to Lung Ho Commune, travelers will meet Nam Lang Cliff, a sight that pulls many over for its splendor. The part from there to Mau Due has been since long notorious for its danger made up of a chain of slopes and for being the best vantage points to look for terrace fields below.

Khau Pha – Yen Bai Province

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The longest pass that one will meet on Highway 32 with 30 kilometers in length, Khau Pha proves to be a strong competitor when it comes to curvaceousness and slope. The pass, at 1,200 to 1,500 above sea level, is exposed to many terrace fields and traveled the most in October, when the rice ripens. Photo by Vu Tuan Anh

Ma Phuc – Cao Bang Province

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Ma Phuc means kneeling horse, after the two blocks of limestone on one side facing each other. Along Highway 3 from Cao Bang City for 20 kilometers, travelers will meet a seven-storied pass made of multiple blind bends. The pass is separated into two roads at the top, one leading to Trung Khanh District, a sightseeing chosen by many travelers. Photo by Ma Lum.

VnExpress International