O Quy Ho Pass
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O Quy Ho Pass

For tourists who love adventure and discovery, traveling to Sapa is never complete without conquering the famous and dangerous O Quy Ho Pass. As one of the “Four Great Passes” of Northwest Vietnam’s mountains and forests. O Quy Ho Pass will definitely be the ultimate check-in point with its wild and poetic mountain and forest beauty.

The feeling of going through a winding road with dangerous corners is certainly thrilling but full of fun. In particular, when you reach the top of the pass. Before your eyes is the majestic natural landscape of the Northwest mountains of Vietnam with Fansipan peak covered with floating clouds, in the distance is Silver Waterfall with white foam, or the glowing Muong Hoa valley shine below. Let’s explore this magnificent pass with Origin Vietnam.

1. Where is O Quy Ho Pass?

O Quy Ho Pass – O Quy Ho Heaven Gate tourist area, located in Son Binh commune, Tam Duong district, Lai Chau province. Located next to Highway 4D, about 17 km west of Sa Pa town. It’s about 50 km east of Lai Chau city and about 330 km northwest of Hanoi capital.

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2. How is O Quy Ho pass unique?

O Quy Ho is known as one of the longest, most dangerous passes and has the most majestic scenery in the mountainous region of Northwest Vietnam with a length of nearly 50 km. The pass is known by many names. Such as O Quy Ho pass, Hoang Lien Son pass or May pass. The pass is located right next to National Highway 4D running through Hoang Lien Son range, bordering Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces. Especially the road is smoked with the majestic and impressive mountain scenery. If you travel from Sapa to Lai Chau on clear and sunny days.

Located at an altitude of more than 2,000m above sea level, the scenery of O Quy Ho Pass appears extremely spectacular: one side is a deep abyss, the other is a towering cliff, surrounded by clouds and mist. And when the sky is clear, the peaceful picture of Muong Hoa valley is clearly shown.

O Quy Ho Pass along with Ma Pi Leng Pass, Pha Din Pass and Khau Pha Pass are the four great pass peaks in the Northwest mountains of Vietnam. In addition, O Quy Ho Pass is also recognized by the Vietnam Records Organization as the longest pass in Vietnam.

3. When is the best time to conquer O Quy Ho Pass?

Each season brings a unique and captivating experience at O Quy Ho Pass. Below are some of the most beautiful times you should visit O Quy Ho Pass:

3.1 Spring:

  • Spring brings colorful flowers, lush foliage and new beginnings. During this season, O Quy Ho Pass appears with many blooming flowers such as wild cherry blossoms, apricot blossoms, pear flowers, plum blossoms – all of which are famous in the Northwest region of Vietnam. The beauty of these flowers adds freshness, vitality and charm to the already majestic and vast landscape of the pass.

3.2 Autumn:

  • One of the most impressive sights along O Quy Ho Pass are the terraced fields cascading down the mountainside. Standing on the top of the pass in the fall, you will have a panoramic view of golden rice terraces. The bright yellow color of ripe rice creates a bustling, warm space amidst the wild landscape of Northwest Vietnam.

3.3 Summer:

  • Because it is located in both Lai Chau and Lao Cai provinces, O Quy Ho Pass has two different climate zones in the summer. The Lai Chau side is characterized by scorching heat and intense sunlight. Meanwhile, Lao Cai side has a milder and more pleasant climate. In fact, the O Quy Ho pass section on the Lao Cai side can even experience cool days in the summer.

3.4 Winter:

  • As mentioned above, the two sections of O Quy Ho pass have clearly different climates. Lao Cai experiences the captivating beauty of snow, with passes covered in mesmerizing white clothes. The mountains of Sapa are already famous for their lush green trees, and the addition of snow adds to the majesty and magnificence of the landscape. Traveling to O Quy Ho Pass in winter, you will experience the biting cold and admire the beautiful natural scenery. In contrast, Lai Chau’s pass is relatively warmer in winter, with occasional sunshine. The contrasting climate offers unique and captivating views of O Quy Ho Pass.

It is worth noting that no matter what season you are in, you must always prepare warm clothes, scarves, hats and appropriate shoes. Because the pass’s altitude is over 2,000 meters above sea level, temperatures can be quite cold, even in the summer months.

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4. How to get to O Quy Ho pass?

There are two ways for you to ride a motorbike or car to get to O Quy Ho pass: from Sapa town and from Lao Cai city.

4.1 From Sapa town to O Quy Ho pass:

If traveling from Sapa town center, you follow Dien Bien Phu road to Thac Bac, go through the gate of Hoang Lien National Park and reach Tram Ton ranger station. This road is about 12 km, and takes about 30-35 minutes. After that, you go about 6km more to reach the top of O Quy Ho pass. On the way, you will pass many beautiful tourist destinations of Sapa such as Silver Waterfall and Love Waterfall. If you have time, stop for a bit of “virtual living” at H’Mong Flower Garden, Sapa Windmill Homestay.

4.2 From Lao Cai city to O Quy Ho pass:

If you depart from Lao Cai city center, you can take a bus, passenger car, taxi or rent a motorbike to Sapa town. This road is more than 40 km long, it will take about 1 hour. Then, you follow the same route as above to reach the final destination.

Note: The road from Lao Cai city to Sapa town is a mountain pass with many sharp turns, so we do not encourage you to travel by motorbike.

5. Activities and experiences at O Quy Ho Pass

5.1 Experiencing dangerous turns

O Quy Ho Pass is famous for its curved roads, bringing a chilling experience to those who are passionate about conquering. Along the pass, on one side is a bottomless abyss, while on the other side are sharp, steep cliffs. Warning signs were erected along the road to warn visitors of potential dangers.

However, don’t let those warnings discourage you, as the road has been upgraded to limit accidents. This makes it a must-see destination for adventurers looking for thrills.

5.2 Admiring the majestic waterfall

Right at the foot of O Quy Ho Pass towards Sapa is Silver Waterfall. Walking along the pass, you will have the opportunity to admire the majestic beauty of one of the top 10 most beautiful waterfalls in Lao Cai. This is an experience and scene worth conquering. The waterfall pours down day and night, creating strong streams of water that hit the rocks, causing the water to splash white foam. This majestic waterfall has surprised many domestic and foreign tourists when they set foot here.

In addition, in Sapa there is another famous waterfall, Love Waterfall. This is a waterfall that is known to many tourists, but it is not as majestic or big as Silver Waterfall. However, Love Waterfall brings visitors a new, gentler and more peaceful experience.

5.3 Taking photos of “virtual life” at O Quy Ho heaven gate and O Quy Ho Cafe

Once you reach O Quy Ho pass, take time to rest and enjoy a cup of coffee at O Quy Ho Cafe. From here, you can leisurely take in the picturesque, enchanting scenery. If you are someone who likes to take beautiful photos, don’t miss the newly established Sapa Heaven Gate at O Quy Ho Pass.

Previously, there were several roadside eateries and views of the towering mountains. However, due to safety concerns and to ensure the preservation of the natural environment, these unlicensed establishments have been cleared. Today, only O Quy Ho Cafe remains with its iconic lonely tree, standing proudly on the harsh land of Sapa.

5.4 Cloud hunting at the top of O Quy Ho pass

Located at an altitude of 2,073m above sea level, the top of O Quy Ho pass is always a quality cloud hunting spot. In winter, Lao Cai experiences bone-chilling winds, freezing fog and even snow-covered mountain peaks.

In contrast, summer has a cool, pleasant climate, fluffy white clouds adorn the sky and the air is fresh and clean. Many people compare the summer scene at the top of O Quy Ho pass to a fairyland. That is why this place is always an extremely attractive cloud hunting spot.

5.5 Seeing wild peach blossoms

February every year is the time when wild peach blossoms begin to bloom along O Quy Ho Pass. At this time, H’Mong boys and girls overcome difficulties up the mountains to get wild peach branches to sell along the O Quy Ho pass or Sapa market. Wild digging is one of the elegant pastimes of many families every Tet and Spring.

The image of rough peach branches above shows pink flowers that are starting to bloom. Not only highlighted by peach branches, walking along O Quy Ho pass you also witness fairs. This experience gives visitors the opportunity to better understand cuisine, handicrafts and highland cultural identity.

5.6 Admiring the azalea flowers

March is also the time when azalea flowers bloom on the Hoang Lien Son range and O Quy Ho pass. Azalea flowers are the most typical flower of Sapa and the symbol of this town. That scene makes visitors admire it when coming here. The best time is from March to April every year and at this time Sapa welcomes a large number of visitors. Visitors coming to O Quy Ho pass have the opportunity to see azalea flowers from afar.

5.7 Admiring the snowfall in the Hoang Lien Son range

Due to climate change, Hoang Lien Son’s weather is also different from many years ago. That’s why snow and ice appear in winter. In recent years, during the 11th and 12th lunar months, this phenomenon has frequently occurred throughout Hoang Lien Son in general and O Quy Ho Pass in particular. This is also one of the starting points to conquer the majestic Fansipan peak and the road to visit Love Waterfall.

For tourists, this is an extremely interesting thing to experience. Many tourists have been looking forward to this day for a long time to witness with their own eyes a blanket of white snow, a new scene that makes many tourists excited.

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6. Specialties when conquering O Quy Ho pass

When traveling here, visitors will not only admire the majestic pass, the wild and poetic natural landscape, but you will also have the opportunity to enjoy the specialties of this beautiful Lao Cai land. .

6.1 Smoked buffalo meat

Surely everyone has heard of smoked buffalo meat. This dish is not only a famous Sapa specialty but also bought by many tourists as gifts for friends and relatives. Fresh buffalo meat, after being marinated with rich spices, will be smoked with smoke from a wood stove. Cooked buffalo meat meets standards when the outer layer of meat is completely dry and turns dark red brown. Although quite picky about eating, Sapa buffalo meat is very popular with many tourists coming here.

Smoked buffalo meat is usually steamed or boiled and then eaten with Cham cross sauce. This combination creates a special flavor that is not available elsewhere. You can also dip the buffalo meat in water and grill it again, then tear it into small pieces and squeeze in a little sour kumquat lemon juice.

6.2 Com Lam (Bamboo tube rice)

Com Lam is a dish associated with the lives of people in Sapa. The terraced fields stretching from low to high and the patience and hard work of the indigenous people make Lam rice a very special dish in the mountains and forests of Northwest Vietnam. Lam rice is simply rice stored in a bamboo tube and grilled over charcoal or fire. In order for lam rice to cook evenly, the cook needs to regularly rotate it. Lam rice when eaten is both sticky and has the sweet taste of rice and bamboo. Lam rice is often eaten with sesame salt, peanut salt, pork sausage, etc.

6.3 Khau Nhuc

Khau Nhuc is a dish of Hakka and Guangdong origin. Nowadays, the dish has been changed to suit the taste of Vietnamese people. Under the creative hands of the Tay and Nung ethnic people, Khau Nhuc is easy to eat, not as spicy as the original in Guangdong. Cauliflower is basically prepared similarly to braised meat, but the spices are ingredients taken from the highlands. Khau Nhuc is a very “popular” dish because of the greasiness of the pork belly and the irresistible scent of the spices.

6.4 Indigenous pork

Native pig is the familiar name of the free-range pig breed of the H’Mong ethnic group. When you eat you will feel the difference, each pig is only modest in size, only about 5 kg to 6kg. When the market is held, people often “take the pig under the armpit” to sell, so they give it the extremely cute name “under the armpit pig”.

People often compare the taste of underarm pork to that of a chair, because it is not a table. Due to frequent running and jumping, when eaten, pork feels soft and firm with alternating meat and fat. It is impossible not to mention the rich and delicious spices, especially when grilled over fragrant charcoal. Grilled underarm pork until the skin is golden brown and crispy, all with a shiny golden color. Gathering around the fire, enjoying delicious armpit pork, dipped in fish sauce, is wonderful.

7. Accommodation when conquering O Quy Ho pass

When traveling to O Quy Ho Pass, visitors can refer to some of the accommodation facilities below. Because the distance is not too far from Sapa town, the accommodation facilities here are a great choice.

7.1 Hotels:

As for hotels in Sapa, there are many segments for you to choose from. Focusing on design, investing in space and service quality, reasonable costs, suitable for those who travel to Sapa, we must mention names such as Sapa Hills Hotel, Golden Villa Hotel, Sapa Odyssey Hotel will surely make you satisfied.

  • KK Sapa Hotel. Address: 25 Violet, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lao Cai.
  • DeLaSol Phat Linh Sapa. Address: 16 Muong Hoa Street, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lao Cai.
  • Pao’s Sapa Leisure Hotel. Address: Muong Hoa, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lao Cai.

7.2 Resorts:

If you want to enjoy the most complete vacation feeling amidst vast mountains and forests with chilly weather, Sapa resort is a choice that is hard to refuse. Choose hot addresses such as: Sapa Jade Hill Resort And Spa, Topas Ecolodge, Aira Boutique Sapa Hotel & Spa, Pao’s Sapa Leisure Hotel, Golden Town Hotel, Nomad Trails Boutique Hotel or Freesia Hotel to “reward” yourself with a vacation Warm and relaxing .

7.3 Homestays:

If you both want to see the wild and majestic natural scenery and experience the daily life of ethnic areas here, staying at homestay is the ideal choice. Famous Sapa homestays with the backpacking community include Sapa Capsule Hotel, Phori’s House, Little Sapa, Po Homestay,…

8. Some important notes when conquering O Quy Ho pass

8.1 About costumes:

When visiting O Quy Ho Pass in winter, you should bring warm clothes and scarves to protect yourself from cold temperatures. If you want to capture the mesmerizing sight of the sea of clouds. So the ideal time to visit is in August.

Besides, check weather conditions in advance and plan your Sapa tour during the dry season to avoid slippery roads and the risk of landslides. It’s important to equip yourself with the right equipment. Including good walking shoes with good traction, warm clothes for the high altitude climate and plenty of water as there won’t be many shops along the way.

8.2 About mean of transportation

Prepare a paper map or compass or smartphone to determine direction. Also, make sure your vehicle is in serviceable condition before setting off on this route. Regularly check brakes, tires and engine oil levels for optimal performance while climbing. Take frequent breaks along the journey to regain your strength and admire the breathtaking scenery of O Quy Ho Pass.

For those who want to watch the sunset at O Quy Ho Pass. They should depart around 3-4 pm, arriving at the pass before 5 pm to fully enjoy the beautiful sunset scene.

No wonder O Quy Ho Pass is included in the list of one of the four great passes of Vietnam. O Quy Ho Pass is a masterpiece of nature so majestic and poetic that anyone who visits it once will never forget.

So what are you waiting for, schedule a tour Vietnam to the dreamy town of Sapa and visit the breathtaking O Quy Ho pass. Please contact Origin Vietnam – a professional tour operator, visitors will surely feel excited and satisfied with what we have shared in the article above. Furthermore, we also always accompany tourists on their journey to explore the travel beauty of Sapa with unforgettable experiences.

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