Ma-Pi-Leng Pass, in its highest beauty, Northern Vietnam

You can eat really well in Dong Van town. Cho-Dong-Van( Dong Van market) has stalls selling all sort of  food, and this pork skewer smoked in charcoal was absolutely fantastic.


Some sort of vegie of the cucumber family, stir-fried.


Simple mattress on a wooden floor was my choice of stay in Dong Van that costs 70,000 dong(US $3.50) a night. Could be the cheapest in Vietnam. Tell me if you got a cheaper one then I will give you the title ‘Guru’.


Next morning on a rented bike(200,000 dong, or US $9 a day) I am riding to Meo-Vac town that is 22kms away over the mountain pass.


You have to practice how to breath in-shock before heading to this pass as the scenery  will make you stop breathing naturally.


Local bike drivers twist up revs like Michael Shumacher regardless of the road conditions, so don’t presume that you can do the same.


Well, first time ever I wished if I have had a good full frame DSLR camera with a sharp tele lens. I can’t get it right. You have got to see this for yourself. The scenary’s magic.

The Thais got the Mae- Sa-Long, Chinese has the famous Yunnan’s Tiger Leaping Gorge, and the Vietnamese will laugh at them. This is Ma-Pi-Leng.

I used to think that it could be my wife’s arms if I can choose the place to die, but I might have to change it.


We had  huge downpour last night that led this happen, a land slide.


These  Meo-Vac locals enjoying photographing while the road gets cleared. Um, got me think that girls are most beautiful in Meo-Vac ?


Follow the trail down as you see it ahead.


In Meo-Vac town, I buy  3kgs of green mango at the cheapest price. 20,000 dong a kg. This green mango is sweeter than the yellow ones. Once again you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.


Trying to get down right to the river(nobody does it, and this is an unknown side trip). Come across a waterfall and the boy.


Here I choose to take a break. All I got for lunch is 20 mangoes and a million dollar view. I think I can not be hungry for anything more. Inside the green peel reveals an orange coloured flesh, that taste heavenly.


Get a flat tyre on the front wheel and luckily there is a bike repair shop just 5 km before Meo-Vac town. The mechanic boy replaces the inner tube for a mere 75,000 dong(US3.50).


The hill tribe people live on the steep slope of the mountain pass which can only be reached  by a hard walk.


Now, coming back to Dong-Van and going to other side for Lung-Cu that is the northern most town of Vietnam bordering China. Road is a bit poorer than to Ma-Pi-Leng.


Less scenic if you compare this to Ma-Pi-Leng, but still worth a try.


Lung Cu flag tower, proudly Vietnam.


Driving a km further past Lung-Cu leads to this rural ethnic hill tribe coffee shop, called Cuc-Bac. The boy will serve you when the parents are in the rice field. Everything in this cafe premise is beautifully setup with stones, wood and mud. Guessing the password for the Wifi is hardest.

Back on the road to Dong-Van. I am blinded by the mountain mist.


Meet this Chilean couple second time, who travels on a Honda 110cc motor bike from Hanoi. Tammy the photographer and Christian the driver/porter , securing their Nikon equipment on their bike.


This mixed vegie and rice meal is the first proper meal for whole day. Pretty good with a 333 beer.



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