Despite the dangerous roads and the obsession of the drivers, the top 11 mountain passes in north Vietnam always attract travelers by the wild beauty and imposing scenery

1. Ma Pi Leng pass in Ha Giang
One of the "Four Greatest Passes" of the northwest Vietnam tour, the name Ma Pi Leng means' Horse Muzzle, this is a 20km stretch of winding road running around Ma Pi Leng peak, 2000m above the sea level, connecting 2 towns Dong Van and Meo Vac. Ma Pi Leng pass is considered the king of the most dangerous roads in Vietnam. It is understandable why this pass became a popular place of enthusiastic photographers.

2. O Quy Ho pass in Lao Cai
Dubbed as the most spectacular gorge in the northwest Vietnam tour with a length of nearly 50 kilometers connecting the two provinces of Lao Cai and Lai Chau, O Quy Ho pass situated at an altitude of 2,000m, winding through the sky-high cliff and deep chasms. However, overcome the fears and climb to the top of the pass you will have the opportunity to admire the sky with floating clouds like a fairy realm. Because of that, it also has the name of Heaven Gate.

Climb on top of the most dangerous passes in north Vietnam

3. Pha Din pass - Son La, Lai Chau
Pha Din pass is in the in Ta Phin plateau system, with two ends located in the provinces of Son La and Lai Chau. Pha Din pass has a total length of 32km with very rugged terrain, one side is cliffs, one side is the deep chasms. Pha Din pass is famous not only for dangerous roads but also for stunning scenery. The highest point of the pass is 1.648m above the sea level.

4. Khau Pha pass in Yen Bai
The road to Khau Pha pass leads to the highest mountain peak in Mu Cang Chai - Khau Pha peak. It is ranked as the most crooked steep pass in Vietnam. This pass is particularly dangerous on foggy days because there is no barrier or any public warning signs. Khau Pha pass is located in between Van Chan and Mu Cang Chai districts, Yen Bai province, passing through many famous landmarks such as La Pan Tan, Mu Cang Chai, Tu Le, Che Cu Nha, Nam an altitude from 1.200m to 1.500m above sea level.

5. Ma Phuc pass in Cao Bang
The reason the pass is named Ma Phuc because on the two sides of the road are two blocks of limestone rocks standing like two horses bending on their knees. This is the most beautiful pass on Highway 3 from Phu Lo to Ta Lung bordergate, about 22 km from Cao Bang town. Scenery on the sides of the pass is very beautiful, especially when the Tam Giac Mach flowers are in blossom and the green corn fields in summers.

6. Xa Tong pass in Dien Bien
Xa Tong pass is located in a dangerous position from Tuan Giao to Lai Chau. The 25km long pass with no marker nor mirror. Road is in the isolated area as there is no houses around. Xa Tong pass has been abandoned long ago, no car goes this way as it is too dangerous. Watching the sunset on the pass is wonderful but it also is dangerous because it will turn dark very quickly while the road ahead is long

7. Pha Long pass in Lao Cai
The pass is called Pha Long perhaps it runs through the Pha Long market, a small commune located in Muong Khuong - Lao Cai. To reach the pass, you have to go through a rugged dirt road from Can Cau. Craggy mountain pass road with boulders perched leaning sideways, running up the river flow with nearly 20km in length.

8. Gio pass in Bac Kan
Gio (Windy) pass is 12km in length, the pass is located on Highway 3 runs from Na Phac to Van Tung, Ngan Son district. Gio pass is one of the longest and most dangerous in Bac Kan province, however it is also poetic, romantic with clouds all year round. Standing atop Gio pass one can feel the splendor of the mountains here. From the above one can see the whole town of Van Tung, Na Phac and the surrounding areas. As the pass is located on high altitude it is often covered by clouds or heavy fog, making it difficult for the drivers to observe.

9. Bac Sum pass in Ha Giang
Situated between Ha Giang and Quan Ba, the pass is winding as stacked fabric curls. From Ha Giang up to 4D highway you will encounter a sudden small ramp winding around the foothill, it is also the commencement of the journey to discover interesting Dong Van rocky plateau. Bac Sum pass is seen as a giant snake running between mountains, each curve places a challenge to the drivers. Looking down from top of Bac Sum pass travelers are stunned by the imposing beauty of mountain and forest.

10. Thung Khe pass in Hoa Binh
Thung Khe pass or the White Rock, is located between Cao Phong and Mai Chau districts of Hoa Binh province on Highway 6. The pass goes through the steep, not too long and steep but notoriously dangerous. Thung Khe pass in the morning sky is clear, the sun is scorching at midday however at dusk the whole place is covered by fog. Travelers to Mai Chau from Hanoi will have a chance to enjoy the magnificent beauty of Thung Khe pass.

11. Tam Diep pass in Ninh Binh
Three successive passes are located on National Highway 1A on the territory of Tam Diep mountain range, Ninh Binh province. Driving northwards, the first pass is 68m high, the second in the middle is 110m high and the third pass is 80 meters above sea level. To the north of Tam Diem pass has a frontier passage gate, with sheer rocky sides, therefore Tam Diep pass is a dangerous defense, bring a strategic position in the military as a natural wall on the path from north to south.