Ma Pi Leng Pass is 174km far away from Ha Giang city in the Northeast, 11km from Dong Van town and 13km from Meo Vac town.
Ma Pi Leng with the length of 7 km in 1200m elevation belong to Dong Van Karst Plateau, is between Dong Van and Meo Vac districts where a lot of workers recruited from 8 provinces as Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Lang Son, Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, Ha Giang, Hai Duong and Nam Dinh worked very hard for 11 months to build this road. It is, now, invested to build a stop for tourists taking photos of Nho Que river scenery and enjoying a thrilling feeling. Ma Pi Leng is considered as “the most spectacular grandiose”.
During the French time there was no road like we see today that connected Ha Giang Town with Dong Van Karst Plateau. Traffic and transportation was all done either by foot or horse and it took 3 days to get to DVKP from Ha Giang Town.
The National Road No. 4C Ha Giang-Dong Van-Meo Vac was decided to be built after North Vietnam was liberated and it took 6 years (1959-1965) to build a distance of app. 300km. So difficult to build and so happy when it was done that the road was called “The Happiness Road”. More than 2 million workdays were spent by youngsters of 16 nations from 8 provinces of North Vietnam. But what is unforgettable is the construction of the Ma Pi Leng Pass, the most difficult pass to build but also the most fascinating and beautiful pass to enjoy in Vietnam. It took the youngsters one and a half year to connect the 24km distance between Dong Van and Meo Vac Towns but the Ma Pi Leng Pass alone already took them 11 months or more than 330 days of hanging themselves on rock cliffs to make it through. There were 14 volunteer youths died here.
Ma Pi Leng, in Hmong language means “Horse nose bridge”. Some other literature sources argue it actually is Mao Pi Leng. Both explanations mean nothing else than the dangerous, breath-taking feeling of the traveler when passing by this pass, elders said that the pregnant horse could lose its baby, the male horse could be die going through that pass in the past. But perhaps only on this pass can the traveler feel the greatness of Mother Nature, due both to the deep canyon of the Nho Que river underneath and the surrounding high mountains, resulting in the height difference of more than 1km, which is added by vertical cliffs and barren rock deserts all around.
Stand in the peak of Ma Pi Leng, tourists can view the whole scene of huge highland area with endlessly range of mountain of all sizes, particularly interesting shapes. Due to geological changes, a lot of vertical cliffs were formed like giant walls. Bottom the feet of Ma Pi Leng is The Hmong’s village loom in the fog, Nho Que river runs like a colorful thread through the cliffs.
Ma Pi Leng not only is beautifully natural landscape but also a historical evidence for memorizing the volunteer youth.
In 2009, Ma Pi Leng Pass is recognized as national monument by Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Hoang Ai – hagianglocals.com