Where is Ma Pi Leng Pass?

Ma Pi Leng Pass is a mountain pass located in the northernmost province of Vietnam, Ha Giang. The pass lies along the border between China and Vietnam and connects Dong Van Karst Plateau to the Meo Vac district. It is considered one of the most beautiful passes in Vietnam with spectacular views of terraced rice fields and limestone mountains. Visitors can also experience the traditional culture of the ethnic minorities living in the nearby villages.

Ma Pi Leng Pass is approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Hanoi. The pass stretches for about 20 kilometers (12 miles) along the Dong Van - Meo Vac route, connecting the towns of Dong Van and Meo Vac in the heart of the UNESCO-listed Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark.

What to Expect on a Trip to Ma Pi Leng?

Ma Pi Leng Pass

Stunning view of Ma Pi Leng Pass

If you're planning a trip to Ma Pi Leng, here's what you can expect:

  1. Stunning views: The Ma Pi Leng Pass offers some of the most awe-inspiring vistas in Vietnam. You'll be treated to panoramic views of towering limestone mountains, deep valleys, and the Nho Que River winding through the landscape.

  2. Challenging roads: The journey along Ma Pi Leng Pass is not for the faint-hearted. The narrow, winding roads cling to the steep mountainsides, making for an exhilarating ride. Be prepared for sharp turns, steep inclines, and thrilling descents.

  3. Adventure activities: For adrenaline junkies, Ma Pi Leng offers plenty of opportunities for adventure. Hiking, motorbike riding, and cycling are popular activities in the area. There are also several trekking routes to explore, such as the Tu San Canyon and Nho Que River trails.

  4. Cultural experiences: A trip to Ma Pi Leng is incomplete without immersing yourself in the local culture. The region is home to various ethnic minority groups, such as the H'mong, Dao, and Tay people. Visit traditional villages, participate in local festivals, and learn about their unique customs and traditions.

  5. Local cuisine: Don't miss out on trying the delicious local dishes during your visit. Some popular options include Thang Co (a stew made with horse meat), Men Men (steamed corn flour), and Au Tau porridge (a medicinal rice dish).

  6. Beautiful accommodations: Stay in a cozy homestay or guesthouse to experience local hospitality and enjoy the stunning surroundings. Many accommodations offer incredible views of the mountains and valleys, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of Ma Pi Leng.

  7. Variable weather: The weather in Ma Pi Leng can be unpredictable, so it's essential to pack accordingly. Be prepared for sudden rain showers, fog, and cooler temperatures, especially during the winter months.

When is the Best Time to Visit Ma Pi Leng?

Ma Pi Leng Pass

Sunrise in Ma Pi Leng

The Weather in Ma Pi Leng

The weather in Ma Pi Leng Pass, located in the Ha Giang province of northern Vietnam, can be quite diverse and unpredictable due to its mountainous terrain. The climate can be generally divided into two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

  • Dry Season (October to April): The dry season offers more stable weather conditions with less rainfall and clearer skies. During this period, temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F), making it comfortable for outdoor activities. However, the winter months (December to February) can be quite cold, with temperatures dropping as low as 5°C (41°F) at night, especially at higher elevations.

  • Rainy Season (May to September): The rainy season brings heavy rainfall, increased humidity, and the possibility of landslides and road closures. Temperatures during this time range from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). The rain can make traveling more challenging and potentially dangerous, so it's not an ideal time to visit Ma Pi Leng Pass.

Due to the mountainous nature of the region, microclimates can cause sudden changes in weather, including fog, rain showers, and cooler temperatures even during the dry season. It's essential to pack appropriate clothing and be prepared for varying weather conditions when visiting Ma Pi Leng Pass.

Best Time to Visit Ma Pi Leng

The best time to visit Ma Pi Leng Pass in Ha Giang province, Vietnam, is during the dry season, which typically falls between October and April. During this period, the weather is generally more stable, with less rainfall and clearer skies, providing better visibility of the stunning landscapes.

Ma Pi Leng Pass

Best time to visit Ma Pi Leng

Here's a breakdown of the best times to visit Ma Pi Leng:

  1. October to November: This period is considered the peak season for visiting Ma Pi Leng Pass. The weather is cool and pleasant, and the landscape is adorned with vibrant colors due to the rice harvest season. This is also a great time to witness the golden terraced rice fields and experience local festivals such as the Khau Vai Love Market.

  2. February to April: This period marks the end of the dry season and offers mild temperatures and comfortable weather conditions for exploring the pass. The valleys and mountains are covered in lush greenery, and you may also have the opportunity to witness blooming flowers like peach blossoms and plum blossoms.

However, it's essential to keep in mind that the weather in Ma Pi Leng can be unpredictable, so be prepared for occasional rain showers and foggy conditions even during the dry season. Additionally, the temperatures can drop significantly during the winter months (December to February), so make sure to pack warm clothing.

It's best to avoid visiting Ma Pi Leng during the rainy season, which typically lasts from May to September. The heavy rainfall can lead to landslides, road closures, and reduced visibility, making travel more challenging and potentially dangerous.

How to Get to Ha Giang from Hanoi:

Ma Pi Leng Pass

Ha Noi to Ha Giang bus

By Bus

Taking a bus is the most common and convenient way to travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang. Several bus companies operate daily sleeper buses, with travel times ranging from 6 to 8 hours.

Best and Cheapest Bus Companies:

  • Hung Thanh Bus (+84 24 3993 9339): This reputable company offers daily sleeper buses at affordable prices. Tickets typically cost around 200,000 VND to 250,000 VND ($8.50-$11) per person. Daily departures are at 7:00 AM, 6:30 PM, and 9:00 PM.

  • Quang Tuyen Bus (+84 983 137 483): Quang Tuyen Bus is another reliable option for travelers on a budget. Tickets usually cost about 220,000 VND ($9.50) per person. Daily departures are at 7:30 AM, 8:30 PM, and 9:00 PM.

Ma Pi Leng Pass

Go to Ha Giang by car

By Private Car

Hiring a private car is another option for travelers seeking comfort and flexibility. This mode of transportation is more expensive than taking a bus but allows you to travel at your own pace and make stops as desired. The journey takes around 6 to 7 hours.

Best Route, Travel Time, and Distance:

The best route to take when traveling by private car from Hanoi to Ha Giang is via the QL2 and QL279 highways. The distance between Hanoi and Ha Giang is approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles). The estimated travel time ranges from 6 to 7 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the number of stops you make along the way.

Reliable Car Rental Companies for Hanoi to Ha Giang Route:

  • Hanoi Journey Rent a Car (+84 936 859 189): This company provides private car services from Hanoi to Ha Giang with experienced drivers. Rates start at around $150 per day for a 4-seater car, including the driver's fee, fuel, and tolls.

  • AVIS Vietnam (+84 96 555 5969): AVIS is an internationally recognized car rental company that offers chauffeur-driven services in Vietnam. For trips from Hanoi to Ha Giang, rates start at around $140 per day for a 4-seater car, including the driver's fee, fuel, and tolls.

  • Vietnam Car Hire (+84 98 983 1863): Vietnam Car Hire is a reputable company offering private cars with drivers for trips between Hanoi and Ha Giang. Their rates start at around $135 per day for a 4-seater car, including the driver's fee, fuel, and tolls. They also offer larger vehicles for groups.

By Motorbike

For those seeking a more adventurous journey, renting a motorbike in Hanoi and driving to Ha Giang is an option. The ride takes approximately 8 to 10 hours, depending on your speed, and stops along the way. Be prepared for challenging road conditions, and make sure you have a valid Vietnamese driving license or an international driving permit.

Motorbike Route:

  • Route 1: Hanoi - Son Tay - 21 Co Nhue Street - Trung Ha Bridge - Co Tiet - Phong Chau Bridge - Song Thau - Phu Tho Town - Doan Hung - Tuyen Quang - National Highway 2 - Ha Giang

  • Route 2: Hanoi - Thang Long Bridge - Vinh Phuc - Viet Tri - Phu Tho - Tuyen Quang - Ha Giang

Prerequisites for Renting a Motorbike:

  1. Driving License: To legally drive a motorbike in Vietnam, you need either a valid Vietnamese driving license (A1 or A2 category) or an International Driving Permit (IDP) with the appropriate motorcycle endorsement. Keep in mind that not all countries' IDPs are recognized in Vietnam, so check if your country's IDP is accepted before your trip.

  2. Passport: Most rental shops will require you to present your passport as identification. Some shops may also ask to hold your passport as collateral during the rental period. If you're uncomfortable with this, consider providing a photocopy of your passport and a cash deposit instead.

Ma Pi Leng Pass

Go to Ha Giang by motorbike

Best Places to Rent Motorbikes and Prices in Hanoi:

  • Style Motorbikes (+84 375 526 367): Located in the Old Quarter, Style Motorbikes offers well-maintained motorbikes and provides good customer service. Prices range from 200,000 VND to 350,000 VND per day ($8.50-$15), depending on the motorbike's model and type.

  • Tigit Motorbikes (+84 386 518 481): Tigit Motorbikes is known for its quality motorbikes and excellent customer service. Prices start at around 300,000 VND per day ($13) for manual motorbikes and 400,000 VND per day ($17) for scooters.

What to Look Out for Before Renting a Motorbike:

  1. Examine the motorbike: Check for any visible damage, and test the brakes, lights, horns, and tires. Ensure the motorbike is in good working condition before signing the rental agreement.

  2. Legalities: Confirm that the rental shop has the proper permits and insurance coverage. Make sure you have the necessary driving license or IDP to avoid potential fines or legal issues.

  3. Rental Agreement: Read the rental agreement carefully and understand the terms and conditions, including the procedure in case of accidents, theft, or breakdowns.

  4. Helmets: Ensure that the rental shop provides good quality helmets for both the driver and passenger.

Ma Pi Leng Pass

A guided tour to Ha Giang

By Guided Tour

Another option is to join a guided tour or hire a local guide who can help you navigate the route and provide valuable insights into the region's culture and history. Tours can range from one day to several days, depending on your preferences and itinerary. Many tours include transportation, accommodations, meals, and entrance fees to various attractions.

If you want a more laid-back and joyful experience, contact New Asia Tours today and let us take you on an unforgettable journey!

Want to explore further? Check out our post about travel guide to Vietnam!

How to get to Ma Pi Leng Pass from Ha Giang

The most common way to get from Ha Giang to Ma Pi Leng Pass is by motorbike or private car. You can either rent a motorbike in Ha Giang or join a guided tour. The journey takes about 2 to 3 hours, depending on the road conditions and your driving speed.

Best Places to Rent Motorbikes and Prices in Ha Giang:

  • QT Motorbikes & Tours: This rental shop in Ha Giang is popular among travelers due to its reliable motorbikes and helpful staff. Prices range from 200,000 VND to 300,000 VND per day ($8.50-$13), depending on the motorbike's model and type.

  • Thong Nguyen Motorbike Rental: Thong Nguyen is another reputable rental shop in Ha Giang, offering well-maintained motorbikes at reasonable prices, starting from 200,000 VND per day ($8.50).

What to See in Ma Pi Leng Pass?

Top Attractions and Must-See Sights

Ma Pi Leng Skywalk

ma pi leng pass

Ma Pi Leng skywalk

This glass-bottomed viewing platform juts out from the mountainside, providing spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the Nho Que River winding through the valley below. The Skywalk is an ideal spot for capturing stunning photographs and admiring the beauty of the region. Admission is free, but you may be required to pay a small parking fee for motorbikes or cars.

Nho Que River

nho que river ha giang

Ride along the Nho Que river

This turquoise river snakes its way through the valley beneath the Ma Pi Leng Pass, creating a striking contrast against the rugged mountains. Visitors can opt for a boat ride along the river to appreciate the area's natural beauty up close. Prices vary depending on the operator and length of the tour, ranging from 100,000 VND to 200,000 VND ($4-$9) per person.

Lung Cu Flag Tower

Lung Cu Flag Tower

Climb Lung Cu Flag Tower

Situated near the border with China, Lung Cu Flag Tower marks the northernmost point of Vietnam. Climbing to the top of the tower rewards visitors with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including terraced rice fields and distant mountains. Admission is 20,000 VND (around $1) per person.

Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark

Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark

Explore Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark

This UNESCO World Heritage Site and Global Geopark is home to majestic limestone formations, breathtaking cliffs, and exotic flora and fauna. It is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers.

Hidden Gems

H'Mong King's Palace (Vuong Family Mansion)

H Mong King's Palace

Visit H'Mong King's Palace

This historic palace once belonged to the Vuong family, who ruled over the region in the early 20th century. The mansion showcases traditional H'Mong architecture and offers insights into the area's history and culture.

Moc May Cliff

Moc May Cliff

Sit on Moc May cliff

Located off the beaten path, Moc May Cliff provides stunning views of the Ma Pi Leng Pass and its surrounding landscape. The area is perfect for hiking and biking enthusiasts seeking a more challenging and less crowded route.

Tu San Canyon

Tu San Canyon ha giang

Significant view of Tu San 

This lesser-known canyon features towering cliffs and the deepest gorge in Southeast Asia. Visitors can hike along the edge of the canyon or take a boat trip on the Nho Que River to witness the geological marvels up close.

Lung Cam Cultural Village

Lung Cam Cultural Village ha giang

A peaceful and unique beauty of Lung Cam Cultural Village

This traditional H'Mong village is home to several ancient stilt houses and rice terraces. Visitors can explore the village and learn about the culture and customs of its people.


Hiking and Biking

ma pi leng pass

Ride along the roads of Ha Giang

The Ma Pi Leng Pass offers numerous hiking and biking trails that lead to spectacular viewpoints, hidden caves, and remote villages. These activities allow visitors to immerse themselves in the region's natural beauty while experiencing local culture firsthand.

Soaking in Natural Hot Springs

ma pi leng pass ha giang

Quang Nguyen Hot Spring

The region boasts several natural hot springs, such as the Quang Nguyen Hot Spring. Relaxing in these soothing mineral-rich waters is an ideal way to unwind after a day of exploration.

What to Pack for Your Trip to Ma Pi Leng?

ma pi leng pass

What to Pack for Your Trip to Ma Pi Leng


The climate in Ma Pi Leng can be quite variable, with cooler temperatures at higher altitudes and warmer weather in the valleys. Pack lightweight, breathable clothing for warm days, along with a sweater or light jacket for cooler evenings. 

During the rainy season (May to September), bring a waterproof jacket and sturdy shoes that can handle wet conditions. If you're traveling during the winter months, pack warm layers, including thermal clothing, scarves, and gloves.

Essential Gadgets

Bring a smartphone or camera for capturing stunning landscapes and memorable moments. Don't forget to pack extra memory cards and charging cables or portable power banks. A flashlight or headlamp is useful for early morning hikes or exploring caves.

Safety Gear

If you plan to rent a motorbike, consider bringing your helmet for comfort and safety. A first-aid kit, insect repellent, and sunscreen are also essential items to ensure a stress-free vacation.

Other Items

Pack a reusable water bottle, snacks, and a lightweight daypack for carrying essentials during hikes and excursions. A waterproof bag or dry sack can protect your belongings during boat rides or in case of unexpected rain.

Where to Stay During Your Trip?

The towns of Dong Van and Meo Vac are the most convenient and comfortable locations to stay near Ma Pi Leng Pass. Both towns offer a range of accommodation options, easy access to local attractions, and amenities such as restaurants and shops.


where to stay in ha giang

Yen Bien Luxury Hotel

Phoenix Hotel Ha Giang: This 4-star hotel in Ha Giang is situated close to the city center and offers modern amenities. Prices range from $45 to $155 per night.

  • Address: 92T Nguyen Trai Street, Ha Giang

  • Phone: +84 2178 783 888

Yen Bien Luxury Hotel: This 3-star hotel in Dong Van offers modern rooms with all the necessary amenities. Prices range from $30 to $100 per night.

  • Address: No. 517 Nguyen Trai, Ha Giang

  • Phone: +84 219 3899 999

Ha Giang Historic Hotel: This historic hotel in Dong Van offers a unique atmosphere, with traditional H'Mong architecture and antique furnishings. Prices range from $35 to $60 per night.

  • Address: 209 Minh Khai Street, Ha Giang

  • Phone: +84 97 408 79 88

Silk River Hotel Ha Giang: This is a 3-star hotel located in the heart of Ha Giang, with easy access to local attractions. Prices range from $25 to $60 per night.

  • Address: 90 Nguyen Trai Street, Ha Giang

  • Phone: +84 889 775 678

Homestays and Guesthouses:

Auberge de Meo Vac (Meo Vac): This guesthouse provides private rooms with en-suite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, and a shared lounge area. Prices range from $11 to $15 per night.

  • Address: Group 6, Meo Vac Town, Ha Giang

  • Phone: +84 96 373 94 46

Ha Giang Ali Hostel: This guesthouse offers basic but comfortable rooms at an affordable price. Prices range from $6 to $11) per night.

  • Address: Ha Thanh - Lup Village, Phuong Thien, Vi Xuyen, Ha Giang

  • Phone: +84 787 652 333

Maison Teahouse Bungalow: This family-run homestay in Meo Vac offers a cozy atmosphere and home-cooked meals. Prices range from $5 to $145 per night.

  • Address: 441 August 20, Phuong Do, Ha Giang

  • Phone: +84 91 214 98 89


Green Hill Hostel & Tour: This hostel in Ha Giang offers basic accommodations at an affordable price. Guests can also book local tours and activities from the hostel. Prices range from $5 to $20 per night.

  • Address: No. 529a Nguyen Van Linh, Quang Trung Ward, Ha Giang

  • Phone: +84 91 434 20 35

Bong Hostel and Motorbike Tour: This hostel in Ha Giang offers basic dormitory beds, motorbike rentals, and tours of the region. Prices range from $4 to $6 per night.

  • Address: 59a Nguyen Thai Hoc, Street, Ha Giang

  • Phone: +84 888 526 606

Lucky House Ha Giang: This hostel in Ha Giang offers dormitory beds at budget-friendly prices. Prices range from $3 to $6 per night.

  • Address: 80/02 Ly Tu Trong, Minh Khai Ward, Ha Giang

  • Phone: +84 862 217 995

A Recommended Itinerary for a Trip to Ma Pi Leng

ma pi leng pass

Stunning Ma Pi Leng Pass

Here's a recommended 3-day itinerary for a trip to Ma Pi Leng Pass in Ha Giang, Vietnam:

Day 1: Arrival and Exploration of Dong Van

  • Arrive in Ha Giang City and rent a motorbike or hire a driver to take you to Dong Van (approximately 4-5 hours).

  • Check-in at your chosen accommodation in Dong Van.

  • Explore Dong Van Old Quarter, a well-preserved area with traditional H'Mong houses and local shops.

  • Visit the H'Mong King's Palace (Vuong Family Mansion) to learn about the history and culture of the region.

  • Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Dong Van, trying out regional specialties like "thang co" and "au tau" porridge.

Day 2: Lung Cu Flag Tower and Ma Pi Leng Pass

  • After breakfast, head to Lung Cu Flag Tower, the northernmost point of Vietnam, for a breathtaking view.

  • Take in the stunning scenery along the winding road to Ma Pi Leng Pass.

  • Stop at Nho Que River and enjoy lunch with a panoramic backdrop of the lush valley below.

  • Spend the afternoon exploring Ma Pi Leng Pass, admiring the rugged landscape and vibrant colors of nature.

  • Head back to Dong Van and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 3: Meo Vac and Departure

  • After breakfast, drive to Meo Vac Town (approximately one hour).

  • Visit the "Love Market" in Meo Vac on Sunday Morning to observe the traditional customs of local ethnic minorities.

  • Explore local craftsmanship stores for souvenirs and unique gifts.

  • Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Meo Vac.

  • Depart from Meo Vac and drive back to Ha Giang City (approximately 4-5 hours).

10 Safety Tips for Traveling to Ma Pi Leng

Ma Pi Leng Pass is an incredible destination, filled with stunning mountain views and unique cultural experiences. But as with any trip, safety is paramount. Here are 10 safety tips to ensure you have a great time exploring Ma Pi Leng Pass:

  1. Always bring a map and GPS to make sure you don’t get lost.

  2. Bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen with you.

  3. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for outdoor activities such as hiking or biking.

  4. Avoid driving at night as the roads can be dangerous due to poor visibility.

  5. Let someone know your exact itinerary before embarking on your journey so they can track you in case of any emergencies.

  6. Learn some basic phrases in Vietnamese to help communicate with locals if needed.

  7. Stay alert when walking around small villages and keep an eye out for wild animals that may cross your path during hikes or bike rides.

  8. Keep all your important documents such as your passport, driver's license, and insurance policies in a safe place.

  9. Bring cash with you as there are limited ATMs in the area.

  10. Respect local customs and be mindful of any cultural or religious practices around you.


Q: How far is Ma Pi Leng from Hanoi?

A: The distance between Hanoi and Ma Pi Leng Pass is around 311 kilometers, and the drive takes about 8-9 hours.

Q: Is it safe to travel to Ma Pi Leng?

A: Yes, it is generally safe to travel to Ma Pi Leng. However, it is recommended to exercise caution while visiting this region as there may be some areas with limited infrastructure and services. Additionally, there are certain safety tips that you should adhere to when visiting the area such as avoiding traveling at night and carrying a first aid kit.

Q: Can I take my vehicle to Ma Pi Leng?

A: Yes, it is possible to take your vehicle with you to Ma Pi Leng Pass. However, make sure that your car has been serviced and checked for any potential issues before embarking on the trip. Additionally, you should also carry a spare tire and other important tools that may be needed in case of a breakdown.

Q: What is the best way to explore the area around Ma Pi Leng Pass?

A: The best way to explore the area around Ma Pi Leng Pass is by taking a 4x4 vehicle or motorbike. This will allow you to traverse through the winding mountain roads and take in the stunning scenery of the region. Additionally, it is also possible to join guided tours that will provide an insightful and informative experience.

Ma Pi Leng Pass is an incredible destination for travelers looking to explore the stunning landscapes and unique culture of Northern Vietnam. With its winding mountain roads, lush valleys, and stunning panoramic views, Ma Pi Leng is a must-visit destination for any adventure seeker. Make sure to follow the safety tips provided and plan by researching local customs and booking accommodation in advance to ensure you have a great time exploring Ma Pi Leng Pass. If you want a more laid-back and joyful Vietnam package tour, contact New Asia Tours today and let us take you on an unforgettable journey!