White cliffs – a place to sleep with a view of trillions
At 5 am, I opened the tent door. A scene like in a fairyland appears before your eyes: white clouds like cotton fluttering right next to it, high green mountains are blurred like ink paintings; Under the eye, the zigzag road of Ma Pi Leng pass looks like a giant snake, on the right is the Nho Que river when it is hidden and now…
During the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic 1 year ago, my son, who was working abroad, sent me pictures that Nguyen Trung Duc, a tour guide in Ha Giang, took of him camping on a campsite. white cliffs, looking ecstatic.
I made an appointment: “The translation is over, I’ll go back, we have to camp here and sleep here!”. In mid-July 2022, my father and I fulfilled that promise.
In fact, the best time to camp overnight at the White Cliffs is around September, October, because then you can see the golden rice terraces in the rocky plateau and the weather is also more favorable.
In this July season, it rains a lot, the terraced fields have passed the pouring season, and the rice season has not yet come (the two best times to travel to the Northern mountains).
Mountains interspersed with mountains, clouds mixed with clouds, the way out – in and out of White cliffs are countless beautiful shimmering scenes
But the advantage of low-season tourism is few visitors. The white cliffs have begun to be known to many backpackers, so as long as a group of 5-6 people is present, the person who comes after will most likely have to walk back out.
With human strength, more than 1,000 young volunteers and more than 1,200 citizens made this road after nearly 6 years of construction, the most arduous was creating the Ma Pi Leng pass. The road was completed on March 20, 1965, coincident with the International Day of Happiness, so it is called the Road of Happiness.
This is the way up to the famous “death cliff”. This place will eventually be put under “administration” as a camping site at the White Cliffs to ensure the safety of adventure travelers.
Ma Pi Leng is located at an altitude of 1,500m above sea level, White Cliff is the back of a mountain at the top of this pass, where a large white limestone patch is exposed.
According to the H’mong people in Meo Vac, White Cliff is the place where the Meo King and his entourage used to stop and rest in the past. The path with stone steps leading up here has existed for a long time.
There are many ways to go to White Cliff, we chose to go by the road starting from the Monument of Youth Volunteers on Ma Pi Leng Pass (Seo Sa Lung village, Pai Lung commune, Meo Vac district, Ha Giang province). .
This is the place where the Cat King used to stop with his entourage (circled). It is now a favorite camping spot for backpackers
From there to the White Cliff, about 3km away, including more than 2km of small concrete roads, you can take motorbike taxis of local youths for 50,000 VND/person. Although it is a concrete road, it is also full of thrills for the city people, when experiencing “thousands of feet up and thousands of feet down” with heart-stopping turns.
The last leg is nearly 1km of bumpy stone steps, smooth and slippery stones after the rain were arranged by indigenous people from time immemorial…
The rocky road can only fit one person, one side is a steep cliff, one side is a deep abyss. Fortunately, in 2019, Meo Vac district invested in making handrails for this trail, both for the safety of tourists and for locals to go upland, herd mountain goats…
Although it is less than 1km of walking, it is enough for me – although I am not young, but I run 7-10km every morning – I have to catch my breath. That “sloping uphill, steep slope” is another unforgettable topographical feature of this region.
The place to set up a tent to sleep at the White Cliffs, a sight that backpacker Nguyen Dong Hoa, deputy general director of SaiGontourist, said “a view of a trillion”!
Next to the White Cliff there is a hollow cliff, creating a space that can accommodate about 5 or 6 single tents. From an altitude of about 1,200m above sea level, looking down is Nho Que river, far away undulating blue mountains and an enchanting winding road of Ma Pi Leng pass. The beautiful, majestic natural scenery makes us ecstatic.
This rock hole has an empty field with the largest width of about 3m and a width of about 10m. Here, there is a set of stones to form a “table” so that it can be used as a field table. Below is the Nho Que river, and the lights of the tourist pier watching Tu San alley
Reaching the rocky hollow to set up a tent to sleep at night, all fatigue seems to disappear. At 6 p.m., the summer sky is still bright even though a rain has just stopped. It took us 30 minutes to set up the tent, still enough time to take a few pictures before it got dark.
At 7pm, the lights of the cars traveling on Ma Pi Leng pass drew an arc of “fire” amidst the quiet scenery of the mountains when the sun went out.
After a simple dinner, I sat next to my son talking and suddenly thought that fathers and children should arrange to do overnight tent camps like this, because in the wonderful setting of nature, In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, of the quietness in a place crisscrossing the sky, father and son will easily share many things in life like between two best friends, much easier in the hustle and bustle of a bustling urban place.
Near 9am, it was dark, we went into the tent to sleep to wake up early tomorrow morning to welcome the dawn. There was no silence in the middle of the night. The sound of insects, the sound of wild animals, the sound of cars passing through Ma Pi Leng pass. But then we all fell into a good night’s sleep like never before in our lives.
Panoramic pictures change a scene every 5 minutes, making the dusty sleep more attractive
At 4:30 am, my father and I got up together, set up a tripod to prepare to record the images of the morning. In the open eye, every few minutes there is a new panorama.
Immersed in that splendid scene, I suddenly remembered a game when I was a child, with a camera with 12 beautiful scenes of film on a round paper plate.
Each time the lever is pulled down, a new fairy scene appears. Father and son, two cameras, fixed on a tripod, the 64Gb card soon reported full.
No photo is exactly the same, because when the clouds come in, the mountains fade away, the scene is like in the movie Journey to the West , when Ton Ngo Khong used a scale to jump in the sky.
At 7 a.m. we set up our tents to go back out, because the clouds began to thicken. The white cliffs gradually sink into the morning mist.
The way back in the morning is also very impressive, with colorful women rushing to go to the market early, the slopes where the sky is like a bow of clouds swooping down to harmonize with the land and the mountains.
On the hillside, scattered small houses share the same gong, sometimes dim and light. More than 3km walking back as light as not thanks to that beautiful scenery…
Early in the morning, on the way back to the Monument of Youth Volunteers, we will meet Hmong women and sisters who go to the market and go to the fields early.
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