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27 Mar
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Conquering Lao Than mountain in Lao Cai province

Lang Lan is considered “the roof of Y Ty”, in Phin Ho village, Y Ty commune, Bat Xat district, Lao Cai province. Lao Than’s peak is 2.862m above sea level, which makes it an ideal destination for mountaineering enthusiasts next to the Fansipan of Sapa.

Y Ty clouds. Photo: Nguyen Huu Son


If you have conquered “the roof of Indochina” – Fansipan (Sapa, Lao Cai), then conquering the Lao Than in Bat Xat district, Lao Cai province, will not be too difficult. However, for many travelers, whose lifestyle is mostly sitting in front of a computer, and then it would be quite a challenge. I myself, along with many others participating in examining the walking route to conquer Lao Than that day, have to say that we were very proud of ourselves.

The weather in Lao Cai in general is suitable for climbing all year round. Except for rainy days, every season brings different and interesting experiences for visitors. In the spring, there are white clouds. In contrast, the summer sky is very clear.

Autumn’s weather is beautiful with light sunshine. Last but not least, in winter time, days are foggy with tree branches, flowers,… scattered everywhere, more than enough to arouse the enthusiasm of Lao Than’s conqueror.

We went there in a group of nearly 30 people that day, including representatives from different businesses such as travel agencies, accommodation, restaurants, transportation, teachers, and reporters. We started our journey from Y Ty commune at 8:30 with the guidance of a member of the local poster group, Sung A Ho. We plan to conquer the summit at about 13:00 that day and descend in the afternoon. The first section of the route slightly slopes for about 1 km. The road was steep and high, which was quite challenging. Due to the steep path, some of us had to go back down before ever reaching the top. Although it could be easy for professional athletes or regular mountain climbers, it was definitely not easy for our crew. At some point, we had to stop and take a breath every 10m, but we kept moving forward. Just like that, we motivated each other and kept the morale high.

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Unlike other typical tourist groups, we all brought our own cameras, lunch, fruit, and water to use for the journey. The poster group is just in charge of guiding and storing water just in case anyone goes missing. The native poster guy was walking and talking to distract us from feeling tired. When we faced steep sections of the route, he quickly collected dry branches along the road to make walking sticks that have helped us a lot on our way to conquering the top of the mountain. When walking past beautiful sights, our friend turned into a professional cameraman who helped us take memorable pictures, which we will keep for life.

On the top of Lao Than, you can enjoy the whole landscape and take pictures


From talking with Sung A Ho, we found out that the length of the journey is 7km, which would be a total of 14km for the whole trip. The first section is a bit steep, where you can still see the locals’ houses. Continuing on the path, we find ourselves at “the Heaven’s Gate” as the path is not covered by trees anymore, and we can see very far, which makes it the most beautiful part of the journey. From here, we’ll climb the last few steep slopes to the Lao Than summit.

On the top of Lao Than, we can freely enjoy the whole landscape and take pictures. Fresh green hills full of tree sprouts in the background are such a rare sight for us to see. Our friend explained that because of the previous cold weather, the whole area was covered with ice. Most of the bushes and small trees could not survive. That is why we were able to find so many green sprouts, which is a rare and beautiful sight. Lao Than is so special because every time we conquer the mountain, there is a change of scenery. New emotions will come to us every time we step foot here. For the first time in our lives, our crew enjoyed lunch on top of a mountain in such an open space with no trees around us. Experiencing these strange emotions would not have been possible without conquering the mountain for ourselves. The Lao Than Peak brought all of us ultimate happiness that day. After such a challenging journey, we were overwhelmed with emotions on “the roof of Y Ty”. We posed in every pose that we could think of for countless pictures and put on our faces the smile of a winner. It was beyond all our expectations, and we decided that the challenge and the journey were surely worth it.

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The road to Lao Than is quite challenging

Going up from the sky gate, there is a tent area which can hold hundreds of people, with kitchens and toilets. This is an ideal checkpoint for those who choose to go overnight to conquer the Lao Than peak. Visitors can camp overnight, watch the stars shine, and listen to the song of the wind. From here, visitors can quickly travel to the top to watch the sunrise. The top of the mountain will be covered clouds. The winds will rush clouds from the valley to the ridge. Anywhere tourists stand will become their own personal observatory.

Phuoc Ha

(Vietnam Today 5.2022)

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