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Conquering Pu Si Lung The Roof of Vietnam Frontier

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Situated at the height of over 3000m, Pu Si Lung is the highest peak of the frontier region between Vietnam and China. This wild, charming and mysterious mountain always attracts explorers, whether their journeys are taken in cold temperatures or sweltering heat.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
      Trekking, Wildlife
    • Activity Level Difficult to Challenge
      8/8
    • Group Size Small Group
      16
    All about the Conquering Pu Si Lung The Roof of Vietnam Frontier.

    Conquering Pu Si Lung The Roof of Vietnam Frontier

    Situated at the height of over 3000m, Pu Si Lung is the highest peak of the frontier region between Vietnam and China. This wild, charming and mysterious mountain always attracts explorers, whether their journeys are taken in cold temperatures or sweltering heat.

    A detailed schedule is drawn up before the journey commences with consultation of the appropriate organizations. We submit our order sheet at the headquarters of the frontier army in Lai Chau, and then to Pa Ve Su border post, the furthest region of Muong Te district, Lai Chau province for approval. Although the way to these posts is rather long and challenging, we are enthusiastically welcomed and supported.

    Because the post helps us to prepare rice and chicken for our journey, each of us must carry more than 10 kg of our baggage. After a long trip through high slopes by motorbike, we arrive in Sin Chai A village.

    We are invited for a meal with Mr. Xy Khu Xa, the deputy head of Sin Chai A village, of mountainous chicken, pork, glutinous rice dumplings and square rice cake. Our schedule is very pressing but we are unable to refuse our host to enjoy the lavish meal. The meal is a party to celebrate the new rice after the harvest of local ethnic people. Their new rice party is often organized during three days in November lunar month. However, it also depends on every family in the village. Mr. Kien, our guide, reveals that the pork that we are enjoying has been fed for three years, as opposed to only three months in the lowland. That’s why the pork here is so delicious with crispy skin. The lunch revitalizes us for the journey ahead. Mr. Xa also gives us some square rice cakes to enjoy along the way.

    We travel to the forest’s edge and leave our motorbikes here to start climbing up. In the first leg, we climb across thick alang grass hills, some of which are burned and cleared for farming. After that, we pass by hazardous rocky grounds. Our first challenge is a big stream, across which the bridge made of tree trunks was broken in the stormy season. We have to take off our shoes and walk across the stream.

    The rough and slippery rocky bed, along with very cold water, makes our feet freezing. According to Mr. Kien, the stream water is at its most shallow in this season; however, in the rainy season, the water level may reach our waist and flow with a very strong current. We have to walk, jump or lean on fallen tree trunks on the stream to cross it. However, Mr. Binh, a border guard, with a little mistake fell in the stream just before we reached our first destination.

    After wild streams, we come to high alang grass hills. In this season, these trees bloom with white blossoms that swing in the breeze which is a beautiful sight. Seeing colorful wild daisies make us feel the long road shortened. We go up and down slopes. On some paths, plants are so overgrown that we must walk step by step or clear the path with a knife. Plants with prickles or sharp alang grass can tear our clothes or wound us at anytime.

    We arrive at our stopping station on the bank of a stream at dusk. Here, we can see a fallow shack made of dry trees and roofed with leaves. The shack is believed to be constructed by some building workers a year ago. We start to clear the ground, make a tent, look for some firewood and make a fire to cook our dinner. For a while, we gather around to have our dinner of stir-fried chicken, grilled chicken in silver paper and boiled vegetables. The border guards take out a bottle of wine and invite us to raise our glasses and drink after a tiring day.

    During our meal, Mr. Tong Trung Kien shares that he was Thai but his adoptive parents are Vietnamese. He started working at the frontier post in 1955. He has been patrolling this border area for times. For Mr. Hoang Thanh Binh, a Ha Nhi ethnic guy, recently moved from Pac Ma, this is the first time he has climbed up the mountain.

    The cozy meal lasts late into the night with everyone telling their stories. We are then lulled to sleep by the campfire by the murmuring sound of the stream under the bright moonlight.

    The following morning, we leave all of our baggage at the stop place and only bring water and some food for our lunch because we will not see any water source when we come across a fierce waterfall and a stone cave.

    The path is so sloping that we cannot catch up with the frontier guards. However, we experience the magnificence of the mountain from the mysterious clouds and fog and breathe the fresh air.

    Sometimes, we are amazed at white hills of wild flowers. And then, we pass by carpets of dry leaves and little flowers or go under the red carpet of roses. Mr. Kien shows us an area of ground, where we can see some tobacco pipes, and says that opium traders often gather here. Traveling to this border area is not easy. Though the road is long and risky, we finally reach the landmark. We shout happily when we see the milestone on the firm concrete base. Although it is noon, the fog spreads around the place. We are all hungry and cold but very happy and proud.

    The frontier guards check the milestone, perform the sacred ceremony, which is saluting the milestone, and take photos with us. My GPS machine confirms the height of 2,866m, which is the highest milestone of our country. We are excited to take photos to capture this memorable moment. We make a fire and have lunch of rice balls, sesame and salt and tinned meat.

    It is a long way from this place to Pu Si Lung peak, especially when we are all very tired and only a small amount of water is left. Because our path is also the border of Vietnam and China, we must catch up with frontier guards in order not to be lost to China. From this height, we have to go across thick bamboo forests as if we were in the “House of Flying Daggers” movie.

    Bamboos, which are cut to clear the path, accidentally create risky traps for tired travelers. After the bamboo forest, we come to a primeval forest with a diversified floristic composition. The forest is so wet that every tree is creeped with moss. Despite the stunning view, our path is actually miserably hard.

    We climb up peak by peak as if our journey would never end. Unfortunately, the worst thing happens. We run out of water!

    We are tired and thirsty, along with the feeling that our journey would not end when we go down and up peak by peak. I always open my GPS machine to spot the height. Finally, we reach the highest peak. While we are trying to climb up to the last destination, Mr. Kien is waiting for us there. It is a rather thick forest with a wooden pole carved with Chinese words about a group of scientists, who discovered this peak in 2010.

    It is 4p.m and my GPS machine shows the height of 3,085m (higher than known number: 3,076). We take our national flag and take photos in pride because we are amongst few Vietnamese conquering this roof of the border region. We are very proud because on this peak, our ancestors had fought to protect our land for thousands of years.

    It is darker. The cold weather and fog cause us go down quickly even though we travel in the darkness. Although we are all experienced climbers of many high mountains, this journey is truly a memorable and meaningful challenge

    1. Detail Program

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    Our Accommodations

    Our Accommodations:
    When Trekking we stay in friendly hotel, guesthouse or homestays. Some are more basic than others! Bear in mind that some of the places we overnight in are not on the standard tourist trail.In larger cities and towns, our hotels are generally more western style and are three or four hotels or resort. Please do not expect the same standard as you would your home.

    Our Homestays:
    Homestay in the villages is simple interm of bedding condition and ementies. We will sleep on beds or floor with mattress, clean sheet, pillow and mosquito nets. Toilet is usually western style.

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
    Our Accommodations

    Our Homestays

     

    Our trekking tours can be classified into three levels

    Easy
    There are about 8 – 10K to walk on flat roads. No previous experience is necessary. Anyone in good health and fit enough to perform an occasional hike can take an easy level trek. Vietnam easy walks are provided in Hanoi, Bac Giang, Mai Chau, Ngoc Son Ngo Luong…

    Moderate
    There are about 10 – 15K to hike on flat and hilly roads. At this point too, no special background is required. Hikers accustomed to trekking in hilly areas of Mai Chau, Pu Luong or Lai Chau, Yen Bai successfully accomplish our treks “moderate”, provided they are in good health and to have a correct fit. These treks are moderate or easy hikes with an average duration or shorter but more difficult steps.

    Difficult
    There are about 16 – 23K to trek on uphill/downhill dirty, rocky trails. Physical fitness is very important for these treks and you may have to lead you home before the trek. Most treks in this level are comparable with long rides in the Fansipan mountain or the the mountainous region of Ha Giang, Cao Bang, sometimes higher altitudes. The climate and isolation can also participate in difficulty. Prior trek experience is preferable but not vital if you have confidence in your fitness.

    Tour Guide
    Our tour guides speak English or French. Etc… They hold a university degree in tourism and national license as a guide. If you wish to send a tour leader along with any group, he or she can fully rely on the knowledge and experience of our local guides.
    Remote treks are always accompanied by a local representative to deal with permits and authorities and manage the porter team. They speak the local dialects, know the cultural traditions and give tips on suggested behavior in fragile ecological areas and tribal communities. For some itineraries, the role of tour leader and representative is combined.

    Porter
    During all trekking tours we may use local porters to carry your luggage as well as our trekking equipment, where required. To generate local income we employ local villagers for this task. Participants will have their own porter, carrying trekking equipment and luggage to a maximum of 15 kg per client. Travelers only have to carry their day packs. Read more how to pack

    Vehicle
    Depending on the nature of the tour, journeys will be accompanied by an air-conditioned car/minibus cover the larger overland sections.

    Food
    During all treks meals will be arranged on the spot, in local restaurants and at home in local villages along the way. The meals are prepared by our cooks, the local guide or by the local host. Our cooks are well trained to prepare and serve food hygienically and they cook a variety of local delicacies. Sometimes this may include the slaughter of a chicken, duck or pig. We sometimes have the chance to bring western food, and snacks from Hanoi.Etc… for breakfast and picnics along the way, and coffee and tea are available in abundance. Our cooks make a special effort to provide as much variety as possible. The porters give necessary assistance on the spot.

    Drinking water
    There are many shops and villages that have bottled water for sale. On remote trekking tours, we buy a sufficient supply of water for the next couple of days. We recommend bringing some water purifying tablets.

    Packing
    Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for travelling in Vietnam. Etc… The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat is a good idea in the rainy season. During the winter months warm clothing is needed for visiting the north of Vietnam. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious buildings such as pagoda, temple, communal house and shoes should be removed before entering a private home.
    What you take will naturally depend upon where you are travelling and the style of journey you are undertaking, and it can often be difficult to decide what to pack. Nevertheless, the following should act as a useful checklist of essential items worth thinking about taking.

    1 medium-sized backpack.
    Comfortable walking shoes with good grip
    1 long (easy to dry) pants and 1 long sleeved shirt to wear during the trek (easy to dry).
    1 pair of flip flop (sandals).
    1 pair of shorts and T-shirt to wear at camp site (2 if you do 4-day trek).
    1 medium-sized towel.
    1 medium-sized dry bag.
    Hiking poles/walking sticks
    GPS

    Responsible Tourism
    We strongly believe that Responsible Tourism can support to local communities: proving incomes,positive cultural exchanges and an incentive to protect natural environment. We recognize that there is always space for improvement. We continually strive to narrow the gap between principle and practice.

    Environment
    We have been turning environmentally responsible tourism into practices to minimize tourist impact upon the local habitat. From biodegradable soaps to re – usable water containers, we provide clients with the best information and mean to help them identify and implement effective ways to positive protect local nature and communities. It is a vital criteria that can be passed on and abided by all, long after the trip ended.

    Community
    Prior to our tours, we contact and work with local community leaders to make sure we are welcome and in a manner that minimizes negative social and cultural impacts. We visit local development and community projects specific to the region, encouraging customers to donate and assist such a projects in appropriate and sustainable manner.
    Where make sure that where and whenever possible our tours positively benefit the local community. We stayed at locally owned accommodation and visit cottage industries for local handicraft souvenir, generating income for local business. We often employ, hire support team such as local guide, motor-taxi drivers, cook assistants on all trips to ensure that the local community benefit not only short term but with increased employment opportunities for the future.

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