Explore new thing to do in Sapa with a hidden Muoi Mount for adventure-lovers

Googling "things to do in Sapa", I know the results are gonna be: trekking minority tribes, exploring Ethic market or local life, or climbing up to Fansipan Mount. These are all interesting! But this time I picked Muoi (Salt) Mount in Sapa to be my new experience for a new venture. Muoi (Salt) Mount is not too touristic and conquering it is one of the best thing I've ever done in my life.

Muoi-mountain-view thing to do in sapa

After hunting clouds many times in vain, we have succeeded. Peering out, we see not only an ocean of clouds, but also a starry sky close enough to touch. According to local people, the mountain we are climbing is named Salt mountain due to the many salt plants found growing here.

Salt mountain is part of Bach Moc Luong Tu range, which includes at its highest a peak of over 3000m and also forms a natural boundary between Lai Chau and Lao Cai. Bach Moc Luong Tu is still a relatively unfamiliar name for adventure-lovers. However, this range is consistently evoking a desire to be discovered and explored.

Discovered in 2012, Salt mountain remains very mysterious. Two routes exist going up the mountain. The more convenient option begins from Den Sung, Lai Chau, with plenty of useful information and trails established by previous groups. Meanwhile, with much less known about the way from Sang Ma Sao, Lao Cai, we were enticed to explore the path less traveled. It is indeed the right decision. Although the path is long, it is open and airy, abounding in majestic scenery.

It takes us a full day by motorbike to reach Lao Cai. A friend in Bat Xat helps us to get in contact with the village committee for Sang Ma Sao in order to find a local guide.

 Muoi-mountain-climb thing to do in sapa

Leaving the following morning, we take the path through the center of Bat Xat, across Xeo village and Muong Hum market to come to Sang Ma Sao at 9a.m. However, local people here do not know anything about Bach Moc Luong Tu as we describe it. Replying to us in babbled Vietnamese, they decide that our desire is actually to climb up Nhiu Co San, a high and famous mountain in the area. Confounded and pondering a return to Lai Chau, we are saved by a young local man, who often goes into the mountains to pick mushrooms. He agrees to take us to the highest peak. We decide to follow him although we are not sure that he will take us to Bach Moc Luong Tu.

Our H’Mong guide, Tua would like to bring his uncle, whose name is Se and whose house is in the foot of the mountain, to come with us. We begin the first 5km leg to Ky Quan San village. As we proceed, the road steadily worsens until finally we have no choice but to bring our motorbikes to a stop and place them in a local house, with the help of Tua.

So what do you think so far? Wanna keep joining our trip or not? - If do not, you could find another easier thing to do in Sapa. If you do, let's see the next amazing things.

Muoi mount Lao Cai GPS map

Equiped with a GPS (cos the higher you climb, the easier you can get GPS even no mobile wave)

 Muoi-mountain-route thing to do in sapa

Muoi-Mount-Lao-Cai thing to do in sapa

From here, we walk for nearly an hour uphill to Se’s house, Tua’s uncle. The house owner welcomes us with hospitality that moves us deeply. After having lunch, we bring an uncooked chicken for our climbing journey. We begin our climb up at 1:30p.m at a height of about 1,100m.

The first leg of our journey follows the familiar paths of local people. The actual ascent proves easy enough, however, the path has so many twists and turns that we must follow the guide very closely so as not to lose sight of him. The forest is thick and wet, with a diverse ecosystem. We pass by many high ferns, wild banana and cardamom trees, along with wild streams and wet paths. As we have departed in the afternoon, we hope to arrive at a resting place by dusk.

The higher we climb, the colder it becomes. At 6p.m, we ascend into the clouds. The sky is Mercury and only a little light remains on the horizon.  Now we are confronted with challenges afresh. In the biting cold and with hungry bellies, we must scramble over and overcome fallen tree trunks and bramble bushes in the darkness. While two guides go ahead to open the path, we stop briefly to gather and make a campfire to warm ourselves. Continuing on, we pass by a valley to arrive at a tent. It is 9p.m. The tent is built within the valley, nearby a stream and surrounded by white snowy mountain slopes. We find dry wood, set up our camp and prepare a place for grilling the chicken for our dinner.

 Muoi-mountain-night thing to do in sapa

What a feast to our eyes! The night sky is magical. We sit by the campfire and look to the heavens. I have never seen so many stars. I can see many famous constellations such as The Great Bear, Venus and  Scorpio as well as shooting stars in the sky. The night air is chilly, but the campfire keeps us warm. According to Tua and Se, the mountain we are climbing is named Salt mountain by H’Mong people because many salt plants are grown here. I’m rather sleepless during the night.

According to Tua and Se, the mountain we are climbing is named Salt mountain by H’Mong people because many salt plants are grown here.

The night passes without sleep. Due to the cold, we had to chop dry wood constantly to stay warm.  The morning arrives, and we are all so sluggish that we cannot view the sunrise on the peak after breakfast.

Throughout the forest, sunbeams penetrate through ancient trees to create a surreal scene. It is a fantastic experience to touch ancient tree roots in the warm sunshine.

 Muoi-mountain-top thing to do in Sapa

After passing through the forest and climbing over the last few steep rocky slopes, we are finally rewarded by a sea of clouds that roll like waves. Mountain peaks float amongst this white sea as if an island oasis. In the distance, Hoang Lien Son, Ngu Chi Son, Nhiu Co San and Ta Chi Nhu peaks are impose their presence in the waves of clouds.

In my opinion, the Muoi Mount is well-deserving of its praise and this absolutely should be in your Bucket List of thing to do in Sapa.

Further information:

+ It takes at least two days to climb up Salt mountain. Schedule: Hanoi – Lao Cai (Sao Viet passenger car’s last departure at 20:00); Lao Cai – Bat Xat (17km) – Muong Hum (35km) – Sang Ma Sao (6km). You can hire a motorbike to travel from Bat Xat to Muong Hum, to the People’s Committee of Sang Ma Sao village.

Travel to Ky Quan San is about 5 km from the People’s Committee. Walk in about 45 minutes to A Se’s house at the base of the mountain. Start your journey from a height of 1000m. Try to depart early to reach the campsite before dusk.

+ Stay overnight at a height of 2,100m (It takes about 5-6 hours from Se’s house).

+ Day 2: Climb up to the peak. Departing at 05:30 to view the sunrise and you will reach the peak at about 10:00am at a height of 2800m. This is the best corner to view the clouds. Here, you can go two ways:

1. Return to the camp to have lunch and go down the mountain foot at about 6p.m. Come back to Muong Hum, Sapa or Lao Cai to take a car to Hanoi.

2. Climb up Bach Moc Luong Tu peak at the height of 3,046m. Return to the camp to stay overnight and go down the mountain foot on the following morning. Come back to Muong Hum or follow the path to Den Sung, Phong Tho, Lai Chau. (Staying 2 nights on the mountain and returning to the mountain foot on the third day to Lao Cai or Sapa. Then, take a car to Hanoi).

 

Experience:

– Climb up the mountain in regular intervals and take a rest after you feel fatigued. Be careful not to rest too long as you can get cold and develop pains. You should drink little water and avoid drinking too much at a time.

– The weather on the mountain is very cold. You should bring many thick clothes, a scarf, gloves, socks, sleeping bag and thermal pads. An insulating carpet for sleeping overnight is also very necessary.

– To avoid being wet when passing by streams or going through snowy areas, you can use rain-boots.

– You must climb up to the tent, which is built by local people because this place is flat and out of the wind with a source of fresh water nearby.

– Because it is not convenient to travel by motorbike to the mountain, you should hire a local person to take you to the starting point. The price is at 10,000VND/km for the mountainous paths.

 

Further information, please contact BNS Group