Ha Giang Adventure Tours

A Pa Chai

A Pa Chai commune is located at the border junction of Vietnam, Laos and China, this is where a sound of crow is heard by 3 countries. A Pa Chai is pearched on Khoang La San, 750 km from Hanoi.

There are several ways to reach A Pa Chai from Dien Bien Phu town, the route that most visitors choose is Dien Bien - Muong Cha, Muong Nhe - Leng Su Sin military post - Ta Kho Khu - 317 Military post, this route has a total length nearly 280 km that cars can go.

To reach the border junction, beside necessary stuff and items you need to have permit from Dien Bien border guard Command. It is interesting that to conquer the Vietnam territory's westernmost place you will be guided by soldiers from 317 Military Post.

It takes about 5 km as the crow flies however you need to walk 15 km in 4 hours through the forest and crossing streams to get to the destination, this is not only a challenge to your health but also the will of conquerers.

The steep path full of rocks leads through the tall , sharp grass hills or deep into the jungle. Our journey was in dry season and the path was easier as it is slippery in the wet season, however this time is very hazy, there is always a gloomy feeling of the jungle, as a matter of fact that it is not rain the bumpy path became a formidable challenge to anyone who wants to conquer. With steep way you need to keep walking without a rest, sometimes pick up a stick to stand on.

A Pa Chai in the language of Ha Nhi people means the flat and large ground, not long ago A Pa Chai was the territory of opium with a lot of addicts, all people from children to adults even state cadres considered opium as a relief in the wild and remote mountain area. However A Pa Chai today is very different, since the national electricity was installed in the commune, people now have access to clean water and television, there are thousands of cows in the village.

A Pa Chai is located in the extreme western part of the country, would have been the last place receiving sun light, but in fact this land is located above sea level of about 1.800m. From Leng Su Sin the road starts sloping up and up, the clouds floating around the pass.

If you start from Hanoi in the evening you can arrive at Sin Thau at nightfall the following day. Guests can only spend the night in the village, fortunately Ha Nhi people are very friendly. The local elders said about ancient robbers almost gone now, the lives of local residents and other change in the direction of openness, friendliness. Many visitors feel very surprised as the host prepare hot water for guests to have a shower. In the uplands, water is scarce, it is really a priviledge to have a hot shower. Ha Nhi people say that visitors travelling away cannot bring along their homes so they treat guests to make them feel like at home.

Every month people from areas of Muong Nhe district and Van Nam province in China flock to A Pa Chai market, held on 3rd, 13th and 23rd monthly, each time when the market opens, security is tightened in order to prevent people taking advantage on the market and illegally crossed the border. To come to market you have to go through check point at the Military Post and show your identity card or passport. A Pa Chai market is unique, impressed with the way sellers and buyers agree on the price no matter you are Chinese of Vietnamese, the buyer just pick up the items and the sellers will put a price on the canculator, the sellers always have both Vietnam and Chinese money, the bargain go on until both sides agree on a price, the conversation ends.

Note: To get to A Pa Chai, any visitor must be guided by soldiers from 317 Military post and and should always follow each other because you can lose your way (as this is the border area so this procedure is compulsory, the best note if you do not want to be expelled from the area).
317 Military Post and Sin Thau village is where you can stay overnight and cook your meals, as A Pa Chai has become a tourist destination the Military Post usually have accommodation for travelers. Another choice is to have dinner and stay in Muong Nhe, remember to call to the Military Post before you arrive, the road is pretty good and it takes about 2 hours from Muong Nhe to A Pa Chai.

A Pa Chai commune in Dien Bien province

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