Trip To A Pa Chai - The Westernmost Point Of Vietnam

As an adventure lovers, we decided to discover the westernmost point of Vietnam on a motorbike in order to enjoy magnificent landscape during the trip on winding mountain passes. Because this is my first travel to this land, so I chose Vietnam Motorcycle Tours as my companion.


Climbing to Zero Milestone on A Pa Chai

One of the interesting things about A Pa Chai is that it’s the meeting point of three nations including China, Laos and Vietnam. There is a mountain called Khoan La San whre the Zero milestone is put on. There are a few ways to reach to the mountain; however, we followed the National Highway 12, traveled through Muong Cha – Si Pa Phin – Cha Cang – Muong Nhe – Sin Thau. It is 280 km in total to drive from Dien Bien City to A Pa Chai.

The paved road was quite flat and smooth until we got to Khoan La San mountain. Reaching to the mountain foot, we left our Honda CRFLs there and began my conquering. The rugged tiny trails with full of rocks and dirt might disappoint any climber. Traveling in the midst of a spacious forest, I could feel the breath of Northwest jungle in every step. The higher Iclimbed, the colder Ifelt. Even some falls or stumbles when climbing on cliffs could not stop me from keep walking. Conquering this mountain truly requires resilience and powerful determination.

A few gulps of spring water on the way and the funny stories will be very useful to help you during the 15-km-trip. I burst with joy when reaching to the top and seeing the Zero milestone. After an exhausting trip in almost 4 hours, finally, I got to the meeting point of three countries. It was a triangle prism pole made of granite stone placed in the middle of a hexagon block about 5m each side. Vietnamese, Laos and Chinese characters are all carved on each side of the milestone and these countries’ symbols directing to territories. The view from the peak was totally amazing; looking down spacious rice paddies and humble ethnic tribe houses, I couldn’t stop myself from taking a picture to save this moment.

Necessary Tips for Tourists

It is a truly interesting trip to experience the scenic beauty of Northwest landscape in Vietnam. Perhaps, I would have dealt with a few problems without assistance from Vietnam motorbike tour guide. Here are some tips for western tourists when they travel to A Pa Chai:

Choosing the Appropriate Time

The best time for visiting A Pa Chai is from November to April. At this time, it is the dry season, and thus you can climb more easily without soil erosion or slippery. Besides, remember to avoid traveling to A Pa Chai on the holidays such as 30/4 or 2/9, because the village will be crowded at this time and it will be more difficult to find comfortable accommodations.

Places to Stay in A Pa Chai

You can find a stay in locals’ houses in Sin Thau Commune or sleep in 317 Frontier Station. The border soldiers are so friendly and hospitable, so don’t hesitate to ask them for a stay. Or else, you can stop in Muong Nhe to have meals and rest.

Procedure to Register When Visiting the Milestone

A Pa Chai is a border area, so you will need a referral from the local people or your office to register and get permission from Dien Bien Border Command. This is a compulsory procedure!

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