Chieu Lau Thi

  • Chieu Lau Thi
  • 2402 m
  • Primary factor 1570 m
  • Vietnam
  • Location: North 22.66110, East 104.60277 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1
  • Climbed July 15. 2018.


How to get there:
This may be the hardest part of the trip. The closest town, near this mountain, is T.T. Vinh Quang, anbout 12 kilometer north-east of the summit. A convenient place to stay before the climb, may be at Chan Mui Homestay, a rather basic place that provides good and frindly service, it can be located at AirBnB. There is a paved (partly concrete) surfaced road to this Homestay from Vinh Quang. This location is N22.63258, E104.64645, elevation about 910 meter.
I started from the tourist town of Sapa, below follows a brief description of this travel route:
I started out from our hotel in Sapa at 0930. My driver was a bit concerned about this trip, but tried to not let it show. After traffic jam in downtown Sapa, we had a good drive back down to the toll road, roughly one hour. From there, essentially only to the next exit, before heading north-east towards Vinh Quang. The drive is quite scenic and partway, the road runs quite high, crossing over at about 1570 meter of elevation before descending to a village at elevation about 440 meter, then further down to cross the valley river on a good sized bridge at around 300 meter of elevation.
From here, the road pretty much followed the valley up to Vinh Quang. We drove through town, then a bit south before following the valley going east, then bending and going south. There is a road fork at N22.657, E104.705, one should keep right (continue south) here. Continue to N22.6237, E104.6331, well above 800 meter. Here, in a slight uphill, the road forks, take the right branch (more flat, while the left fork continues uphill). Follow this narrow road as it curves around the hillside to reach the area (initially) off to your right. You will eventually run into a sign for the homestay that points downhill (fork right). A few more turns and you have arrived.
Route description:
There is a road from this Homestay, that climbs very high on the mountain. However, this road is very bad and the standard / recommended approach is to hire a motor-bike (typically with a driver). This way, one may get quite close to the summit, with the remaining vertical being a modest 160 meter.
However, it is perfectly doable to take two nights at the homestay and do this peak as a single day hike. One would have about 1500 meter of ascent and a good path (a bad road) to follow almost all the way.
Starting from the homestay, first ascend back up the access road to the road above. Turn right, and follow this road a few hundred meter in a gradual climb. Look for and find the súmmit road that will come down to your road from the left hand side.
As soon as you are on the summit road, navigation is easy. It should be noted that the lower part (first part) was being converted to a nice (narrow) road with a concrete surface (2018). Thus, this road may indeed look very nice as you turn uphill. It is unlikely that the upper part will be similarly improved in the near future.
Follow this road all the way until location N22.65950, E104.59940, elevation about 2240 meter. The road makes a sharp right bend here (this is at or near its highest point). There are a few houses on your left hans side. The summit trail starts from here.
When I was here (2018) the work to make a concrete path with stairs and steps all the way from the road to the summit was about half way completed. Thus, this trail is very clear and easy to follow all the way to the summit marker. pen
We finally arrived shortly after 1630, so a 7 hour drive without much stop at all. A young student from Hanoi welcomed us together with the wife and the husband of the house. She studied tourism and had summer practice to teach people offering a homestay a bit of English. Later a young boy also came, his name was Kim and he was 12 years old. He spoke reasonably good English, telling me that he had some in school, but learned the language mainly from the Internet.
This homestay was very rustic, down to the basic essentials, but most likely reflecting how most people live on farms in the countryside of Vietnam. The kitchen had an open fire on the floor for cooking. The beds were made from bamboo. The dinner table was set directly on the floor with very low wooden seating. The familiy sat down in a circle to have dinner and my driver and I were asked to join. The time was around 1930, thunder and rain outside. Shortly after 2030, a young man came in, his name was Kinh (pronounced king), he was going to drive the motorcycle tomorrow. Thus, all seemed quite under control, the rain may of course, make the road even more slippery. I told him that we were in no rush and that we just should drive safely, I could also walk parts of the way that might be difficult for the bike. The plan is to leave as soon as possible after it gets light tomorrow. It has stopped raining (2100).
Woke up at 0500 after quite a comfortable night, the bed was fully protected by a quality mosquito net. '
We started out at 0530, it was just getting light. The driver was very proficient, balancing the bike past the construction work where a new concrete surface was put in place, but not yet ready to be driven on. It soon started to rain again, and we were quickly soaked. The motor-bike did its job, but almost overheated from the effort, we needed to make a short break after about 30 minutes of driving.
We arrived where the proper trail begins around 0635, it had been a wet and bumpy hour. Quite to my surprise, the path to the summit was under construction to become a "tourist-trail", with a concrete surface and steps in all uphill sections. The work seemed about half completed. The summit hike took about 20 minutes, it was still raining. There were several small snakes along this trail, however, they did not look very aggressive.
We were on top at 0700 an d stayed about 15 minutes. The return hike took 15 minutes. Next, another hour on the motor-bike, this time going downhill on a rough and partly slippery road. We made a stop also on the way down. The clouds made for good views across the surrounding landscape. Arriving back at the homestay by 0830, my driver was quite relieved. It was evident that he did not want to drive back to Sapa at night. I had already assured him that we would return in daylight, however, by seeing me, he now knew that this would in fact be the case. He had never been in this area of Vietnam before and it seemed evident that he had never before driven on such a high volume of narrow and sometimes quite rough roads.
We said goiodbye to the nice folks at the homestay, then started our 7 hour drive back to Sapa, shortly before 0900.