Pu Ta Leng: Adventurous Weekend Hike to the Indochina's Second Highest Mountain

Check out Pu Ta Leng in the far north of Vietnam, a hiker's favorite destination for a weekend getaway.
December 31, 2021 | 08:52
Pu Ta Leng: Adventurous Weekend Hike to the Indochina's Second Highest Mountain
Photo: A21 Travel

Located 3,049 metres above sea level on the Hoang Lien Son mountain range at Te Leng Village, Tam Duong Commune, Lai Chau Province, Pu Ta Leng is the second highest mountain in Indochina.

Putaleng in the ethnic Mông language was originally pronounced as Pu Ta Leng, with “Pu” meaning "mountain".

Visitors are attracted to Pu Ta Leng by not only the memorizing winter-flower field but also various outdoor activities like trekking and parachuting.

Pu Ta Leng: Adventurous Weekend Hike to the Indochina's Second Highest Mountain
Photo: Petro Times

Trekking Pu Ta Leng is a challenge even for veteran adventure travelers. To get to the peak, you will go through the cold streams, dense bamboo forests, and clouds of mist and fog. The whole trip takes up about 2-3 days, enough for the city folks to find themselves falling in love more and more with nature.

All the steep, nearly vertical sometimes, slopes, the tangles of the rainforest and craggy terrain makes trekking Pu Ta Leng the ultimate adventure to try for mountaineers.

Pu Ta Leng: Adventurous Weekend Hike to the Indochina's Second Highest Mountain
Photo: Petro Times

To compensate for the hard work along the way, Pu Ta Leng offers a spectacular bird’s eye view of the pristine mountains of Hoang Lien Son, veiled by thick fog.

A utopian paradise on earth

The trek consists of steeply ascending paths interwoven with nauseously descending slopes, and fresh streams filled with crystal clear water from deep within the mountain; below is the rock bed covered by lush green moss.

From 2,600m upwards, the forest opens out with more the beautiful colors of the blue sky or the deep earthy brown hue of the tree trunks reaching high for sunshine.

Still, the focal point of this natural masterpiece is undoubtedly the gorgeous blooms of purple and pink rhododendrons on top of the treetops.

Pu Ta Leng: Adventurous Weekend Hike to the Indochina's Second Highest Mountain
The flowers are both a reward and a warm welcome from the mountain/ Photo: Du Lich Viet Nam

Do Quyen, or Rhododendrons, can reach up to 7 m in height, above the dense foliage of the rainforest for sunlight and pollination. Fascinated by their beauty, we were eager to move on and explore more along the way.

When approaching 2,922m, where the whole group stops for lunch, the rainforest with ferns and trees is replaced by the towering bamboo forest.

Growing high above us, millions of bamboo trunks, all roughly 3-5cm in diameter, grow closely together, towering over the walking path forming a beautiful natural tunnel, reminding one of scenery in an Asian action movie.

Finally, reaching the summit, one feels a sense of self-satisfaction after overcoming the challenging trek. The amazing view is a reward for the struggle to ascend the mountain.

Pu Ta Leng: Adventurous Weekend Hike to the Indochina's Second Highest Mountain
Photo: Petro Times

From the big cities to Pu Ta Leng, motorbike tour is also a popular choice for daredevils. From time to time, bikers can slow down and look around to observe the beautiful surroundings. It is lovely to travel on the riverside with wild mountains, the air is so fresh at the countryside.

Pu Ta Leng: Adventurous Weekend Hike to the Indochina's Second Highest Mountain
Photo: DNQ Travel

How to get to the peak

Prepare to get up early and has breakfast, usually at dawn. From the elevation mark 2,400m, the climbing starts. The first half an hour is the hardest part in the quest to conquer Pu Ta Leng.

Pu Ta Leng: Adventurous Weekend Hike to the Indochina's Second Highest Mountain
Photo: Petro Times

Along the trek, you will encounter some small streams and the bamboo forest.

Reaching the peak of 3,049m, enjoy a small break with the breathtaking view, all in about two hours and then starts to elevation mark 2,400 m. Your footsteps are heavier now, but try to continue to mark 1,800m (the route to Ta Leng Village),

Pu Ta Leng: Adventurous Weekend Hike to the Indochina's Second Highest Mountain
Spending the second night on the tour.Photo: Hoanhap.vn

The second part of the trail will be more relaxing. From the elevation mark 1,800 m, you travel towards Ta Leng Village. The locals will let you explore around and the route may even change depends on the weather. The way back home may be different from the one you went but not to worry and trust your guide.

Pu Ta Leng: Adventurous Weekend Hike to the Indochina's Second Highest Mountain
Photo: Petro Times

Trekking with locals also means that you can have a taste of foraged wild plants and herbs as they know which are edible. The friendliness and hops of the locals will boost your energy along the exhausting trek.

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