Pu Ta Leng Mountain is located in Hoang Lien Son mountain range, at Ta Leng village, Tam Duong commune, Lai Chau province. Its peak, at 3,049 meters above sea level is the second highest peak in Indochina.
Pu Ta Leng Mountain has magnificent terrain and harsh climate nurturing the most beautiful rhododendrons in the north of Vietnam. The tree can reach up to 7 meters in height, above the dense foliage of the rain-forest for sunlight and pollination.
Therefore, visitors are attracted to Pu Ta Leng by not only the bright rhododendrons but also various outdoor activities such as trekking through the streams, dense bamboo forests, and clouds of mist and fog.
Climbing Pu Ta Leng Peak is not a piece of cake even for experienced hikers because of the steep, nearly vertical sometimes, slopes, the tangles of the rain-forest and craggy terrain.
To compensate for the hard work along the way, Pu Ta Leng Mountain offers a spectacular bird’s eye view of the pristine mountains of Hoang Lien Son, veiled by thick fog. On the summit, it feels like a utopian paradise.
Pu Ta Leng trek consists of steeply ascending paths interwoven with nauseously descending slopes, and fresh streams filled with crystal clear water from deep within the mountain. 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.
When approaching 2,922m, where hikers used to stop for lunch, the rain forest with ferns and trees are 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.
Reaching the peak of Pu Ta Leng Mountain, one feels a sense of self-satisfaction after overcoming the challenges of Mother Nature, honoring and admiring her splendid creation and great gifts. All those emotions and feelings go beyond words.
How to get there?
To conquer Pu Ta Leng mountain, you will need to arrive in Tam Duong town, Lai Chau province. There are both day and night buses serving the route Hanoi – Lai Chau with stop in Tam Duong.
Once in Tam Duong, you will need to take a bike to get to Ho Thau commune. From there the mountain trail begins.
What’s the best time to conquer Pu Ta Leng peak?
The best time of year to climb Putaleng mountain and to watch the clouds is between October and February, when the cool air causes clouds to gather around the mountain. This is also the winter in the northern Vietnam.
The weather conditions near the mountain are often foggy and windy. The path to the peak is almost vertical, sometimes like walking on a ridge.
From the foothills, dense fog surrounds the area, not to mention strong winds, which become stronger near the top, whipping climbers’ faces. On the way, you will see fields of flowers and small streams.
The trekking up was tough, but the nature scenery was worth it.
Pu Ta Leng guided trek
Although Pu Ta Leng peak is lower compared to Mount Fansipan (the highest mount 3,143m in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai), the way to the summit is also challenging, especially in bad weather conditions.
To ensure that climbers’ trips are safe, they should contact local authorities and hire a qualified local guide. If you book a guided trek through a tour operator or join a group tour, the trekking permit will be handled by the tour company.
Where to stay?
Hikers who conquer the Putaleng mountain can stay overnight at the transient station where they can camp overnight. From here, hiker have to climb several kilometers to reach the final destination, where they will feel as though they can reach out to grab those lazy, floating clouds surrounding them, which create a fairy tale-like world.