Remote, rural Yen Minh is an unremarkable town surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in Vietnam.
Yen Minh town may not be anything particularly special, but it has one of the most incredible approaches you'll ever drive along. The Ma Pi Leng Pass, or "Heaven's Gate", is thoroughly deserving of its celestial moniker, taking you along treeless, near-vertical valleys beneath peaks that pierce the clouds.
Due to its high altitude, the landscape around Yen Minh is rather barren and rocky, making a stark contrast to the lush forests and lakes of the lower highlands - and making it an exceedingly difficult landscape to farm. Despite this, the local Hmong minorities have managed to adapt their farming style to the steep, rocky terrain, building terraces to grow corn and rice and making the most of the flat land along riverbanks in the Yen Minh Valley.
While you're in Yen Minh - whether you're on your way to Meo Vac, Ha Giang or Dong Van - make time to stop at the Vuong Palace, a Chinese-style mansion built by the local Hmong lords at the turn of the 20th century. These feudal lords controlled the region until 1945, growing rich from the production of opium, and their palace is the most interesting building in the region.
Featured trips including Yen Minh
- Ba Be
- Meo Vac
- Yen Minh
- Hoang Su Phi
- Bac Ha
- Halong Bay
Discover life on the roof of Vietnam, where rice paddies climb mountainsides like staircases and hill tribes follow customs unchanged for centuries.
12 nights: from US$2462 pp (twin share) Read more >