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Chieu Lau Thi Peak: Climbing Above a Sea of Clouds

February 25, 2024
6 Min Read
A radio tower surrounded by a mountain range covered in a blanket of clouds.
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Chieu Lau Thi Peak: Climbing Above a Sea of Clouds
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April 5, 2024
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There’s more to the Ha Giang Region in Vietnam than the famous Ha Giang Loop!

During our recent motorbike trip to the north, we discovered one of the best hiking destinations to appreciate Ha Giang's stunning scenery — Chieu Lau Thi!

Located in the Hoang Su Phi region of Ha Giang Province, Chieu Lau Thi (also known as Kieu Lieu Ti) means "nine stairs" in the local language. This refers to the stone stairs you must climb to reach the summit, which stands at 2,402m above sea level.

Find out everything you need to know about Chieu Lau Thi in Hoang Su Phi, one of the highest peaks in northeastern Vietnam. We've included our experience so you know what to expect when hiking, as well as the best time to go and where to stay nearby.

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Chieu Lau Thi Peak Overview

Entrance Fee: 5,000 VND

Elevation: 2402 m

Hiking Duration: 1 Hour

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang

Getting to Chieu Lau Thi

Chieu Lau Thi is located in Ho Thau commune, Hoang Su Phi district, Ha Giang Province. If you want to climb to the peak, the best option is to spend the night in one of the homestays in Ho Thau village before driving the 12 km long mountain pass to the beginning of the climb.

Driving up the mountain pass is almost as beautiful as climbing up to the peak as you navigate through the hairpin turns and narrow roads overlooking the mountain ranges of Ha Giang Province.

The road to the top is all paved, but very steep and windy. Watch out for the occasional goats and dogs along the road.

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Where to Park

There's a parking lot in front of the radio tower right next to the trail. The parking fee is 5,000 VND for a motorbike and 20,000 VND for a car.

Climbing Chieu Lau Thi Peak

The trail to Chieu Lau Thi Peak begins next to the parking lot on a small hill with makeshift steps carved into the ground. You’ll see a blue sign pointing to the direction of the trail.

After the hill, the pathway changes to stone stairs surrounded by lush vegetation on both sides, which decreases as you trek further up the mountain. Be cautious as the stone steps are uneven, with some having high and small footing. 

As you climb higher, the air becomes thinner and more difficult to breathe. You will come across goat feces and mossy steps that can be slippery. Continue ascending until you reach a big boulder with the trail cutting below it. This is one of the best places to stop and enjoy the view.

After the boulder, keep climbing up the steps, and you’ll reach a tiny hut with a table, this is the halfway mark. From here on, the trail descends briefly before zigzagging up the mountain. This section is known for its steep incline and numerous twists and turns, making it more challenging than the initial part of the trail. However, there are railings in place to help hikers navigate the ascent safely. 

You’ll know you’ve reached the top when the endless steps make way for flat ground. Continue past the blue sign with the bin and head to the summit, where you can get a panoramic view of the landscape and the winding mountain passes that look very impressive, especially from afar.


The highest point of Chieu Lau Thi is capped by a metal pyramid that marks the summit. The observation platform is flat and surrounded by metal railings. You can even camp at the top during the summer months.

Our Experience

We visited Hoang Su Phi in the winter, towards the end of January. The weather was cold and gloomy and we woke up to a very foggy morning.

With no guarantee of having good weather at the peak, we left our homestay in Ho Thau at 9:20am and drove through the thick fog. As we ascended up the mountain, we started noticing sun rays peeking through the fog, and the higher we drove, the brighter it got.

After driving for about 15 minutes, the sun finally came through and we were met by a breathtaking view of the rolling sea of clouds below us. 

After a quick stop, we continued our way up, hopeful for what the weather would be like at the top. It was quiet on the mountain and the only signs of life were the goats and puppies on the side of the road. The houses were few and far between, but we did notice a homestay at the beginning of the viewpoint.

It took us around 30 minutes to drive up from Ho Thau Village. The area was empty when we arrived, so we parked our bikes and ascended up. The weather was chilly and windy but with a strong sun shining down on us.

We had windy weather during our hike, although not much at the beginning, thanks to the trees that blocked the breeze. But the higher we climbed, the stronger the wind became. Combining this with the thin air made climbing Chieu Lau Thi Peak a challenge.

Even though we had seen the sea of clouds while hiking up, seeing it in its entirety at the summit, covering the mountain ranges, made the difficult hike worthwhile.

We also noticed quite a lot of garbage at the top. Our local guide had mentioned that the entrance fee for the place goes towards the maintenance of the area, but the cleaners only go up once a week.

Where to Stay

There are many local homestays in Ho Tau Village. During our visit, we stayed at Chán Mũi Homestay, which is run by a family from the Red Dao Minority. The homestay offers basic amenities but is comfortable, with sleeping arrangements divided by curtains. 

Apart from the coziness of the homestay, what stood out to us the most was the hosts' warm hospitality and delicious home-cooked meals. They also made herbal baths for us after a long day of traveling, and we listened to their stories while sitting around a wood fire in their kitchen.

To book Chán Mũi Homestay, contact the host at +84355891217

Final Thoughts

Climbing Chieu Lau Thi Peak is one of the highlights of our trip to Hoang Su Phi. We didn’t have any expectations prior to visiting, and it ended up being a challenging yet rewarding experience. The panoramic views from the summit were absolutely breathtaking, making the effort well worth it.

Additionally, we went cloud hunting in Dalat and visited Ta Xua twice, also known as the land above the clouds. However, we've never had any luck. So seeing a sea of white clouds at Chieu Lau Thi Peak was a truly magical experience that we will never forget.

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And that’s the quick guide to visiting the Chieu Lau Thi Peak in Hoang Su Phi!

If you want to see more off-the-beaten-path Vietnam destinations like this one, check out our 5-day Cao Bang motorbike itinerary. The region is rich in breathtaking natural beauty, such as the Ban Gioc Waterfall and Angel Eye Mountain.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments down below.

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