Chi Lang Passage
Chi Lang Passage

Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son Highlights

Chi Lang Passage is located in Chi Lang District, Lang Son Province, near the newly-built highway 1A from Hanoi to Lang Son. The passage is 110km north of Hanoi, 60km south of the Chinese Border and 40km south of Lang Son City.

Chi Lang Passage has come into the legend of Vietnam in the myriad resistance wars against the invasions from the north. The most convenient way to invade Vietnam from the north is to come via Lang Son and move southward to Hanoi, which most of the invasions into Vietnam took place in history. But this way, the invaders must face the deadly ground of Chi Lang Passage. Many of them didn't make it through and many passed through only to be killed trying to escape back.
Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
 
 The passage of Chi Lang runs along the north-south axis and is formed by two mountain ranges: the Kai Kinh to the west and the Bao Dai to the east. The Chi Lang Passage is 3km wide and 20km long, and there are separated rocky mountain peaks at both ends of the mountain ranges, which makes it more of deadly a ground for those passing through on the passage.
 
 
Karst mountains at Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
Karst mountains at Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
 
 At the northern end of the passage, there is a gate called Quy Mon Quan which means the Gate of Monsters where many of the invaders came to Vietnam in the numerous incursions had to enter and where many were killed by the Vietnamese defenders.
 
Chi Lang Passage by the mountains - Lang Son
Chi Lang Passage by the mountains - Lang Son
 
At the southern end of the passage, the gate is called the Gate of Oath where the Vietnamese swore not to allow the invaders to pass through the passage without being killed. 
 
View looking down Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
View looking down Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
 
In 981, the Song troops from China invaded Vietnam for the first time. King Le Dai Hanh (Le Hoan) patrolled along the border region trying to find the way to fight the enemy. When he came to Chi Lang, he found it a deadly natural trap that could diminish the invaders' powerfulness and could annihilate them when they were weakened. And when the enemy came to Chi Lang, a trap against them by the Kinh-Tay-Nung Minorities with stone-throwing machines, with toxic arrows, with long spears...was set. The Song General Hau Nhan Bao (Hou Renbao) and many of his troops were killed and Vietnam was well protected after the first invasion by the Song troops.
 
Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
View of Chi Lang from above
 
In 1076, General Commander in Chief Ly Thuong Kiet assigned General Than Canh Phuc, who was also a king's son in law, who commanded the ambush troops to weaken the invaders when they were coming in at Chi Lang Passage, which helped to make the military victory of Vietnam on the Nhu Nguyet River in 1077, and which helped to bring in the truce later. This invasion was led by the Song General Commander in Chief Quach Quy ( Guo Kui: 1022–1088) and Vice General Trieu Tiet (Zhao Di). 
 
A narrow path at Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
A narrow path at Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
 
In 1085, the Mongol Yuan troops came to Vietnam via Lang Son. General Commander in Chief Tran Quoc Tuan (Tran Hung Dao) set hidden traps in the ground with his troops using machetes to hack off legs of the horses...which brought in victory for the Vietnamese.

In 1427, Marshall Lieu Thang (Liu Sheng) led the enforcement troops to rescue the besieged Ming troops at Dong Quan Citadel (Hanoi). At Chi Lang Passage, he was lured into an ambush and beheaded by General Le Sat.

The new big road at Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
 The new big road at Chi Lang Passage - Lang Son
 
 Nowadays, with the newly-built 1A Highway, Chi Lang Passage doesn't look that of a strategic location as it once was. Still, the mountains of Chi Lang are just more than a spectacular scene. From Hanoi, Paradissa offers trips to Chi Lang and Lang Son which can be combined with expeditions into the north-eastern region of Vietnam such as Ha Long Bay, Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Ha Giang...