The thin footpath on the way to the summit of Ta Chi Nhu (Phu Song Sung)
The thin footpath on the way to the summit of Ta Chi Nhu (Phu Song Sung)

Ta Chi Nhu Mountain (Phu Song Sung), Yen Bai

The Ta Chi Nhu Mountain (aka Mount Phu Song Sung) in Tram Tau District of Yen Bai Province, which is 2,979m above sea level, is the 6th highest mountain peak in Vietnam.

 The best time to climb Ta Chi Nhu is from November to early April. If you want to take photos of an ocean of clouds at the mountain peak, then you may want to take the trip from November through the first half of March. It is freezing cold from late November through early February.

Breathtaking mounain peaks on the way to the summit of Ta Chi Nhu
Breathtaking mounain peaks on the way to the summit of Ta Chi Nhu

 It can rain a lot in the area from late August through October, climbing the mountain during this time is extremely slippery and dangerous. From May through July, the strong sun along with unexpected summer rains can make the adventure to Ta Chi Nhu very difficult, too.

Lovely grass-covered hill side on the trek
Lovely grass-covered hill side on the trek

 The mountain is 240km from Hanoi and the adventure to Ta Chi Nhu normally takes 3 days, 2 nights of which 1 night at Tram Tau and 1 night in a camp at 2,400m above sea level. The first leg of the trip is to take a transfer by motorbike for 9km from Tram Tau Township to the base of Chung Chua Nha Mountain where the trek starts.

Taking a break before summiting Ta Chi Nhu
Taking a break before summiting Ta Chi Nhu

 The second part of the adventure, which on average takes 1 hour, is a hike on gently steep mountain slopes. There are very few trees on the way which means you'd need a sun hat should it be a sunny day.

A "prairie" in the sky
A "prairie" in the sky

 The third part of the journey which on average takes 3 hours and a half or 4 hours involves trekking on extremely steep mountain slopes which just go up all the way. Some groups have reported it took them a full day to get to the campsite from the mountain base. You do not normally feel there is a place with even surface where you can rest your two feet fully! There is a small patch of forest left here, while most of the time you'll hike on a small footpath with low trees.

The footpath is steep and slippery even in dry weather. Should it rain, it is fatally dangerous. The tricky point is that you do not have anything to cling to hiking up or down on this footpath and the ravine is just by your side all the time! The winds start getting very strong the closer to your campsite at 2,400m above sea level.

The higher the more stunning view of the mountain peaks
The higher the more stunning view of the mountain peaks

 The fourth part of the journey is the most beautiful of the adventure which takes from 2-3 hours. You'll trek on mountain slopes which are tolerably steep; the path is amid large hill sides which are covered in green grass; you do not find it dangerous anymore here. You'll feel you climb uphill a prairie with a family of mountain peaks around you! If you come here at the right time, you'll get sensational landscape of milk-white clouds wrapping around the mountain peaks which bears an unreal appearance.

A little bit of the ocean of clouds, view from the campsite
A little bit of the ocean of clouds, view from the campsite

 The only thing which may annoy you here is the winds. They are very and very strong which may even blur your vision. They blow so hard that you can't hear anything except for the howling sound! Holding your camera to take photos could be very difficult. A windproof jacket with windproof full head covering is especially helpful here.

Wonderful landscape on the descent
Wonderful landscape on the descent

 The descent from the summit to the campsite takes around over 1 hour. The strong winds make the cooking of your dinner a difficult job, as everything is in the open. When it rains then it's more likely that you'll have to consume whatever food you have brought along.

Also, the winds blow hard all night which often make it hard to sleep. Even when the temperatures are fine, the strong winds may still make your body and your limbs shake in the night and early morning as they take away the heat. Make sure you bring good warm clothes with you before the adventure. If it rains in the night, everyone is more likely to sit in the camp awake all night.

The descent from the campsite to the mountain base takes at least 3 hours of which at least 2 hours for clambering down the dangerously steep footpath. Going down is a bit easier than going up but by no means less dangerous. Keep in mind that you exercise good caution and allow for enough rest before each step. Do not hurry under any circumstances!

Paradissa organize the trekking tour to Ta Chi Nhu (Phu Song Sung) mountain for 3 days and 2 nights from Hanoi upon request. This is an extremely hard trek and you may like to check whatever information you can get from any possible sources before making the decision to go with us. Depending on individual cases, our team will provide appropriate advice before a trip departure.

Any time during the trek you feel that it is beyond your capability, then we should definitely stop the trip and go back. Pushing yourself too hard is not always good, as it is a big dilemma for us all if you get exhausted and get stranded up there in the mountain. You come here with our team for an adventure provided your health, the weather… are all good. Some factors may have come up unexpectedly that makes it not ideal for us to continue with the trip further. Your trip may be without success but if we make the right decision, then there are surely many other times to do it in the future!

Note: There is amountain hut now at Ta Chi Nhu which makes the trekking experience absolutely a great one! Cooking food is much easier and your sleep will be sound in the hut.