H'Mong King's Palace, Dong Van

After we had made our way through Meo Vac, we took the famous Ma Pi Leng Pass to get to Dong Van. This mountain pass is famous for a reason! It's stunning views of the valley below, long winding roads, and towering mountains are a must see when visiting the area! Despite the cold, we stopped many times along the way to drink a coffee and soak up the scenery. Once over the pass, you head into the Dong Van karst plateau. This region is a part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network and riding a motorbike through these landscapes is like nothing else on this planet. The roads are not long, however the journey takes time. While taking on these parts of the loop (if not all of them), bare in mind you will want to drive slowly as the roads are winding, the views are breathtaking, and there are plenty of opportunities to pull over and take a look around. 

Notably one of these stops is the H'Mong King Palace. This palace was built between 1898 and 1903 and was home to two H'Mong kings over the years. They Vuong Chinh Duc and Vuong Chi Thanh respectively, and each ruled over the region during the French colonial era.  Over time, the palace became a national relic. The main features of the palace are its stone walls, wooden pillars, and a variety of terracotta tiles on the roof decorated with Chinese writing. What is also interesting about the palace is the fact that the area was an important opium trade link during it's time, making Vuong Chinh Duc the richest man in area. If you look carefully, you will also notice that there are many poppy plant-shaped decorations throughout the palace.