Ha Giang Adventure Tours

Son La

Son La province is a good place to stop if you are coming from Dien Bien to Moc Chau or from Moc Chau to Dien Bien. You will not find here too many tourists and historic sites. Up to 80% of the natural environment is covered by mountains. A lot of people of different ethnic groups (Ma, Hmong, Dao, Muong, Kinh, Tay, Thai, …) live in this province, you can visit their villages. Many villages are located north of the town of Son La, TL106 road up to 20 km, and further northwest, the road QL6 and AH13 to 40 km.

On a motorcycle you can go to the largest dam of Indochina in the north.
In this area is the biggest water dam of Indochina – Son La Dam, because the region is suffering from water shortages. This dam is about 50 km north from the city at the river Da and there is no problem to get there on a motorcycle. The Son La Dam was completed in 2012 and became the largest hydroelectric producer in Southeast Asia. Along the way you pass many interesting villages. Look on the map below the article.
Black River (Sông Đà) is the longest river of northern Vietnam, is 527 km long. The Black River is the most important tributary of the Red River. It also forms part of the border between Phú Thọ Province and Hanoi. People use water to irrigate rice fields in the lower reaches.

THAI people – 3rd biggest ethnic group in Vietnam (1 500 000 residents).
Residents of Thai ethnic minority are the 3rd biggest ethnic group in Vietnam after the Tay inhabitants. Their number is estimated at less than 2% of the total population of Vietnam. Approximate number is about 1.5 million inhabitants. Residents of this minority live mainly in Son La, Mai Chau, Lao Cai and Lai Chau. In the area of Lai Chau and Lao Cai in the north live more residents of the White Thais. While in the southern part of the province of Son La, Yen Bai Mai Chau live residents of the Black Thais.

Thai ethnic minority is well known for its beautifully woven garments and other accessories and typical houses on stilts. These houses are designed to protect the residents before the possible flooding and from the dangerous animals.

Son La is area with Thai ethnic residents, these people came from Thailand.
Another visited place near the town of Son La is a Hua La village (5 km south). Very easily accessible location in the beautiful valley and hills. The valley is covered with coffee trees, plums or apricots. I recommend here to taste some typical dishes of black Thais, for example Pia (meat sauce with different parts of cattle) or Ruan Can (wine with a straw).

Visit a prison and museum from the time of French colonization (1908).
From this time it is one of the most famous monuments, the prison is well known as „hell on earth“. It was known for brutality of French colonists practiced on prisoners. You will find this prison on the top of Khau Ca Hill, Khau Ca street. At the Trade Union hotel in the north of Son La town is a good viewing point to the city. It is possible to rent a motorbike in this hotel, in the city you may have a problem with rent a motorbike.

You can visit Ta Sua nature reserve in Son La province.
About 3 km north of the city is also a good idea to stop and look into the Tham Tet Toong cave. This cave is 150 m long with the beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. Above the cave there are the cliffs and hills covered with the green trees. West of the town of Son La is a small town – Thuan Chau, this place hosts ethnic market with different products (bags, pendants, materials…). You can also hike Phú Lương mountain in Son La province. It is the 3rd biggest mountain in Vietnam.

The entire area is suitable for riding a motorcycle, the roads are in very good condition. Son La has mild climate, so you can come here at any time. The best monrths are in the spring time. The weather is almost the same as in Hanoi.

Moc Chau district is very good stopover in northwest Vietnam.
Moc Chau is a district of Son La province and its capital of the same name. It is a large mountainous and hilly region. It lies about 140 km from the Son La town to the south. It’s a very good stop between Son La city and Mai Chau city. If you come here, I recommend in this beautiful area of the tea plantations and the flowering fruit trees and the flowers to stay a while. Especially in the spring, this place is very beautiful and has a very good climate suitable for traveling. Moc Chau is a significant producer of high-quality milk and tea.

The area is inhabited by the people of different ethnic minorities. A lot of Thai and Hmong people live here but also another minorities are in this area – Dao, Kho Mu, La Ha Tay. More information in the article about Moc Chau.

How to get to Son La town:
There is no problem to take a local buses from the town of Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau, Moc Chau, Mai Chau. There is no train connection in Son La province.

Weather in Son La:
Generally mild climate, the weather is about the same as in Hanoi, with the exception of mountain areas. During the summer, warm air comes from Laos, the summer in Son La has high temperatures.

Places of interest in Son La:
• villages with ethnic minorities – Bo Muoi, Tong Lanh, Ta Bu (north, north-west near the town of Son La)
• the largest hydroelectric dam in Indochina
• colorful market in Thuan Chau
• Mong village at the area of Hua La
• Prison and museum from the time of French colonization
• scenic peak above the town
• Thẩm Tét Toòng cave
• Da river
• Ta Sua nature reserve
• Phú Lương mountain
• Moc Chau district.

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