Son La is a mountainous province in Northwest Vietnam. It shares borders with Yen Bai Province and Lao Cai Province in the north, Hoa Binh Province and Phu Tho Province in the east, Lai Chau Province and Dien Bien Province in the west, and Thanh Hoa Province in the south. Besides, Son La also shares 250km border with Laos and it is far from Hanoi capital about 320 kilometers from the northwest.
Coming to Son La, tourists will not only discover famous and fascinating sights, pristine natural landscape such as Moc Chau, Dai Yem waterfall, Song Da hydroelectric, Ta Xua commune, Ngoc Chien commune, Muong Leo Hot Spring etc....but also be attracted by brocade costumes, ecstatic in drunken yeast of tube wine "Rượu Cần", relaxing your soul with songs, dances in the fire flickering between the mountains.
1. Song Da tourist cluster
Travel to Song Da tourist cluster is come to the century works, explore the prehistoric period of human through archaeological sites, coming to the majestic natural landscapes, high mountains, wide rivers, immense green forests, waterfalls, pristine scenery, coming to honest, hospitable people, special culture.
Da river flows through Son La province with 280 km long with 32 big and small tributaries. Since ancient times, the Da River has been a trade route among the people of the Son La ethnic groups in particular and the Northwestern people in general with lowland people
2. Son La city (Son La Provincial Museum - Son La prison, Mong ethnic village, Chieng Co ethnic village, Thẩm Tét Toòng cave, Quế Lâm Ngự Chế epitaphs...)
2.1 Son La Provincial Museum - Son La prison
Located on Khau Ca hill beside Nam La stream, To Hieu ward, Son La city, Son La province. The prison relic is a unique cultural and historical site aimed at educating patriotic traditions for future generations. This relic area consists of 2 architectural items including prison relics and Son La provincial museum.
2.2 Mong ethnic village
Mong ethnic village is also an attractive eco-tourism, resort and cultural place belonging to Hua La commune in Son La town, Son La province. Along with the beautiful natural landscape and charming water paint here. Plus the undulating mountains like a dragon body winding down the Nam La river, this place attracts tourists by the beauty of the Northwest mountains.
3. Bac Yen (Ta Xua, Hong Ngai, Xim Vang)
Bac Yen is a rural district of Son La province in the Northwest region of Vietnam.
Ta Xua has been mentioned by young people as a smaller mountain range in Bac Yen district recently. The four sides are surrounded by high mountains, so Ta Xua valley always appears dense clouds, cloudy clouds rolling like waves hitting the cliffs, creating an amazingly beautiful sea of clouds.
Hong Ngai is a small village in Bac Yen town, Bac Yen district, Son La. This is the main place of residence of the H'Mong people, and up to now, the features of the wild, in harmony with the nature of the Northwest mountains remain. Hong Ngai now has 71 houses with beautiful walls no less than anywhere else.
Xim Vang is a highland commune of Bac Yen district (Son La) with a part of Ta Xua nature reserve. Located more than 30 km from the center of the district, Xim Vang has 7 villages, with more than 90% of the population being ethnic Hmong.
4. Mai Son (The Na San airport, Tien Phong lake)
Mai Son is a mountainous district of Son La province, the district center is 30 km north of the provincial center. It is an industrial center and a key economic district of the province in the economic triangle cluster of Son La city - Mai Son - Muong la.
The Na San airport is built by the French, is an airport in Mai Son district, Son La province, northwestern Vietnam. The airport is located on Highway 6, about 20 km south of Son La city. In 2004, the airport was "temporarily closed to upgrade".
5. Moc Chau plateau (Thuong Cuong ethnic Village, Pa Phach ethnic village, Ban Ang pine forest, Dai Yem waterfalls, Doi cave, Ngu Dong Ban On, Moc Chau tea hill, The plum valley of Naka, Long Sap border gate...)
Moc Chau is the largest and most beautiful plateau in the Northern Mountains region, famous for its magnificent landscapes, lovely villages and the flowering seasons of cherry blossoms, peach blossoms and plum blossoms. This beauty attracted a large number of tourists come here to experience and explore.
5.1 Dai Yem waterfalls
Dai Yem waterfall also called Ban Vat by local people is a historical landscape, which is close related to the inhabitant history of Thai people in Muon Sang land long time ago. The name Dai Yem is derived from a story about the brassiere of the girl who saved a boy from the flood.
5.2 Ngũ động Bản Ôn
Ngũ động Bản Ôn cave (five caves Ban On) was discovered by ethnic people living in Moc Chau plateau after the historic flood in 2006. Although Ngũ động Bản Ôn cave is also famous in the list of Moc tourism places Chau is attractive, but due to the difficult terrain to conquer, this landmark is still quite new to tourists. Because of that, this place still retains its pristine beauty.
5.3 Thung Cuong ethnic village
Thung Cuong (Thong Cuong) is a Mong village located between Dong Sang commune of Moc Chau and Xuan Nha of Van Ho (A newly established district is separated from Moc Chau). The road leading to Thung Cuong with two sides is immense valley of white mustard. This is also one of the favorite wedding photography spots for young people.
5.4 Moc Chau green tea hills
Moc Chau Plateau is famous for its green tea hills, spreading all over the hills. Tea is grown here everywhere, mixed with pretty houses.
5.5 Pha Luong Peak
Dubbed the roof of Moc Chau, Pha Luong Peak floats on the top of the mountain and is almost separated from the surrounding mountainous terrain. It is far 30 km from Moc Chau town, Pha Luong peak is located between the Vietnam-Laos border. With a height of nearly 2,000 m, the steep cliffs with lots of tectonic cracks make the landscape here become majestic and fascinating to strange.
5.6 Pa Phach ethnic village
Pa Phach is a land of beauty rustic and pristine but also warm on Moc Chau plateau. This place has never seemed to disappoint visitors to come here
5.7 The plum valley of Naka
The plum valley of Naka is considered one of the most beautiful plum valleys of Moc Chau, that's why some people have compared this place in the spring as a wonderland.
In the spring, standing at the top of the pass, you can freely look down the valley to see a beautiful white of plum blossoms spreading across the vast valley, on the cliffs, or on the fruits. Every small hill, we also see the pure white of plum flowers .... Tourists can feel the magic of nature in Moc Chau and Son La.
In the summer, usually in late April and early May, it's time for the plum harvest here. This is the time that Moc Chau District People's Committee organizes an annual "Fruit Picking" festival for residents and visitors. In addition, it also sells specialties made from the plum itself harvested on site.
6. Muong La (Son La Hydroelectric Plant, Ngoc Chien, Hang Noong Cave, Cat Long ethnic village)
Muong La is a rural district of Sơn La Province in the Northwest region of Vietnam. It is famous with Co Noong cave, Cát Lình ethnic village and Ngoc Chien village and Son La Hydroelectric Plant
7. Phu Yen (Noong Cốp pine forest, Chieu ethnic village, general Vo Nguyen Giap forest...)
Phu Yen district is located in the east of Son La province, about 130 km west of Son La City. The center of Phu Yen district is Muong Tac rice field (the third wide rice field in the Northwest).
8. Quynh Nhai (Pa Uon Bridge, Muong Chien ethnic village, Nang Han Temple "Linh Son - Thuy Tu")
Quynh Nhai is a highland district of Son La province, occupying a large area in a vast valley surrounded by high mountains and the fresh green forests. Quynh Nhai still retains its own wilderness with its streets winding, bridges spanning immense rivers or stilt houses, the villages on the side of the mountain, the streams and rustic life, bold culture of the local ethnic minority, … All created a beautiful Quynh Nhai, like a girl from the northwestern region.
Pa Uon Bridge is located in Chieng On commune, right next to Phieng Lanh town. Dubbed as Indochina First Bridge with a natural height from the ground up to the surface of the running vehicle is 105m, especially the span between bridges is as high as 120m. Standing in the middle of the bridge, people are just a tiny dot in the middle of a painting with blue mountains, deep rivers, and white clouds on the top. From a distance, the Pa Uôn Bridge looks like a giant reinforced concrete dragon between two towering mountains.
9. Muong Leo hot spring
At the top of Lieng village, visitors will see an open-air hot spring among golden rice fields. In winter, steam rises all over the region, creating an incredible landscape. Here, visitors will not be surprised by the special weather: hoarfrost, thunderstorm, hail, deep cold, tropical depression, ...
10. Muong Bam ancient tower
Muong Bam is a mountainous area and a basin of upstream, "stick" to the Nam Hua stream that makes up its history and culture.
Muong Bam ancient tower has a great impression on that Muong Boi history and culture. It is also a valuable heritage of Thuan Chau, Son La, and the Northwest.
11. Van Ho
Van Ho is a highland district in Son La, a neighboring land of Moc Chau, one of the districts with great potential for tourism development with many types of attractive, typical in the high mountains.
11.1 Hua Tat ethnic village
Hua Tat is a small village in H'Mong in Van Ho commune, Van Ho district, Son La province, located along Highway 6, one side is the avenue, one side is a high cliff, one is located in the middle, peaceful and quiet. Here you can rent a homestay stilt house, enjoy local specialties as well as travel to nearby attractions.
11.2 Tat Nang Waterfall
Tat Nang is one of the beautiful landscapes of Van Ho district. In Thai, "Tạt" means "waterfall" and "Nang" is the name of the waterfall. The name of this waterfall is associated with an sad story: There was a girl, her mother who died early, growing up more and more beautiful. She love a boy who was the son of a lineage who had a longstanding feud with her family so should be firmly opposed by her father. Because she loved her father, she did not want to get married even though many boys in the village came to her proposal. Love failed to make her more and more thin. One day she threw herself into the stream of suicide.
Coming to Van Ho, you have opportunities walking on Shan Tuy tea hills, dense pine forest more than 20 years old, watching the valley of pure white mustard flowers, enjoying the beauty of peach branches blooming, beautiful plumes, the white cascades, cool streams, magnificent caves and mysterious old forests. The whole space became dreamy, sweet and so poetic make you excited to make a plan for trekking....
12. Yen Chau
Yen Chau is a mountainous district, border of Son La province. There is a total natural area of 843 km2. The district is located to the southeast of Son La province, to the north by Bac Yen district, to the west by Mai Son district, to the east by Moc Chau district and to the south by Xieng Khọ district, Sop Bau district, Hua Phan province (the Republic of Lao People's Democratic Republic) with 47 km of border. Yen Chau has 14 communes and 1 town with a population of over 73,000, mainly 5 ethnic groups: Thai, Kinh, Mong, Xinh Mun, Kho Mu and some other ethnic groups living together.
12.1 Chi Day Cave
Chi Day Cave is a natural stone cave located in the limestone mountain range in Dan village, Yen Son commune (formerly in Chieng On commune), Yen Chau district, Son La province.
The name of the cave is associated with an ancient story of the locals, from the archery competition on the cliffs of the ethnic villages living around the region. The arrow of any ethnic villages shoots the cliff will be the winner. When Thai people hit arrows at the cliff and Thai people happily say "Chi Day, Chi Day" - meaning "will to be".
Chi Đay cave was discovered in the 70s of the twentieth century but because Dan village and Chieng On commune are border communes, the cave cannot be exploited for visitors.
Coming to Yen Chau district, if you visit Chi Day cave so don't miss Nha Nhung cave and Chieng Khoai lake
1. Buffalo leather Salad (Nộm Da Trâu)
Buffalo leather Salad is special dish of Thai people in Son La. Normally buffalo skin is used to make a drum because the buffalo's skin is very thick and hard so one has to be very picky, skillful, meticulous so that the buffalo skin is soft, tough and lumpy, incredibly delicious.
The most outstanding feature of this dish is the sour taste not from vinegar or lemon but sour bamboo shoot. Sour bamboo shoots juice makes buffalo skin soft, brittle and not bored. Because of this perfect combination, it has created a strange specialty dish for tourists and drinking in this Northwest region.
2. Pa pỉnh tộp
Pa pỉnh tộp is known as "folded grilled fish". This is a traditional dish and to prepare this dish, it needs to choose the carp, grass carp. Then stuffing the fish into the fish's stomach and especially indispensable tradional spices for soaking into the fish then putting the fish into the bamboo, grilling on charcoal.Grilling fish is not easy at all, the cooked fish is not dry, not burnt yellow, spreading the pungent aroma of bamboo's cocoon, fatness of fish and spices
3. Sour pickled meat (Thịt muối chua)
The Dao people are very hospitable and often treat their guests with traditional sour pickled meat. This dish is often served on new year, wedding, guest come to home...
Sour pickled meat's ingredients are not difficult but take a lot of time. After slaughtering, select a piece of meat with both peanuts and fat meat, then rub it vigorously for salt to soak deeply and fiber, then squeeze cold rice into pieces of meat with bubbles, then put them into jars. Jars are placed on an ash pot and it takes from 6 months - 1 year to enjoy.
4. Nậm Pịa
In Thai cuisine, Nam Pia dish is known as a dish not easy to eat but delicious. This dish is made from five organs of the animal such as: heart, intestines, stomach ... and then boil with bones until sweet enough. Cook the pot until the broth is thick and brown. The bitter taste of forest leaves and the smell of green leaves create a sense of discomfort for some people but when used to it, this dish really captivates people.
5. Day cake (Bánh dày)
To make a delicious dish imbued with the ethnic identity of the Mong people, one has meticulously selected the upland sticky rice, put it into a mortar and crush it then mix it with chicken egg whites until cake is smooth, people shape it into round pieces that can be steamed, baked or fried.
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