Moc Chau erupts with plum blossoms

By Tran Thu Hien    December 28, 2020 | 03:59 pm GMT+7
Moc Chau district in Son La Province is on best form this time of year with the graceful blooming of pristinely white plum blossoms.
Moc Chau

The plum blossom is one of Moc Chau’s signature flowers. When in bloom, the flowers cover the trees from root to top.

Below is a two-day tour itinerary for Moc Chau, one of the most popular tourist attractions in northern Vietnam.

Transportation

The route from Hanoi to Moc Chau is not too challenging for beginner backpackers, though some parts are shrouded in fog this time of year. National Highway 6 connecting Hoa Binh Province to Moc Chau District is especially grey and misty.

Be careful when traveling along Thung Khe Pass to Van Ho District. It's better to avoid traveling early in the morning or late in the evening when the smog is most rampant.

Depending on the route and vehicle, travel time from Hanoi to Moc Chau ranges from four to five hours.

Via motorbike, it is a 200-kilometer-long trip. It is recommended you take a coach if you have no prior experience in driving through mountainous terrain. A coach ticket costs VND160,000-200,000 ($6.9 - 8.7) per person. Once you reach Moc Chau, you can rent a motorbike to sightsee.

Accommodation

There are many beautiful rustic homestays to choose from like Bo House, Nha Ta, The November, Hillside House, and Mama’s House. A communal room costs VND100,000 ($4.3) per night whilst a private room ranges anywhere from VND450,000 to VND900,000.

Food and Drinks

Relish in local specialties like pan-seared veal, fresh fish from streams, local kale, and rice cooked in bamboo tubes.

For dinner, request ahead for barbecue or hotpot at your homestay. These are typically priced at VND150,000 per person. Additionally, there is an extensive range of eateries and restaurants to choose from in the town center.

Day 1: Moc Chau Farm Town - Pa Phach Village - grass fields

A section of the road leading to Pa Phach Village.

A section of the road leading to Pa Phach Village.

If you reach Moc Chau Farm Town around noon, check-in, refuel with a hearty homestay lunch and begin your journey.

A must-visit destination is Pa Phach ethnic village, situated on a prairie along Highway 6, roughly five kilometers from the town intersection.

Here, enjoy the endless rows of flowers that stretch until the horizon and fresh air. As the saying goes, the harder the climb, the more beautiful the view, the way leading up to Pa Phach is quite thrilling with sharp bends and steep slants.

This time of the year, cauliflower and plum blossoms begin to pepper the fields in Pa Phach. Run along the small, off-road paths to admire the peaceful sea of floral white.

In Pa Phach, there is a mountain referred to as "the secret roof of Moc Chau", an ideal spot from which to catch the sunset. Consult locals for directions to its peak since it is not on Google Maps.

On the way from Pa Phach into town, you will pass by many vast and green pastures that make for a great photo backdrop or scenic pit stop.

Day 2: Tea plantation - Heart Tea Hill - Na Ka Plum Valley

Start off your morning by heading to one of the green tea farms scattered across Moc Chau Plateau.

This is a lesser-known destination that most travelers miss. Instead, most tourists visit the famous heart-shaped tea hill. Tea plantations are located opposite Moc Chau Tea Company, two kilometers from Moc Chau Farm Town.

Tea plantations in Moc Chau.

Tea plantations in Moc Chau.

Unlike touristic sites like Ban Ang Pine Forest, Dai Yem Waterfall, and the "glass bridge of love" that charge entry fees, a plantation tour is completely free.

At the end of your exploration, stop by the cafe at the entrance to enjoy some high-quality tea and buy local souvenirs like dried plums, varieties of tea like O Long, and Indian prickly ash seeds.

Na Ka Valley is on the way to Tan Lap Commune, about seven kilometers from Heart Tea Hill. Na Ka is one of Moc Chau’s most breathtaking plum valleys. The road leading here is especially convenient and can accommodate both car and motorbike.

Plum blossoms in Na Ka Valley.

Plum blossoms in Na Ka Valley.

Mu Mau Plum Valley is another of Moc Chau’s attractions. Currently, the valley is also teeming with plum blossoms, located deep inside the forest and not accessible by car.

To get here, you need to hire a local motorbike taxi to drive you around. The total cost is VND140,000 ($6) including VND120,000 for the motorbike taxi and VND20,000 for entry.

If you find yourself on a time crunch, Na Ka Valley is preferred over Mu Mau for plum blossoms. Entry to the garden also costs VND20,000.

Typically, plum blossoms enter bloom toward the end of January until the beginning of February to welcome spring but this year they started flowering in the middle of December.

During blooming season, Na Ka and other valleys are completely covered in a beautiful, pristinely white blanket of plum blossoms.

Aside from sightseeing and taking pictures of plum gardens, tourists are suggested to enjoy freshly picked fruits like oranges and mandarins, along with black sticky rice yogurt.

A mere kilometer from the plum valley lie expansive orange and mandarin gardens. Entry to the gardens is VND20,000.

Photos by Tran Thu Hien

 
 
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