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Northern mountainous village gets a blooming whitewash

By Khanh Tran, Tran Thuong    March 19, 2022 | 05:00 am PT
Every March, a village in the northern mountainous province of Son La dons a picturesque garb of white blooms, courtesy of docynia indica (son tra, Assam apple) trees.
Northern mountainous village gets a blooming whitewash

At this time of the year, in Nam Nghiep Village, Muong La District, thousands of son tra trees planted by local villagers bloom in profusion on mountainous terrain, creating an arresting, charming sight.

Locals often harvest the apple-like fruit, tao meo, produced by the tree to make ruou tao meo, a popular wine in the northwest mountainous region.

Northern mountainous village gets a blooming whitewash

Located at an altitude of over 2,000m above sea level, the village is covered in fog all year round, a favorable natural condition for growing the fruit.

Northern mountainous village gets a blooming whitewash

Due to dangerous roads and windy paths, tourists are better off hiring experienced xe om (motorbike taxi) drivers to Nam Nghiep Village for VND300,000 ($13.12) per person a round trip from downtown area.

Northern mountainous village gets a blooming whitewash

Tran Thuong (pictured) and a group of friends traveled more than 310 km from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai, a rural district in Yen Bai Province, and then turned to Ngoc Chien Commune in Son La Province to reach Nam Nghiep.

The road from Ngoc Chien to Nam Nghiep was not easy to travel on, Thuong said. If it rained, it would be even more dangerous, he added.

Northern mountainous village gets a blooming whitewash

Typically, the son tra trees bloom in March and stay for a month before withering and giving away to the fruits.

Northern mountainous village gets a blooming whitewash

Each blossom has five white petals and yellowish brown pistils.

Northern mountainous village gets a blooming whitewash

A Hmong couple walk on a winding, earthen road lined by with the son tra trees in full bloom.

Northern mountainous village gets a blooming whitewash

These says, tourists can fully enjoy the blooming season with overnight stays at the homestay arrangements available in the homes of the Hmong and Thai ethnic minority groups for VND100,000 ($4.37) a night.

An added attraction is a hot spring bath service from single pool to shared bath.

Photos by Tran Thuong

 
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