NATURAL BEAUTIES: A tourist dressed in ethnic costumes is pictured with plum blossoms in Moc Chau District. VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyet

Endowed with a majestic natural landscape, year-round cool climate and abundant natural tourist attractions, Moc Chau District in the northern mountainous province of Son La has been dubbed as the "green pearl" of the northwest region.

The district, about 200km from central Hanoi and at an altitude of over 1,000m, is a must-visit destination for those who love nature and seek inner peace among the vast mountains and forests.

Recently, the natural beauty of Moc Chau has become a star of the global tourism map, with the locality crowned as 'Asia's Leading Regional Nature Destination' and the 2022 World Travel Awards.

“Such awards were not only an honour but also important for the district to promote its cultural and natural values, affirming its place on the world tourism map,” said Chairman of Moc Chau District People's Committee Le Trong Binh.

TEA TIME: Endless green tea hills in Moc Chau are a popular backdrop for photos.

Moc Chau is the gateway to the northwest, and the stopover for inter-regional tours such as Hanoi - Son La - Dien Bien Phu - Sa Pa - Lao Cai; and the transnational tourism routes such as Hanoi - Son La - Luang Prabang (Laos) - Thailand; and Son La - Lai Chau - Yunnan (China).

The district is one of the biggest plateaus in the country, stretching some 80km long and 25km wide, and stands about 1,050m above sea level.

Its average temperature is 20 degrees Celsius. In the winter, from Pha Luong and Mt Van Ho, visitors can view the beautiful 50,000-ha plateau through a thick fog.

It charms tourists with many beautiful and unique natural landscapes such as majestic Mt Pha Luong, poetic Dai Yem Waterfalls, and Doi Cave with its magnificent natural stalactite system.

VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE: Bach Long (White Dragon) glass bridge in Moc Chau, recognised by Guinness as world’s longest, is a new tourist magnet in the district.

Moc Chau is also known as a land of flowers. Any time of the year, visitors can admire the beautiful flowers in bloom. The region’s scenic beauty is at its best during late winter and early spring when apricot, plum and peach blossoms begin to fully bloom, creating a picturesque scenery that charms visitors at first sight.

The system of archaeological sites along the Da River includes the Tang Me burial cave, animal fossils at Chieng Yen, and the ancient carved stone of Xuan Nha, as well as other historical sites. Moreover the district also boasts many hot springs.

Moc Chau is home to 12 ethnic groups whose culture identities have been actively preserved by the local authorities through many festivities, like the Ethnic Culture Festival from August 30 to September 2, the Rain Praying Festival in March, and a fruit picking festival in May.

BACK TO NATURE: Tourists camp in the pine forest of Ang Village in Moc Chau.

According to the Vietnam Tourism Development Strategy, the Moc Chau National Tourism Area, including Moc Chau and Van Ho districts, has been evaluated as a key national tourist centre in the northern midlands and mountainous region.

The Moc Chau National Tourism Area forms three key tourist centres: Moc Chau Resort Centre, Moc Chau Ecotourism Centre, and Moc Chau Amusement Centre.

The tourism infrastructure and services in the area has received investment and been improved in recent years to meet the needs of numerous tourists from home and abroad.

In 2022, Moc Chau received over 1.5 million visitors, earning over US$72 million from tourism. In January alone, tourists to the district were estimated at 225,000, generating a revenue of $10 million.

Many tourism programmes have been launched to connect pristine community-based tourist attractions like Ang Village, Doi Village, Vat Village in Moc Chau; and Phu Mau Village or Hua Tat Village in Van Ho. Within the programmes, participants can experience eco-agriculture tourism in the fields, growing tea or conquer majestic Mt Pha Luong.

“The natural beauty of Moc Chau District has enticed me to come again,” said Do Thi Huyen from Hanoi, who visited the region in early February.

“We particularly enjoyed tasting delicious local food by the murmuring streams and among the forests. We felt like we were lost in a fairyland when visiting the white plum blossom forest."

“Tourism here is increasingly better. The local food is really delicious and there are many restaurants and hotels that can cater to different kinds of tourists,” she added.

Tourism development in the district goes hand-in-hand with the preservation of local cultural identity. Many travel agencies and businesses have properly exploited the nature landscape and culture to launch various types of cultural and ecotourism products, in an effort to build the image of Moc Chau as a hospitable destination.

Many tourism products have attracted domestic and international tourists, such as the Bach Long glass bridge in Moc Chau Island Park and Resort, which is the world’s longest bridge of its kind; the pine forest tourist area in Ang Village, community-based tourism in Doi, Vat or Ta So villages.

"The operation of the tourist site is closely associated with nature to maintain the title as top regional destination," said Hoang Manh Duy, the head of Sales Department of Moc Chau Island Park and Resort.

"Therefore, preserving the landscape is one of the prerequisites that we aim to achieve." Duy added.

According to Chairman of Moc Chau District People's Committee Le Trong Binh, the locality conducts many activities to live up to its international recognition.

"Moc Chau has planned and preserved tea plantations, grasslands, and forest to maintain the natural landscape. In the development of community-based, agricultural and nature tourism, environmentally friendly materials associated with ethnic cultural identities will be prioritised as a highlight of the district," he said.

"The district is also focusing on making a master plan for tourist routes and spots to 2025, stepping up investment and tourism promotion, thereby attracting more and more investors and tourists."

Moc Chau is set to serve over 2.9 million holidaymakers by 2030, earning a revenue of about $265 million. 

Source: Vietnam News