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Vietnam’s Moc Chau Plateau

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Why explore Vietnam’s Moc Chau Plateau?

Guest Post by Peter Hanson

The Moc Chau plateau is located in Son La province, Vietnam, which is about 125 miles (200 km) from Hanoi. At just over 1000 meters above sea level, Moc Chau lies among a vast range of mountains and sports sprawling green fields across its entirety. It has been dubbed a paradise of flowers.

Moc Chau

Panorama of Moc Chau Plateau, photo by Shutterstock

It is a major tourist destination, especially for travelers with a taste for ecotourism. Among its most popular attractions include vast terraced plantations, strawberry farms, and dairy farms as well as local ethnic villages which are steeped in tradition and are well known for their traditional food and annual festivals.

Choosing a Vehicle to Get to Moc Chau
Moc Chau

Road to Moc Chau, photo by Shutterstock

Our journey began in Hanoi city, the capital of Vietnam, and at first, we had a hard time figuring out how to get to Moc Chau in the northern mountainous region. However, it didn’t take long to find the perfect way to get there. Locals (and Google) convinced me and my friends that the best way to get there was by motorcycle.

Moc Chau

Getting to Moc Chau by motorcycle

Traveling by motorcycle allowed us to explore the green tea fields, vast yellow fields of kale and Mexican sunflowers. Also, unlike our next best option, which was to travel by bus, we were able to make stops and take a moment to enjoy all the beauty of the northern Vietnamese countryside.

Moc Chau

Endless green fields in Moc Chau

There are two routes from Hanoi city if you’re riding a motorcycle to Moc Chau. The 6-Highway is okay if comfort is a priority for you. However, if you prefer a bit of adventure, you should go for the Old 6-Highway. It’s a bit rough and you will have a difficult time getting to Moc Chau, but it’s by far the most scenic route.

Moc Chau

The bamboo sticks are filled with sticky rice, called Lam rice

The Old 6-Highway runs along the Da River which boasts breathtaking waterfalls. It also passes by the Hoa Binh lake of hydroelectricity, which is a popular place in Vietnam. You also get to glimpse several villages which are home to the H’Mong, a Vietnamese ethnic group.

The Best Time to Visit Moc Chau
Moc Chau

Local children in spring

Spring time is by far the best time to visit Moc Chau. This is the season when the hillsides are covered in peach trees brimming with pink and white flowers. If there was ever a place to experience peace and tranquility, this is it.

Moc Chau

Boys playing traditional games during the Spring

In the winter, all kinds of wild flowers spawn including white mustard flowers, the poinsettia (which are an iconic Christmas flower in Vietnam) and wild sunflowers which color the mountains in bright shades. I guess it really doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit Moc Chau, you will always be greeted by a natural storybook wonderland.

Things to do in Moc Chau

Getting to Moc Chau and witnessing the beauty of the Moc Chau plateau is just part of the visit. We spent our second day, or rather part of it (we had to visit the plateau again), learning about the surrounding area. It turns out that the plateau is located within a tourism zone that also includes the entire district of Van Ho.

Moc Chau

Dai Yem Waterfalls

The whole area covers about 206,150 hectares and is meant to promote the development of tourism in the area and in neighboring districts. Also, the Dai Yem waterfalls, the pine forest in Ban Ang village and the deep caves in Ban On village are great places to spend some time if you’ll be staying awhile.

Moc Chau

Farmers collecting tea in green tea fields

However, the main attractions in the area include The Moc Chau Resort, the Moc Chau Ecotourism Centre, and the Moc Chau Entertainment Centre which are all located in Moc Chau district.

Moc Chau

Local children playing traditional games

Because there is so much to do and see, you may wish to stay for at least two days to get the full experience. If you enjoy some adrenaline with your peace and quiet, go on a rafting adventure on the Ma River for an unforgettable experience.

Moc Chau

Crossing a bridge to enter the village

There is no better way to explore the Moc Chau plateau than riding a motorbike. You can explore the vast hills unhindered and feel the calm breeze as it carries bright flower petals across the fields. As an added bonus, the scene makes for the perfect photo to show your friends and family back home.

Moc Chau

A Thais village with stilt houses

Accommodations and Dining

You don’t have to worry about the cost of a stay at Moc Chau, because accommodation is very affordable, as is the food. There are two areas in Moc Chau town littered with hotels and motels to choose from. The new farm town and old farm town average about $10-$15 per room and offer all the basic comforts of a temperate climate town in the countryside.

Moc Chau

Inside a stilt house

Although the hotels and motels offered a good option, we chose a stilt house. It is a house raised off the ground, with Thai ethnic origins, and it is a favorite among visitors. Granted you’ll have to endure cold showers but it adds to the adventure and the memories you’ll make!  The owner served us homemade Thai dishes, which were quite delicious.

Moc Chau

Lunch served in our stilt house

If you prefer to eat out, there are many great restaurants in the Moc Chau town center. However, the best of them are outside town. Just 5km outside town, along the 6-highway, are restaurants 70 and 64 which are great if you need another excuse to ride a motorcycle on the open road. A decent meal here goes for about $6, which shouldn’t hurt your pocket too much.

If you’re traveling with a larger group, visit the Trung Hieu restaurant on Tran Huy Lieu street. You can purchase a chicken hot pot for about $30, for a table of six. We visited this restaurant and joined up with another group who had organized a camp fire with Thai dancers for just $60. The experience was one of a kind and we still talk about it to this day.

Moc Chau

Traditional dancing of Thais

The journey to discover Moc Chau is not just about the the destination but also getting there. It’s a trip with few amenities, but worthwhile. I am sure you will not regret visiting. The important thing is to not go alone — be sure to go with your friends and have a fun trip!

About the author:
Moc Chau

Peter Hanson

Peter Hanson is a motorcyle enthusiast and expert on motorcyle travel. He loves to travel and has covered a lot of countries over the past eight years. In each country, he takes the time to record his impressions. Now we can benefit from his journeys and travel tips.

Be sure to visit his blog, Lets Ride Motorbike, to read more articles and helpful tips about motorcyle travel.

 

 

 

 

Looking for more motorcycle tips? See A How-To For the Best Motorcycling in SE Asia

Moc Chau

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12 thoughts on “Vietnam’s Moc Chau Plateau

  1. Pingback: A How-To for the Best Motorcycling in SE Asia - Postcards & Passports

  2. The Adventure Ahead

    We have never had the opportunity to travel by motorcycle, but it sounds like an amazing way to see the Vietnamese countryside – all that vast greenery is gorgeous. I really love how you captured the images of the kids playing – you can almost feel the spirit of the place through your photography. I am a fan 🙂

  3. Manjulika Pramod

    Wow, such beautiful shots especially of the tea garden and the local kids.
    I am sure the Old Highway route gave you great adventure. Vietnam has been on my mind and I am thinking about doing it this year.

  4. Sheena

    I’ve never heard of the Moc Chau plateau before, thought I spent 1 month travelling quite extensively around Vietnam. It looks like a beautiful region, I love the cultural aspect and seeing kids still wearing traditional clothes. Bookmarking this to come back to when I start planning for Asia later this year!

  5. Peter Hanson

    So glad you liked the article; thank you, Tami, for allowing me to share it.
    We had a few memorable days in Moc Chau and some places that were also along the 6 Highway route. A strenuous trip with many dangerous slopes and passes but in return, the result made us very happy. My friends also had the same opinion.

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