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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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…