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Red face Muong La - Ngoc Chien - "Dalat miniature" of Northwest Vietnam - 11-13-2017, 07:20 AM

Muong La is a mountainous district of Son La province with cool climate like Da Lat and is famous for its natural hot mineral water. To reach Muong La, visitors have to travel on the legendary Sam Xa Pass.

In Thai language, the name of Sam Xip Pass means "Thirty" because the pass which has up to 30 sharp bends with slippery slopes and is challenging for all dauntless drivers or brave packbackers.

Muong La attracts tourists not only by the largest hydroelectric plant in South East Asia, but also contains many mysteries from historical sites such as Pom Pap Fort (It Ong Town), Muong Chien Fort (Ngoc Chien Commune), archaeological relics of Co Noong Cave (It Ong Town), Hua Bo Cave (Muong Bu).

Muong La tourism is an opportunity for visitors to enjoy the cooler climate of the Northwestern region, joining in the natural hot spring of Hua Ít Village (It Ong town), Loi Village (Ngoc Chien Commune) or explore the cultural characteristics of the Thai community with many traditional cultural festivals. In the hundreds years old fokienia wood houses, visitors can enjoy the delicious specialties of the highlanders, ecstatic in the aromatic wine and interested in traditional dancing of the graceful Thai girls.

When to go

Muong La climate is quite cool and relatively similar to neighboring areas of Moc Chau or Son La City... Visitors can go to Muong La from October to May but avoid the months of July, August and September because this is the rainy season combined with landslide of the height and sloping terrain in Muong La, which is very dangerous.


By bus

To go to Muong La district from Hanoi, visitors can choose CoXaMa bus, depart from Yen Nghia Bus Station at 13h00, fare 270,000 Dong/ticket, travel time ~ 7 hours. Telephone 0223 874 343.

By private car

After the journey from Hanoi to Son La city via Highway 6, tourists continue to follow provincial road 106 to the town of It Ong. Pass over the Sam Xip Pass at the height of more than 2,000m, about 40 km long, visitors will go to Muong La District.

Restaurant and Accommodation

Places to eat

Muong La, a mountainous district of Son La province, home of multi-ethnic minorities, visitors will have many choices of food. If you want to feel the culture of the compatriots, choose homestay and enjoy the food of tribe hill people is the best choice. Here, guests will be welcomed by the host with local specialties such as wine, apple cider, sticky rice, sticky rice, bamboo sticky rice, barbecue, grilled fish, cai meo vegetable...

There are 4 typical dishes to welcome "VIP guests" of ethnic Thai that you can try as visit Muong La: rotten meat, forest bugs, tadpoles and mountain rats. However, these are not easy to eat and are a challenge for most travelers by tribers' traditional way of processing and different taste.

In addition, there are some restaurants in the town of It Ong serving popular ethnic dishes with quite characteristic features such as:

- Hanoi - Muong La restaurant: It Ong Town, Muong La District, Son La Province 0976626244. Price from 30,000 ~ 200,000 VND

- Con Son Tửu Quan: It Ong Town, Muong La, Son La. The price is 25,000 VND ~ 200,000 VND

- Lam Vien Quan - mountain goat and forest pig: It Ong Town, Muong La, Son La. The price is 25,000 VND ~ 250,000 VND


Travel to Muong La or other mountainous districts in Son La, the most interesting is the choice of homestay to save costs as well as the opportunity to learn more about the cultural characteristics of the tribe hill people. Currently, Ngoc Chien commune - Muong La district is also quite developed tourism services, so visitors can easily find a suitable accommodation at reasonable prices.

In addition, in the town of It Ong and Muong La town there are quite a lot of guesthouses and hotels that are suitable for tourists such as:

- Huong Sen Hotel: Sector 3, It Ong, Muong La district. Tel: 022. 383 0057

- Hach Huyen Guesthouse: Sub-area 4, Muong La Town, Muong La District. TEL 0989 836 258

- Hien Lam Guesthouse: Sector 2, It Ong, Muong La district. Tel. 022.3.830 763

- Minh Ha Guesthouse: Section 4, Muong La Town, Muong La District. Tel. 022.3.830 111

- Xuan Huong Hostel: Sub-area 3, It Ong, Muong La district. Tel. 022.3.831 098


Travel to Muong La is an opportunity for visitors to explore the majestic mountains as well as ethnic identity and specialties. Ngoc Chien commune (Muong La district, Son La province) nowaday is a popular destination for tourists because it is located at an average elevation of over 1,800m above sea level, the cooler year-round climate like Da Lat.

This is also home of 3 ethnic groups such as Thai, Mong and La Ha with rich culture. Visitors can explore the fascination of the population of Hua Bo, attending the Ban Bon Festival, the new rice festival characteristic of the Thai ethnic group or learn the traditional handicrafts of Hmong and La Ha people.

In addition to exploring the unique culture of the people here, visitors will be immersed in the hot mineral springs of Ngoc Chien. This hot spring has now become a community tourist destination combining resort services for tourists.

In the villages of Luot and Dot has now many hot mineral baths or private basin of fokienia wood. For those who want to save money can bathe free hot water in the streams of Khau Vai or Chien stream in Muong Chien village.

In Ngoc Chien, visitors should visit Son La hydroelectric power plant located in the town of It Ong. After 7 years of construction, Son La Hydropower plant was inaugurated on 23/12/2012, is the largest hydropower plant in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

From here, visitors can upstream Da River, sightseeing boat to the reservoir of Son La hydropower, get insight the villages of the communes like Hua Trai, Muong Trai, Chieng Lao and Nam Gion, and experience life with local people here. If you choose Muong La as your destination, you can combine to stop at various points to discover the beauty of Son La land such as Moc Chau plateau, Son La city...
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