Moc Chau (Mộc Châu) is a big plateau in Son La province. It is well-known for poetic landscapes with endless grass fields, huge gardens of plum and apricot trees and various flowers, immense tea plantations and large herds of milk cows.
There are many ways to travel to Moc Chau plateau, however, I think the best way is traveling by motorbike. During the trip, you can observe the poetic but majestic beauty of Moc Chau.
If traveling by motorbike is not of your interest, you may get to Moc Chau by bus from Hanoi city, and then, rent a motorbike there. However, personally, I prefer to travel by motorbike from Hanoi because you can take time to observe and explore the beauty of Moc Chau along the road. The following are some of my travel experiences and tips when traveling to Moc Chau.
Best time to visit Moc Chau
There are 2 main periods in a year when tourists often visit Moc Chau, including late Oct-Jan – this is the blossom time of flowers of kale and Da Quy, and Feb-Mar, when Moc Chau is covered with pink cherry blossoms and pure white plum flowers.
How to get to Moc Chau from Hanoi
As I mentioned above, there are 2 main ways to get Moc Chau from Hanoi:
1. By motorbike
From Hanoi, take route 6, if you are an adventurous person, you want to take the old route 6. The route is of quite low quality. Though the journey might be rough, you can enjoy stunning view when taking this road. As the route passes Da river, you will have the chance to see some beautiful waterfalls and Hoa Binh hydroelectric dam, a famous place in Vietnam.
Traveling along the Old route 6, you will come across many villages H’Mong ethnic group and witness gorgeous gardens of cherry blossoms and plum flowers (especially in spring).
If you travel to Moc Chau by motorbikes you should spend 3 days there. On the first day, on the way to Moc Chau, stop and spend one night in Mai Chau (Mai Châu, a town in Hoa Binh province). On the second day, travel to Moc Chau and explore its beauty. On the third day, return to Hanoi and spend some time visiting some attractions on the way back.
2. By bus
The distance between Hanoi and Moc Chau is 190km (about 120 miles), so it often takes about 4-5 hours to get there. There are many buses leaving for Moc Chau in a day. Most of them start from My Dinh bus station. Note: All buses going to Son La and Dien Bien always pass Moc Chau.
– 2 popular bus agencies (sleeper bus) that you may consider (starting from My Dinh bus station): Khanh Thu bus +84947.869 168 and Bac Son bus +8422.355.1559
Hotels and Motels in Moc Chau
Most hotels and motels in Moc Chau concentrate in The New Moc Chau Farm Town (thị trấn Nông Trường Mộc Châu Mới) and the Old Farm Town (thị trấn Nông Trường Mộc Châu Cũ). Price ranges from $10 to $15/room with adequate equipments. The following are some hotels for you to consider:
1. Sao Xanh hotel is a new hotel with rooms of high quality. However, it’s quite far from the town center. The hotel is on Nguyen Luong Bang street. Tel: +8422.3789.999 or +8422.3868.979
2. Cong Doan hotel is at 273 Le Thanh Nghi street – Phieng Luong in the town center. Tel: +8422.3869.047
3. The Anh motel is opposite Cong Doan hotel. Tel: +84223. 869.059 or +84979.869.059 or +84937. 869.059.
4. In addition, you can try Rung Thong Ban Ang stilt house (a type of traditional house of Thai ethnic group). This kind of accommodation is chosen by many tourists due to its uniqueness and low price, only $3/person. The owner will serve a wide range of traditional dishes of Thai peoples, which are interesting and tasty. However, there is no warm water for bath. Add: Ban Ang 2 – Dong Sang – Moc Chau. Tel: +84169.9132.380 or +841649.5048.96
5. Mr. Thanh, $3/person, +84123.918.2448. Motorbike renting service is available.
6. Mrs. Huong, +84912.351.186
Renting motorbikes in Moc Chau
Most hotels and homestays provide vehicle renting service with the average price of $10/motorbike/day. If not, you may contact:
Mrs. Hoa: +84127.7009.909
Mr. Thanh: +84123.918.2448
Mrs. Nhung: +84223.866.690. Her house is on the road to Ban Ang.
What to eat in Moc Chau
There are not many choices, so you may eat either inside or outside the town. However, the best restaurants are out of town. Before entering the town, you may eat at Restaurant 64 and Restaurant 70 on route 6, which are only 5km from the town center. Another restaurant with the tasty dish “Be Chao” is Quang Bac restaurant on route 6, TK 40 (Tiểu Khu 40 – Sub-zone 40). You may contact them at +8422.3869.004
If you travel in a big group (of about 6 members), you may eat at:
– Lan Hong 64 restaurant on route 6, TK Chieng Di (Tiểu khu Chiềng Đi – Chieng Di sub-zone), Moc Chau Farm town. With $6, you will have the chance to taste good dishes of Thai ethnic group.
– Trung Hieu restaurant on Tran Huy Lieu street. The signature dish of the restaurant is hot pot. It is very cheap, just less than $30/table for 6 people. The owner is really friendly. If you want, he can organize a campfire accompanied by a special traditional dance by Thai ethnic girls for you with the price of $60.
Attractions in Moc Chau
You shoud rent a motorbike to travel around Moc Chau. The following are some famous attractions in Moc Chau
1. Ba Phach village (bản Ba Phách): The road leading to Ba Phach village is a bit rough, especially in rainy season. However, in spring, the 2 sides of the road are covered with pink cherry blossom.
2. Pa Kha (bản Pà Khà) and Long Luong (bản Lóng Luông) villages of H’Mong ethnic group are near route 6. On the way from Hanoi to Moc Chau, you will pass these villages. There are stunning plum gardens in the two villages.
3. Ngu Dong in On village (Ngũ Động bản Ôn) is a forest with many caves. To explore the forest, you will have to find a place to park your motorbike and trek in the forest for about 3km before arriving at any cave. On the way to Ngu Dong, you should visit the heart-shaped tea hill. This is an ideal place for taking photos.
4. Dai Yem waterfall (Thác Dải Yếm) is on the way to Song Lap border gate. The waterfall is very beautiful, particularly in rain season.