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Craving an adventure offering breathtaking landscapes, a dose of history, and vibrant culture? Plan a trip to Son La in Vietnam. Nestled in the northwest region of Vietnam, this hidden gem boasts majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls like the legendary Dai Yem, and verdant rice terraces. Explore ancient sites and the whispering tales of Old French Prison or delve into lively ethnic tribe markets overflowing with bright coloured textiles and handicrafts. This Place promises unforgettable experiences for those seeking to escape the ordinary and discover magic where nature’s beauty and cultural richness merge.

Son La & Its Geography

View of the central Dam in Son La In Vietnam

Image Credit: [Tycho] for Wikimedia Commons

Son La province in Vietnam, 300 km northwest of Hanoi shares its borders with Lai Chau and Yen Bai provinces in the North and borders with Thanh Hoa and Laos to the South. It shares its borders with Hoa Binh and Dien Bien provinces to the East and West respectively. A major chunk of Son La is dominated by the mountainous regions. Around 85% of the area comprises hilly regions and mountains, predominantly low hills with an average elevation of 600 – 700 metres. Divided by a large mountain system like Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, led to the formation of the two rivers, the Da and Ma Rivers; the terrain of this place mainly consists of steep slopes and rugged trails.

Must Read: Homestays In Vietnam

Nearby Attractions Of Son La

Son La tour wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the surrounding attractions and popular destinations. Here are a few:

1. Moc Chau Plateau

A lonely tree among the lush green tea estate and surrounded by bluish-pale orange skies at Moc Chau in Son La

Image Credit: ToanNguyen for Wikipedia

Considered as the most popular tourist spot in Son La, Mo Chau boasts lush green rice terraces, plum and cherry blossoms, vibrant yellow mustard flowers, verdant tea plantations, and beautiful scenic roads. The beauty of changing seasons and the sceneries at Moc Chau makes it a destination you can visit any time of the year. Standing majestically at an altitude of 2000 m, conquering Phieng Luong Peak is one of the must-do activities for adventure junkies. Also, Moc Chau Plateau is renowned for its verdant green rolling tea plantations – a sight to behold, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.
Location: Moc Chau District,
Timings: Open All Day

2. Tua Xua Peak

A Panaromic View Of Tua Xua Peak near Son La

Image Credit: NKSTTSSHNVN for Wikimedia Commons

Located at an altitude of 1500 – 1800 m above the sea level, Tua Xua peak is an ideal cloud-hunting spot in Son La Tour with pleasant weather conditions throughout the year. The months of January to March are the best time to spend amongst the dense clouds from its summit. With a fair share of challenges, trekking the Ta Xua Peak is an exciting and fulfilling adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. Witness awe-inspiring and captivating landscapes while navigating through the carefully designed and developed trails for trekkers. Enjoy the magnificence of nature and surrender to the ethereal beauty of Son La. Don’t miss to get amazing clicks at the nearby stunning places like Dinosaur Backbone, Stone turtle Rock and Lonely tree.
Location: Bac Yen District, on La Province
Timings: Open All Day

Suggested Read: Temples In Vietnam

3. Old French Prison & Son La Museum

Remains of the historical site of Old French Son La In Vietnam

Image Credit: Thái Nhi for Wikimedia Commons

Want a sneak peek into the history of Vietnam? This Old French Prison and Museum at Son La offers a glimpse into the painful past of the Vietnam’s history. Also called “Hell on Earth”, it showcases the torture that Vietnamese revolutionaries underwent at the hands of brutal French colonialists. This prison has foul-smelling rooms and torture chambers, which house many torture equipment that are sure to send shudders down the spine. Built by the French in 1908, the Son La Museum is a treasure trove of numerous scriptures, documents, artefacts, and songs of the ethnic tribes of the land.
Location: To Hieu Street
Timings: 7:30 AM To 11:00 AM, 1:30 PM To 5:00 PM ( Closed On Mondays)

4. Bach Long Glass Bridge

Long glass bridge held by Cables with panoramic views of the dense vegetation Son La In Vietnam

Image Credit: DangTungDuong for Wikimedia Commons

Spanning a length of 632 m and 2.4 m wide, the Bach Long Glass bridge is located 150 m above the land. Offering a forest view from the transparent glass, and breathtaking vistas of the lush green surroundings, the glass bridge is a must visit for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. This record-breaking structure holds a Guinness World Record as the longest glass-bottomed bridge in Vietnam. Rest assured about the safety of the structure, this tempered glass of 40mm thick, imported from France is used which has passed all the safety requirements.
Location: Mou Chau District, In Vietnam
Timings: 8:00 AM To 6:00 PM

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5. Dai Yem Waterfall

Gorgeous white stream of water gushing down amidst beautiful landscape at Dai Yem in Son La In Vietnam

Image Credit: ePi.Longo for Wikimedia Commons
Dai Yem waterfall is a historical landscape that is closely tied to the history of the Thai people. The Dai Yem Waterfall cascades down from 100 m and is multi-tiered. Several branches with different heights as it falls into a beautiful green lake. Imagine witnessing this spectacle from the vantage point of the vibrantly coloured Cau Tinh Yeu, aka Love Bridge, this picturesque natural attraction offers a breathtaking panorama. Dai Yem Waterfall is at its best between the months of April and September, with the water pouring down like a white silk ribbon adding brilliance to the surroundings.
Location: Muong Sang commune, Moc Chau District, Son La Province
Timings: 7:30 AM To 5:30 PM

How To Reach

One can take road to the location

Image Source:Pexels

1. By Bus: There are frequent buses to Son La from Hanoi, as often as every half-hour. There are also buses from Ninh Bin, Moc Chau, and Lao Cai. The bus station is about 5 km from the city centre.

2. By Water: A boat ride from Hanoi to Son La along Hoa Minh Lake is the perfect romantic getaway for lovers. However, it is a little heavy on the pocket and strenuous. Definitely not economical for travellers who want to save time.

Further Read: Beautiful Destinations Across Asia

With the whispering tales of a bygone era, Son La beckons history buffs, nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts with its historical sites, towering peaks and cascading waterfalls. Soak in the rich culture of the ethnic groups of Vietnam, or trek through captivating rice terraces. Hike to the summit of Tua Xua for breathtaking views or delve into the depths of history at the Old French prison and museum – Son La, etc. It is an unforgettable experience in the heart of every traveller. Embark on a trip to Vietnam if our detailed Son La guide motivates you.

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Cover Image Credit: ChieuTimViet for Wikimedia Commons

Frequently Asked Questions About Son La

Suggest a few fun activities at Son La?

Apart from hiking and trekking, go on cycling tours around Son La, boating at Thac Ba lake, shop for souvenirs at markets, socialise with the locals, enjoy the delectable Vietnamese cuisine.

Name a few more popular places worth visiting in and around Son La?

Bat Cave, Pine Forest in Ang Village, Mong Village are noteworthy places to visit.

What are the local specialities of Son La?

Grilled goat, buffalo skin salad, Pa Pinh Top (a fish delicacy), Chieng Mei duck and Mac Nhung porridge specially made of a fruit available only in Son La are a few dishes for the foodies.

What are a few gifts that one can carry back from their Son La trip?

Forest Black turmeric, hand harvested honey and tea from the Tu Xua and Moc Chau tea estates are some of the items.

How many days are needed to visit Son La?

2 -3 days are usually enough to cover major attractions of Son La.

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