Son La Tourism Potential

3:34:01 PM | 9/11/2016

Son La province, over 300 km northwest of Hanoi, lies on National Highway 6. As a centre of the northwest mountainous region with diverse and abundant tourism resources, Son La holds natural and humanity tourism resources to create unique, appealing tourism products to domestic and foreign investors and tourists.
Son La has a tropical monsoon climate, featured by dry cold winter and humid, rainy hot summer. With a lot of mountains and valleys and the formation of many hydropower plants, Son La province has many subclimatic regions. The regions with temperature of 18oC - 21oC are suitable for tourism development (Moc Chau Plateau, Ta Xua - Bac Yen, Co Ma - Thuan Chau, Ngoc Chien - Muong La, etc.). It also has hot and humid climate subregions as Song Ma, Muong La and Phu Yen. With a cool climate in the springtime, Moc Chau Plateau with dreamlike flower hills is enchanting tourists far and wide.
Limestone mountains create stunning caves such as Bat Cave, five caves in On Village (Moc Chau), Nha Nhung and Chi Day caves (Yen Chau), Tham Tong Tat Cave (Son La City) and Hua Bo Cave (Muong La). River, stream and lake systems in Son La are abundant and beautiful to shape spectacular natural landscapes such as Dai Yem Waterfall (Moc Chau), Tat Nang Waterfall (Chieng Yen, Van Ho) and Da River. After Son La Hydropower Plant is completed, the reservoir of this plant stretches along 150 km and covers an area of ​​about 16,000 ha. This is a great potential for tourism development. Besides, Son La has other famous lakes for tourism development, such as Ban Ang Lake (Dong Sang, Moc Chau), Chieng Khoi Lake (Yen Chau) and Tien Phong Lake (Mai Son). Markedly, the province has many hot-water springs like Mong Spring in Son La City, Muoc Bu Spring in Muong La.
Son La province has 12 ethnic groups, of which the majorities are the Thai, Kinh, Mong and Muong. This is considered a typical humanity tourism resource possibly to be exploited to generate voluble cultural tourism products. Ethnic groups in Son La are currently keeping characteristic cultural values from which Son La province can create unique tourism products from other localities in the northwest. Ethnic groups have unique cultural identities. There are similarities and differences in their cultures and this shapes a more characteristic culture of Son La. Currently, many ethnic villages in Son La keep a lot of traditional livelihood and cultural values. Many villages have started developing community-based ecotourism models, for example, Na Bai, Phu Mau 1, Phu Mau 2 villages (Chieng Yen commune, Van Ho district), Hua Tat village (Van Ho commune, Van Ho district), Hai, Ca and Bo villages (Chieng An commune, Son La City), Tong and Hum villages (Chieng Xom commune, Son La City), Han 2, Han 4 and Han 5 villages (Muong Do commune, Phu Yen district), Luot village (Ngoc Chien commune, Muong La district), Ka and Duc villages (Chieng Khoang commune, Quynh Nhai district), Hong Ngai commune - Mong culture and A Phu family cave (Bac Yen district).
Son La province has a glorious history of fighting against invaders. The province is now home to many historical and cultural sites and scenic landscapes certified by national and provincial authorities. Son La Prison built by the French in 1908 on Khau Ca Hill jailed many Vietnamese revolutionaries and political prisons, with many later being key leaders of Vietnam like To Hieu, Le Duan, Truong Chinh, Van Tien Dung, Nguyen Luong Bang and Le Thanh Nghi. Other relics include King Le Thai Tong Temple, (Son La City), Moc Ly Post (Moc Chau district), Ky Dai Thuan Chau (where Uncle Ho visited and talked to fellowmen in Thuan Chau), Na San Entrenched Fortification, Mai Son Young Volunteers Monument, Tai Vai Bridge where Yen Chau female militia shot down American planes, Bat Cave in Moc Chau, Chi Day Cave in Yen Chau, and Muong Va Tower architectural masterpiece in Sop Cop.
Ethnic minorities in Son La have a lot of festivals and folk games, typical of love affairs, family ties and friendship. The Thai people have Ban Flower Festival in March; Long Tong Festival in Chieng Hac commune, Yen Chau district; and Boat Racing Festival in Quynh Nhai district. The Mong people have Nao Song Festival (Moc Chau) and Tu Su Festival (Yen Chau) with many traditional games played. The La Ha people have Happy Rice Rite. The Khang people in Quynh Nhai have Xen Pang A Festival - a thanking rite to ancestors and supernatural forces for health, wealth and peace. National Day, September 2, is also a major festival in Moc Chau district.
Cuisines in Son La are typically local with many specialty dishes like pipe wine, roe deer liquor, grilled fish, steamed chicken with herbs, smoked meat, and rice in bamboo tube.
Traditional handicrafts like Pieu scarf of the Thai people, brocade, kapok mats and rattan articles with unique patterns and shapes. Handmade colourful clothes of Thai women are also meaningful souvenir for tourists.
With abundant natural and humanity resources, Son La has gradually shaped tourism into an important economic sector. The province will focus on developing leisure tourism, medical tourism, sightseeing, cultural tourism, ecological tourism, community tourism, adventure tourism, discovery tourism and spiritual tourism, among others. To unlock this potential, Son La province is calling investors to survey and seek tourism investment opportunities.
Song Uyen