Blumea blooms, tea gardens lure backpackers to Moc Chau
At the end of November, Nguyen Viet Hai and his friends drove 200km from Ha Noi to Moc Chau District in the northern province of Son La to hike through the white blumea flower fields.
By Lan Dung
|Photo-ops galore: Vast fields of white flowers and lush green tea plantations draw regular visitors to Moc Chau District in Son La Province at this time of the year.
Since his first trip to the plateau in 2009, the Hanoian officer often travels here to see the beauty of the flower fields.
A trip to Moc Chau to see the white blumea flowers is marked on the annual travel calendars of Vietnamese backpackers such as Hai.
"November and December are ideal times for tourists to visit Moc Chau because the flower fields in the mist are very beautiful. There are still some flower fields in Moc Chau in January and February but tourists have a different feeling in the spring atmosphere with the peach blossoms," he said.
Because of the cold weather in the north, flowers are difficult to grow. Therefore, most local backpackers choose this time to flock to Moc Chau plateau to take photographs with the special flowers. Also, for male white-collar tourists, this becomes a way of challenging their driving skills.
Ba Phach village in Dong Sang Commune, which is located six kilometres from Moc Chau town, is famous for the most beautiful flower fields in the district. People who travel there for the first time will be surprised by the tens of hectares of white flowers. The fields are covered by white colours, interspersed with the green of corn and red of poinsettias. Looking from afar, the flower fields are like white clouds floating, making visitors think of walking in a sea of clouds.
|Sitting pretty: Members of Ha Noi Couchsurfing pose against white blumea fields in Moc Chau District. — Photo Ha Noi Couchsurfing
Elementary teacher Nguyen Huyen Van chose Moc Chau as a backdrop for her wedding photos, thanks to advice from her brother, a professional photographer. She was impressed by the white flowers and the nature, and decided to spend two days there.
"We are the only ones standing in the middle of the fields. Plus, with the melodious rhythms from mini speakers, it creates a very romantic scene, like love stories in a South Korean drama," she said. "It has become one of the most unforgettable moments in my life."
A wedding album package photographed in Moc Chau over two days costs approximately VND30 million (nearly US$1,430). Besides taking photos in the flower fields, young couples will be taken to well-known tourism destinations, including tea plantation fields in Nong Truong Moc Chau town.
In the flower season every year, Ha Noi Couchsurfing organises trips to Moc Chau plateau for Vietnamese members and foreigners. Le Minh Hieu, ambassador for Ha Noi Couchsurfing, said that these journeys were held, depending on the flower season, such as in September to see ripened paddy fields in Yen Bai Province's Mu Cang Chai District and October for tam giac mach – a mountainous flower in Ha Giang Province.
This year there is a trip to Moc Chau which has drawn 54 participants, including five foreigners. Deborah Magloire, a French student from FPT University, joined the trip on December 7-8 and was impressed by the beautiful flower fields.
From Ha Noi, visitors can drive their motorbikes on national road No 6 to get to Moc Chau. After visiting white blumea flower fields, tourists can go to see attractions in Moc Chau district. Doi cave, located in the centre of Moc Chau town, is known as a living place for Vietnamese ancient people 3,000 to 3,500 years ago. The second place tourists cannot miss is a pine forest in Ang village, which is situated three kilometers from the town. Travelers can walk around the pond near the entrance of the forest or discover the pond with rented pedal boats.
If you still have time, you can make a visit to Dai Yem waterfall and a variety of five caves in Ngu Dong-Ban On.
"On the roads to the centre of Moc Chau town, we often stopped to visit the fields and take photos with the flowers," she said. "Compared with ‘tam giac mach', I prefer this white flower more. I can not explain why, it is just my feeling."
Hieu said that international tourists actually did not care about visiting Moc Chau in the flower season, and only enjoyed discovering the culture and lifestyles of people.
"Mai Chau District has been developing tourism, while Moc Chau and Ha Giang has not been. Thanks to backpackers, these provinces discover their strong points and focus on taking advantage of them, such as Ha Giang organising its tourism and cultural heritage week last November," he said.
"There are some positive changes in Moc Chau this year. The administration has added direction signs to show tourists the route to the flower fields and local residents charge money for visiting their fields."
Spending a weekend in Moc Chau is the best way to refresh after hard working hours at offices. Now is the perfect time to set a plan to visit the northern district and walk among the gorgeous scenery. — VNS