VietnamNorth Vietnam TravelFirst Time in Moc Chau

First Time in Moc Chau

Moc Chau Town is located in Moc Chau District in Son La Province in northern Vietnam. It is about 5 hours by bus to the west of Hanoi.

Population of Son La Province (2019): 1.2 mil Moc Chau District: 130,000

Ethnic groups: Thai, Viet (Kinh), Dao, H’Mong, Muong, Kho Mu

Highlights: Moc Chau Plateau, Plum Valley, tea plantations, Thung Khe Pass

Climate

The average annual temperature is 19.8oC (67.6oF). The warmest month of the year is June, with an average temperate of 24.1oC (75oF), and the coldest month of the year is January with temperatures averaging 13.1oC (55.6oF).

With a warm and temperate climate, the summer has a good amount of rainfall with precipitation of about 1,395 mm (54.9 inches) per year.

Transport

Moc Chau Town is 200 km west of Hanoi and takes 5 hours by bus.

Most people will travel from Hanoi to Moc Chau through 2 options:
1) Take the bus
2) Drive their motorbikes

Bus

Buses between Hanoi and Son La run daily from Hanoi’s My Dinh Bus Station and Yen Nghia Bus Station. 

All buses going to Son La will pass through Moc Chau Town.

My Dinh Bus Station
(view map)

At My Dinh Bus Station, the buses run from 5 AM – 9 PM daily. The price is VND 160,000 per person for a sleeping bus.

Yen Nghia Bus Station
(view map)

At Yen Nghia Bus Station, the buses run from 5 AM – 1 PM daily. The price is VND 130,000 per person for a seat.

Moc Chau Bus Station
(view map)

Since Moc Chau is a small town, to return to Hanoi, you can request to be picked up, usually from the side of the national road, by the bus company. The price is about VND 200,000 per person for a one-way trip. Check the timetable and prices from Moc Chau to Hanoi.

Look for private transfers to Moc Chau below:

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Motorbikes

Since it is 200 km from Hanoi to Moc Chau, you should plan for the petrol station for 1 or 2 stops along the way.

At Moc Chau Town, motorbikes for rent are available for VND 150,000 – 200,000 per day at the homestays or hotels. It is a small town, so not many places have rentals available, though there are a few rental agencies (view map).

Travel Guides:

Packing list for Vietnam

Accommodations in Moc Chau Town:

Bungalows, Homestay, Eco-lodges, or Hotel options:

(View on Agoda)

See our recommended places on where to stay in Moc Chau

moc chau accommodation 3

moc chau accommodation 2

Lavallee Bungalow in Moc Chau (view prices & availability)

moc chau accommodation

Attractions in Moc Chau Town & Son La Province:

Thung Khe Pass

(view map)

On the way from Hanoi to Moc Chau on national road QL6, you will pass by Thung Khe Pass, also known as the white rock mountain pass. It is 120 km to the west of Hanoi. Located at 1,000 m above sea level, a stopover for a break will offer a panoramic view of Mai Chau Town. 

The vendors at the rest stop sell refreshments, such as coffee, water, and soft drinks, and snacks like boiled corn, boiled eggs, rice in a bamboo tube, sweet potatoes, and bananas.

thung khe pass 2

thung khe pass

Moc Chau Plateau – Moc Chau’s Highest Peak

(view map)

Moc Chau Plateau is about 1,000 m above sea level and around 80 km long and 25 km wide. This place has cool temperatures in the summer with an average of 20oC (68oF). The grass area covers more than 14,000 hectares suitable for planting tea, strawberries, and animal husbandry, particularly cows. Many pure-bred and crossbred cows imported from the Netherlands are raised in Moc Chau state-run farm to produce tinned milk and yogurt.

Plum Valley Na Ka

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Located 16 km north of Moc Chau Town, the plum valley is in Na Ka Commune. You can pay an entrance fee to a sectioned orchard owner (VND 20,000 – 30,000 per person) to pick and eat the plums from the trees; it is an all-you-can-eat price. Alternatively, you can buy the plums at a price of VND 15,000 – 25,000 per kilogram. Plum harvest season is from May – July.

moc chau plum valley na ka 2

moc chau plum valley na ka 5

moc chau plum valley na ka 3

moc chau plum valley na ka 4

Tea Plantations

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There are various tea plantations throughout Moc Chau with a popular one being the Oolong tea plantation.

moc chau tea plantation

Hang Doi (Bat Cave)

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Son Moc Huong Cave (Bat Cave) is about 300 m northwest of Moc Chau Town. The karst limestone cave has a height of 100 m above sea level with a length of 80 m and a width of 25 m.

Buckwheat Flower Field

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Located off of the side of national road QL6, 10 km south of Moc Chau Town, you can stop by this buckwheat flower field if you come with a motorbike. Usually, there are ethnic children guarding these fields and they will ask for an entrance fee of VND 15,000 to visit the fields for photos.

moc chau buckwheat flower field 3

moc chau buckwheat flower field

moc chau buckwheat flower field 2

Dai Yem Waterfall

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Dai Yem (Pink Blouse) Waterfall is about 3 km from Moc Chau. Nearby, Vat Village of the Thai ethnic group is about 1 km away from the waterfall; it has the oldest history in Moc Chau.

Strawberry Fields

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There are a few strawberry fields in Moc Chau. Visiting these fields, you can order a locally grown fresh strawberry smoothie.

moc chau strawberries 2

moc chau strawberries

moc chau strawberries 3

Other Attractions in Son La Province:

Son La Prison Relic and Museum

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Located at the center of Son La City, 328 km from Hanoi, the provincial prison was originally built by the French in 1908. However, between 1930 – 1945, thousands of Vietnamese patriots were imprisoned there, and some of these key individuals later became leaders of the Revolution for National Liberation.

The museum also exhibits other historical and cultural traditions of the 12 ethnic groups living in Son La Province.

Eating and Drinking in Moc Chau:

Moc Sa wine, deep-fried minnows, yogurt with purple sticky rice, tender grilled goat meat, and thinly sliced beef wrapped with veggies are the specialties here.

moc chau wine

Moc Sa wine made from corn

moc chau be chao

Tender grilled goat meat – great to pair with Moc Sa wine in the chilly weather

moc chau beef

Thinly sliced beef to be wrapped in rice paper with raw bananas, cucumber, pineapple, mint, fresh chili, basil, sawtooth herb, and noodles

moc chau fried fish

Deep-fried minnows with scales on for the crunch

moc chau meal

The minnows are great with rice and stir-fried morning glory vegetables

moc chau yogurt

Yogurt with fermented purple sticky rice

Shopping in Moc Chau:

Peaches and plums are the fruits of Moc Chau. Peaches harvest season is in May and Plums are from May to July. If you want to support the local minorities, during the fruit seasons, you can stop by and buy fruits from them. They are usually sold by women and children sitting on the roadside.

Other local specialties include tea (bought from tea plantations or packaged at the local market) and products from fresh milk, such as yogurt.

Moc Chau Market (view map)

Festivals in Son La Province

Hoa Ban Festival happens on the 2nd lunar month. A festival of the Thai ethnic group, Hoa Ban (a flower) begins to blossom coloring the mountains in white. People pray for abundant crops, luck, peace, and materially secure life. In Lai Chau, people exchange love songs on boats with girls singing songs while the boys play the flute.

New Rice Festival is on the 10th lunar month, after the harvest season. This festival is an occasion for the Kho Mu ethnic group to celebrate a period of hard work. Many rituals take place are connected to agriculture.

Tourism Division: Group 3, Chieng Le Ward, Son La City

Post Office: (view map) Moc Chau Town, Moc Chau District, Son La Province

Have questions or comments? Please feel free to leave us a comment below.

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