Surrounded by majestic mountains and an immense blue sky, Ta Xua, Bac Yen commune, Son La province, seized the title of the cloud paradise in Vietnam. Thus, it is without dispute an ideal destination for pack backers who are engrossed with mountain admiration and exploration, and photographers who love capturing the extraordinary scenes and moments of nature in the northeast of the country.
To reach this amazing destination from Ha Noi, we have to follow a 200-kilometer route through Son Tay - Ha Trung - Thu Cuc along the National Highway 32, then turn to the National Highway 37 featuring tough steep slopes. Especially, on the way from the center of Bac Yen district to Ta Xua commune, pack backers have to conquer the continuous bending pass roads. Moreover, it is really challenging to go down the road that has some landslides after the heavy rain or offers unclear scenery in foggy days. In other words, the routes to Ta Xua is only recommended for those who have the strong courage and skillful driving.
Setting foot in Ta Xua means that you are standing at an altitude of 1,500 to 1,700 meters. In foggy and cloudy days, if you stand at the peak of a mountain in Ta Xua, you might feel as if the earth and the sky touched each other. Meanwhile, in sunny days, Ta Xua features itself as a majestic landscape photo created by the mother nature.
Featuring the cool weather all year round, Ta Xua is undoubtedly an ideal spot for those who love exploring and taking photos. At the height of 1,500 meters above sea level, its temperature never exceeds 28 degrees Celsius during the day, and drops to 17-18 degrees Celsius in the early morning in summer. In winter, the temperature is 5-7 degrees lower than that in the lowland, even it decreases to below 0 degrees Celsius and appears frost and snow during long-lasting spell of cold weather.
Visiting this charming mountainous area, tourists definitely greet the “one-of-all-kind” sunrise when the sun appears like a fire halo slowly emerging out of the sea of white clouds. It promises to be a heart-meltening moment that tourists enjoy, or at least, grasp pictures. All valleys in Ta Xua are surrounded by spectacular mountains which the cloud hangs over the peak.
We have been to Ta Xua several times for the purpose of cloud hunting. Unlike clouds in Y Ty, Sapa, Sin Ho, Tam Dao,.. the clouds in Ta Xua could gather for a long time. Therefore, travelers definitely feel free to enjoy this exhilarating scene from the early morning until 11-12 a.m. When it is drizzling and the temperature difference between daytime and nighttime is high, Ta Xua forms many clouds. Standing at the peak of a mountain from 6 to 7 a.m, you would certainly witness the breath-taking scene that the whole valley is bathed in sea of clouds in just a few minutes. How wonderful!
Ta Xua is home to mainly the ethnic Mong (H’mong) group. According to local authorities, the number of Mong people accounted for 90% of the population of Ta Xua Commune. The Mong minority in the northwestern part of the country have settled high mountains for thousands of years. The H'mong people in Ta Xua use wood and clay to build their house, which is situated on the cliffs. These houses are low, covered by cement roofing sheets and spreads across an area of 20 – 30 square meters. Noticeably, the front of the house heads out to the cloud paradise to pick up fresh air.
In addition to the cultivation of terraced rice fields, the locals of Ta Xua have 500 natural ancient tea trees. Interestingly, they are all aged hundreds of years. The girls of the Mong often process tea leaves for sale. The tea leaves are collected in high mountains and fresh and fragrant after being brewed. One thing interesting that the “family” method of tea leaves processing is only taught to the daughter.
In spite of the lack of physical setting and difficulties in life, the Mong people in Ta Xua are always optimistic. More importantly, they have been preserving and conserving the traditional culture. Young girls still wear their splendid traditional costume at home or local markets. Significantly, if you visit Ta Xua, you should give “dating destination”, the limestone cliff edge stretching out the mountain a try. This is the dating place of young men and women who are at the age of settling down of the Mong group.
In Ta Xua, the family often work on the steep slopes of the mountain. Every day, the children are energetic to go through the tough trail to get to the school. Their strong effort and will are really admirable.
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