By road, Moc Chau district is 190 km to the West of Hanoi. One of the things Moc Chau is well known for, and the main reason why Vietnamese tourists come here, is its picturesque tea plantations. This mountainous area is beautiful and that natural beauty has been complimented by the neatly planted rows of tea plants. One of the tea plantations has the tea plants arranged into a heart shape and many newly married Vietnamese couples travel here to have their photograph taken in front of the heart shaped tea plantation wearing the traditional costumes of the local hill tribes.
About Moc Chau
Moc Chau district is centred around a large valley through which the main road from Hanoi to Son La passes. Moc Chau has some small urban settlements which serve as commercial and cultural centres for local people who mostly live in small rural communities making a living from farming activities, most notably the cultivation of tea, fruit trees and the rearing of cows for milk and yoghurt.
Moc Chau District is located at an altitude of over 1,000 metres above sea level which means the climate is more temperate than other low parts of Vietnam with rising to around 20°C in the summer and becoming cold in the winter months. This climate allow the cultivation of high value and high quality farm produce providing a livelihood for a large rural population.
Two Main Ethnic Groups
There are are wide range of ethnic groups living in Moc Chau, each with their own separate communities and cherished cultural identities. The two predominant ethnic groups in the area are the Hmong and the Thai people. The colourful costumes they wear compliment the scenery in the same way that the cultivation of tea plants and fruit trees adding to the attractiveness of the area for tourists.
These hill tribes also stage annual festivals which are themselves beginning to become a tourist attraction, most notable the ‘Love Market’. Every year around Autumn time Moc Chau Town hosts the ‘Love Market’ which is where young Hmong men court colourfully dressed young Hmong women with music played on a traditional wind instrument accompanied by elaborate dances.
Travel around Moc Chau
The tea plantations are on the hillsides some distance away from the main road and the urban settlement of Moc Chau Town. From the guesthouses and hotels in the area, and the larger neighbouring settlement of Mai Chau City, most visitors opt to use motorbikes to negotiate the narrow tracks which lead through the hills.
Some visitors choose to drive themselves by motorbike all the way from Hanoi to Moc Chau so that they have a motorbike which they can use when they arrive to reach the various viewpoints in Moc Chau district. You can also take a bus from Hanoi to Moc Chau and rent a bike when you arrive in Moc Chau town. Public bus services to Moc Chau depart from My Dinh bus station in Hanoi. Any bus travelling to Son La or Dien Bien will pass through Moc Chau on route.