MOÄC CHAÂU MAGIC

With its cooler cli­mate and sump­tu­ous fruits, Moäc Chaâu makes an ideal des­ti­na­tion

Viet Nam News - - Front Page - Thanh Nga

Of­fer­ing an un­usu­ally cool cli­mate and a raft of pleas­ant ac­tiv­i­ties, Moäc Chaâu is quickly es­tab­lish­ing it­self as a hid­den gem of the tourism sec­tor.

Moäc Chaâu Plateau in the north­west­ern moun­tain­ous prov­ince of Sôn La may be the per­fect des­ti­na­tion for you if you are look­ing to es­cape from the sum­mer heat. Here, aver­age sum­mer tem­per­a­tures are 20260C and there is usu­ally a cool, calm­ing breeze. In par­tic­u­lar, vis­i­tors be­tween April and June can en­joy a very spe­cial hol­i­day as in th­ese months it is plum-har­vest­ing sea­son. The fields of plum trees turn luscious pinks, reds and pur­ples, stretch­ing out into the dis­tance al­most as far as the eye can see.

In the early morn­ing, Moâng and Thaùi peo­ple call one an­other to gather plums. Their con­ver­sa­tions and laugh­ter echo out over the hills. Then, when the sun goes down, hun­dreds of tonnes of plums are packed into bas­kets in prepa­ra­tion for trade across the coun­try.

For lo­cals, the plum tree is a gift from na­ture be­cause it grows ex­tremely well on high­land soil and re­quires very lit­tle care. Fur­ther­more, it pro­duces a par­tic­u­larly valu­able yield.

Phaïm Thaønh Laâm, 50, says that this year plums are sell­ing at about VNÑ8,000 (30 US cents) per kilo­gramme, which is VNÑ3,000 more than last year. As a re­sult, the lo­cal peo­ple, al­ready known for their cheer­i­ness, are feel­ing par­tic­u­larly pos­i­tive this year.

Laâm’s own plum field cov­ers an area of 2ha and con­tains 200 trees which are on aver­age 15 years old. Each tree gives him 50-60kg of fruit per year which can be sold for up to VNÑ450,000 ($22.5).

Ac­cord­ing to Laâm, ev­ery house­hold in Moäc Chaâu has around 5,000sq.m to plant plum trees.

“It is an im­por­tant source of in­come for peo­ple in the plateau. The plums here can make lo­cals wealthy.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ngoâ Thaønh Ñaïo, a mem­ber of the man­age­ment board of the Moäc Chaâu Tourism Area, they have been given sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment for the build­ing of a unique tourism pro­gramme.

“ Vis­i­tors go to the plum fields and pay fees of up to VNÑ30,000 ($2.5) per per­son to eat, stay at a lo­cal home and har- vest plums. Af­ter the har­vest, the tourists are paid for pick­ing the fruit,” said Ñaïo.

This op­tion is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar with guests to Moäc Chaâu. They en­joy the feel­ing of pulling down plum tree branches, pluck­ing the fruits and drop­ping them in the har­vest bas­ket. If they are thirsty, they can snack on the big­gest, most suc­cu­lent fruit while sit­ting down and lis­ten­ing to the twit­ter­ing of the birds.

If farm­ing is not your cup of tea, you can spend your free time ex­plor­ing the abun­dant grassy hills and tea plan­ta­tions, tak­ing pho­tos and learn­ing about the sim­ple but charm­ing life in rus­tic Moäc Chaâu.

Just 3km from Moäc Chaâu, you will come across Daûi eám wa­ter­fall, known as Baûn Vaät by lo- cal peo­ple. It is a his­toric land­scape, closely en­twined with the his­tory of the Thaùi peo­ple.

It looks in­cred­i­bly stun­ning dur­ing the rainy sea­son from April to Septem­ber, when the 70m- wide wa­ter­fall crashes down in a daz­zling white froth, im­pos­ingly dra­matic and po­etic.

A visit to the wa­ter­fall may whet your ap­petite for a trip slightly fur­ther afield. Lo­cated 40km to the south of Moäc Chaâu is the 27,886ha Xuaân Nha- Soáp Coäp Na­ture Re­serve, which boasts a rich flora and fauna sys­tem.

With its end­less plum forests, fields of tea, dairy cows graz­ing leisurely on the im­mense green grass fields and beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral land­scapes, Moäc Chaâu is cer­tain to give you a very en­joy­able hol­i­day. —

ipe or the pick­ing: It is plum-har­vest­ing time in Moäc Chaâu. — Photo s a.vn

ruit trai un: Moâng girls go to pick plums to­gether.

i e oo : Plums are an im­por­tant source of in­come for peo­ple in Moäc Chaâu. — VNS Pho­tos

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