Cloud hunting in Ta Xua: a truly unique adventure

Nga Do
Ta Xua is a mountain range located in Bac Yen District of Son La Province, lying in northern Vietnam and just about 240 km from Hanoi. This mountain range naturally forms a border between the two provinces Son La and Yen Bai.

Cloud hunting in Ta Xua: a truly unique adventure
Photo by ductungsc
At the height of 2865 meters, the peak mountain of Ta Xua is the tenth highest mountain top in Vietnam. Ta Xua’s three main mountain tops create a line which appears like the rough back of a dinosaur.

Trekking in Ta Xua is unquestionably a really challenging activity, but has been made way easier lately thanks to the road constructions. Now there are new paths leading pretty near to one of the mountain tops. Ta Xua is famous for such a superior phenomenon around its mountains: the formation of thick and shadowy Opacus clouds, making all the travelers here feel like they are standing right in paradise.

Getting to Ta Xua

From Hanoi, you can reach Ta Xua by first driving to Bac Yen, Son La. Means of transportation from Hanoi to Ta Xua could vary. If you are confident with your motorbike-riding skills, you could hire a motorcycle from Hanoi and ride there. Or else, you can always take a public long-haul bus from Yen Nghia Bus Station in Hanoi to Phu Yen – Bac Yen. After that, book a motorbike taxi for a distance of about 15km from there to the last destination – Ta Xua. Thus, if you would like to climb to higher mountain tops, trekking is required.

You would love the bitterly cold morning in Ta Xua when the sun rises together with a vast sea of fluffy clouds right in front of your eyes. Ta Xua is the floating ocean of clouds! After just about half an hour of climbing amid the freezing cold of the mountainous area, you would finally what you are hunting for. Take a deep breath and keep silent for a moment, then you could treasure that awe-inspiring sight you are beholding forever. Heaven would never felt closer, and you would feel like you could touch the cloudy sky with just a gentle touch.

How should you plan your trip?

The best time to go for a cloud hunting trip to Ta Xua is from December to March. This cold winter and springtime is when the likelihood of catching the cloud sea is highest. Those fluffy clouds are best to be hunted at dawn, in the early morning at the time the sun rises. If you would like to raise the probability of chasing those clouds, it is highly recommended to go cloud hunting on such a day when the temperatures are quite low at night and high during the daytime. Also, pay attention if the humidity is high and it is sunny because that would be the perfect day for your voyage to see the cloudy ocean.

The whole trip could last for about 2 days and one night spent either in Bac Yen or camping in Ta Xua. Another choice for you is to drop by Moc Chau, which is a lovely city in Son La with tea hills and flower festivals. Therefore, if Moc Chau is included in your itinerary, your trip should be expended to 3 days.

Other activities

Visitors to Bac Yen usually spent a night here to prepare for their cloud-hunting trek on the next day and the most famous thing to do in that time is to try hot bathtubs prepared by the H’mong. H’mong are an ethnic minority living primarily in the mountainous areas in Northern Vietnam. There would be H’mong family who organized hot bathtubs mixed with special herbs for visitors with a small fee. The hot bath could bring you a very relaxing retreat from the bitter cold outside. You can also participate in some H’mong authentic festivals if you arrive on that occasion. Besides, there’s actually not so many activities since Bac Yen now still stays unaffected by any tourism initiative by the government or the local people.

Attractions nearby

On your way from Hanoi to Ta Xua, you can drop by Xuan Son National Park in Phu Tho Province. In the park, there are a beautiful cave, an old bridge crossing a peaceful-flowing channel and many different types of local flora and fauna. Xuan Son National Park is the perfect choice for those who are keen on discovering the unspoiled beauty of Vietnam, the fresh and mysterious atmosphere of forests and mountains, along with the culture of ethnic minority groups here.

If you are looking for a unique travel experience during your trip to Vietnam, Ta Xua cloud hunting journey is definitely what you should be after. Just pack along your wanderlust and prepare for a magnificent sunrise above the amazing cloudy sea of Ta Xua.

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