Backpacking in Ta Xua, Bac Yen, Son La

Not only the paradise of clouds filled with emotion, Ta Xua in the winter is also brilliant with the red Poinsettia, known as Christmas Star flowers.

In recent years, in the northern mountainous area, the cloud paradise of Y Ty has ceded the throne to a new landmark, Ta Xua (Bac Yen district, Son La province).

1. Located about 200 km from Hanoi, Ta Xua is a fascinating and interesting weekend destination with pristine mountains and mysterious sea of clouds.

Initially, it was only a name of the upland commune of Bac Yen district, such as Cheu Village, Xim Vang, Hang Chu, the appearance of backpackers turned the commune center into a famous spot for check-in.

Back to Ta Xua after 5 years, I was surprised because the communal center, once was a quiet corner, is now changed a lot.  

Many homestay-style lodges have mushroomed along the inter-communal road, with a rustic café named Gio (Wind), rustic furnishings, unfinished buildings, sprawling materials and some "messy sadness” that no one wants to mention.

The 15km section from the center of Bac Yen town to Ta Xua is damaged and now it is being repaired so it is quite shocking and dusty.

It is cold, foggy; the mountain is dry because it is not a sowing season. Only the red color of the Christmas Star flowers. They are like the splashes of fire between the blue sky, flared up after each turn, welcoming strangers in their Vietnam motorbike tours to this paradise.

2. The road sign Ta Xua is hidden behind a poinsettia bush, which makes me remember the memory of the conquest of Tram Tau - Bac Yen in the middle of the night.

Friends of that day are now far away from each other, only I myself today return to the top of the mountain, looking for the boys herding buffalos and cutting down wood as well as the girls embroidering skirts in the could and sky.

No one was waiting for me on the cliff, under the clouds. Only Christmas Star flowers silently bloom on the fence or outside of the house, the flowers are vividly red along the winding path.

The colors of the new year here are more alive than the street lights in the city. You do not have to squeeze, breathe in the dust or find a car parking lot.

Nothing is more interesting than finding ourselves in the middle of the mountains and the sky, far from the city, but  Christmas and the New Year atmosphere seemed to be overwhelming. Normally, Christmas Star flowers are used for decoration on this occasion.

Not only the poinsettias, there are also early peach buds that bloom early, announcing the coming spring in Ta Xua. The quiet peach flowers bloom in the garden, the fence and the cliff. Young children plays together while adults gather sometimes to say nothing in a dreamlike setting and peace.

3. It seems that the overload of visitors has caused the power station to collapse. We have to use a flashlight to cook rice, wash vegetables, and stir frantically for dinner. The owner of the house bought three H’mong hens from the village for the grilled chicken beside the campfire.

From time to time, the sound of motorbikes rose on the street, looking through the door we could see a group of two or three motorbikes carrying backpacks, reflective clothing - a typical image of young backpackers. They were running slowly, might be they would like to find an overnight accommodation.

I wrapped myself in two blankets- the night in Ta Xua is so cold. The friends have brought camera to take photos of the moon, until midnight I still did not see them coming back.

The wind blowing outside the door, the girl at the bed next to me was sleepless, partly because she is so excited to get there, because of the cold, because the sound of mountains and forests echo far and near.

4. I intended to get up early to go hunting the dawn with and sea of cloud but fell asleep in the noise of the vehicle early in the morning. By the time I drove to Cheu Village, Xim Vang, the sun rose higher than the top of the mountain, hanging on the top of the head.

Yet, the legendary Ta Xua dinosau’s back was still immersed in clouds.

You can choose a place to stop the vehicle, away from the sign marking Ta Xua commune, a few steps away from the noisy commune center on the weekend with motorcycles, cars and more tourists than the local people.

I sat on the edge of a canyon with an ideal view into the valley. Down there, the road bends was like a silk, the roofs were hidden in the sea of clouds. Somtimes, the clouds filled the heart of the valley, covering the top of the mountain.

I wondered if I was in heaven?

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