The Ta Xua natural park, located in northwestern part of Vietnam, has recently appealed to many tourists as an impressive and mesmerizing place to explore.
Nestled in Son La Province, the area has been known as one of the best places to observe clouds, take impressive pictures and get a “taste” of Vietnam’s nature.
Ta Xua was named a reserved area in 2002, covering over 42,000 hectares. The center of the area is 1,500-2,000 meters above sea level.
Many youngsters choose to drive to Ta Xua by motorbike – one of the most popular forms of backpacking among Vietnamese youth.
According to many, the most memorable part of the road from Hanoi to Ta Xua would be from Bac Yen Village to Ta Xua Mountain, which is also the last part of the route before reaching the beautiful natural park.
This part of the road consists of many steep hills which challenge tourists’ driving skills and their confidence.
Most tourists choose reasonably priced accommodations ranging from VND50,000 (US$2) to VND150,000 ($6).
Usually the accommodations also provide simple, local meals such as fried bamboo shoots, Vietnamese sweet and sour soup, or fried vegetables at a considerably low price.
The urban area is also surrounded by clouds.
However, some of the most beautiful places to enjoy clouds would be Dinh Gio, Ban Tro or Song Lung Khung Long (Dinosaur Spine) (*).
It might come as a surprise that most photographers who come here to take pictures of the cloudy scenery do not come out until late at night.
According to one of the experienced photographers, most clouds do not appear until 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
The photographer also revealed some of his “tips” on how to take beautiful pictures.
Long exposure is one of the key elements, according to the photographer.
It allows the dim urban lights, stars and street lights to be clearly seen in the photos.
However, Ta Xua is not only beautiful during nighttime.
When the first rays of sunlight appear behind breathtaking mountains, tourists cannot help but gaze at the morning frost that seems to blend all the clouds between the incredible mountains.
In no time, the sun rises above all the mountains shining down the valleys, giving the area a warm yellow and orange shade.
One of the most popular places to see the clouds close to the ground would be villages scattered around the area such as Lang Chieu, Xim Vang, Ta Xua and Hang Dong.
Even though the Ta Xua natural park is not the only place one can see clouds between the mountains, clouds in other destinations including Sa Pa, Tam Dao and Binh Lieu tend to disperse rather fast, shortening the time and opportunities tourists have to enjoy the scenery.
In Ta Xua, one can enjoy the clouds even after the sun has moved high above the mountains at 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
Because the area is surrounded by high mountains, and does not have a lot of wind, the clouds tend to gather between the mountains and take a long time before lifting.
The weather is also a factor adding up to the unforgettable experiences.
Ta Xua has a pleasant cool climate of 10 to 20 degrees Celsius and clear blue skies in the spring.
During this time of the year, the area is also covered with blossoming flowers, with peach blossoms considered the most impressive.
In most villages, the Mong ethnicity makes up 90 percent of the population.
Most Mong people work as farmers, growing crops and gathering bamboo shoots.
Recently, the area has attracted many tourists so a lot have switched to working in service sectors instead of just traditional agriculture.