Son Ba Muoi



Son Ba Muoi is located on the extreme north part of the Pu Luong Nature Reserve. It is composed of three villages in Lung Cao commune, Ba Thuoc district. It is also known as Cao Son and also as “the mini-Sapa” due to the all-year long cool weather.  At 1200m high above the sea level, Son Ba Muoi is at the top of Pha He, Pha Chien mountain ranges. Beautifully located between Ngoc Son – Ngo Luong Nature Reserve and the Cuc Phuong National Park.

Son Ba Muoi is home of the Thai ethnic minority. Very friendly and welcoming people living in traditional stilt house. You can find more information about the Thai minority in our article “Pu Luong Nature Reserve”.

If the area of Don or Hieu village are no more considered as an off beaten path destination anymore, Son Ba Muoi remains one of those authentic places not spoiled by tourism. It is an ideal place to immerse yourself in the traditional daily life of the Thai people.


How to go to Son Ba Muoi?

  • From Hanoi: Located at 130km from Hanoi, there is no tourist or public bus to reach Son Ba Muoi. From Hanoi, you can stop there if you are taking a private car or if you are riding a motorbike. This is the most beautiful road to take to go Pu Luong Nature Reserve with its zigzagging road between the mountains.
  • From Don village: 25km
  • By motorbike: It is a short ride by motorbike through the Reserve. You can find information in our Pu Luong Travel Guide on what to combine for a full day visiting Pu Luong.
  • By private car: if you are not a rider, do not worry, we can organize a private car to take you there with different stops on the way
  • Joining a tour: We do recommend to join one of our tours with a local guide. Half day or full day, it is always interesting to have a guide in the remote areas to understand and learn deeply about the local traditions. You can find in our tour listing some proposals on how to combine Son Ba Muoi with other highlights of Pu Luong Nature Reserve. For the avid riders, do not miss our article ‘Pu Luong Motorbike tour” to have good insights for adventurous tours including Son Ba Muoi.


When to go to Son Ba Muoi?

The weather is pretty cool all year long, benefit of the altitude of the area, even in summer you will enjoy some fresh evenings.

Winter, from December to March, can be cold with temperatures around 10°C. It is a good time to spend time with the locals trying some tasty dishes and exchanging some stories around a stove fire.

From March to May and October to December, for spring and autumn, temperatures are idyllic. Around 25°C in daytime, it is the best time to enjoy some outdoor activities as trekking or participating to daily life tasks of the inhabitants of the village.

From May to September, the high temperatures are invading all the North of Vietnam, easily reaching the 35°C in daytime. Evenings will remain enjoyable in Son Ba Muoi and the cool nights guarantee a pleasant sleep. Right now, homestays don’t have air-conditioning but you don’t really need it in Son Ba Muoi.


What to do in Son Ba Muoi?

Son Ba Muoi is not a place to expect the fanciest activities. The main interest is to have a cultural trip to understand how the locals live in a traditional way.

  • Biking: If you come from Don village or you are staying in Son Ba Muoi, it is a real highlight to ride in the pass where you will get wonderful views of the Reserve. For the bravest and luckiest, go there at the sunrise and admire the sea cloud. Be careful as the road is not in such conditions. You can contact us to organize a tour with a rider and you can stay as passenger.
  • Trekking/hiking: The nature in Son Ba Muoi is untouched. Spectacular jungle and forest. A great opportunity to learn how the locals use the products of the jungle for food or for medicine purpose. If you want to explore deeply, we recommend to have a local tour guide.
  • As mentioned in the category “When to go to Son Ba Muoi?”, do not miss to enjoy a peaceful time around a stove fire and taste some local dishes.
  • Farming: Live the “like a local” experience and become a farmer for a half day. Depending on the season, different activities on the fields are possible (planting, harvesting, plowing with buffalo).
  • Cooking: All over Vietnam, your taste buds will be excited. Why not bring back some special recipes from a remote area like Son Ba Muoi? Having a cooking class is also a fantastic way to share a good time and learn more about local style.
  • Camping: Another great experience for an intense communion with the nature is to have a BBQ around the fire and set your camp before enjoying a night lulled by the sounds of the nature.


Where to sleep in Son Ba Muoi?

Do not expect to stay in a luxury place! Son Ba Muoi is a place not yet developed and infrastructures remain basic. You will experience the real homestay sharing the house in a local family. Locals won’t speak English, having an English-speaking tour guide with you is recommended to fully appreciate your journey and stay in Son Ba Muoi.

Our recommendations:

  • Son Ba Muoi homestay: Traditional stilt house with a lovely family. Comfort is basic but you won’t be cold in winter with the big blankets neither hot in summer with the fans provided. An interesting place to stay for a night.
  • Son Ba Muoi CBT By KPF: KPF (Khau Pha Friends) is an NGO investing in homestays to support and train the locals in the tourism industry. The homestay in Son Ba Muoi is freshly opened. It provides cozy atmosphere and local activities.
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