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Commune in Vietnam's northern mountains festooned with wild Himalayan cherry blossoms

Friday, December 29, 2023, 11:15 GMT+7
Commune in Vietnam's northern mountains festooned with wild Himalayan cherry blossoms

Every winter, La Pan Tan, a mountainous commune in northern Vietnam, brightens as wild Himalayan cherry blossoms festoon the area.

Himalayan cherry blossoms (Prunus cerasoides), also known as sour cherry blossoms or locally called 'hoa tớ dày,' normally begin flowering in late December before wilting about a month later.  

Wild Himalayan cherry blossoms festoon La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Wild Himalayan cherry blossoms festoon La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

This year, however, the blooming came a few weeks early and the ethnic Mong villages that dot the commune, located in Yen Bai Province's Mu Cang Chai tourist district, started being enveloped in the flowers in mid-December. 

For the villagers, the blossoms signal the coming of spring and serve as a reminder that that it will soon be time to plant a new crop.  

Wild Himalayan cherry blossom trees only grow and bloom at altitudes higher than 1,000m above sea level. 

Many believe that the colder the weather gets, the prettier the bloom becomes.  

A wild Himalayan cherry blossom tree grows on the mountainside next to a home in La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A wild Himalayan cherry blossom tree grows on the mountainside next to a home in La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

In Mu Cang Chai, with recent temperatures dipping below three degrees Celsius, the flowers have exhibited even more vibrant shades of pink than in previous years.

A close-up shot of wild Himalayan cherry blossoms (Prunus cerasoides), also known as sour cherry blossoms or locally as ‘hoa tớ dày,’ in La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A close-up shot of wild Himalayan cherry blossoms (Prunus cerasoides), also known as sour cherry blossoms or locally as ‘hoa tớ dày,’ in La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A close-up shot of wild Himalayan cherry blossoms (Prunus cerasoides), also known as sour cherry blossoms or locally as ‘hoa tớ dày,’ in La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A close-up shot of wild Himalayan cherry blossoms (Prunus cerasoides), also known as sour cherry blossoms or locally as ‘hoa tớ dày,’ in La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A close-up shot of wild Himalayan cherry blossoms (Prunus cerasoides), also known as sour cherry blossoms or locally as ‘hoa tớ dày,’ in La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A close-up shot of wild Himalayan cherry blossoms (Prunus cerasoides), also known as sour cherry blossoms or locally as ‘hoa tớ dày,’ in La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Best known for its breathtaking scenes of flooded and ripened rice terraces, the cherry blossoms add an extra touch of uniqueness to the already stunning landscapes in Mu Cang Chai.

Ngoc Linh, a tourist who took a six-hour ride on a bus from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai, shared that seeing the beautiful flowers across the mountains put her into a state of stress-free relaxation.  

Ha Thu Thuy from the northern province of Phu Tho was also stunned after visting Mu Cang Chai and admiring the blossoms. 

“I feel fully at peace in this place,” Thuy said. “The blossoms are very beautiful, and everything is still pristine.”

Ha Thu Thuy, a tourist from the northern province of Phu Tho, poses for a photo with blooming wild Himalayan cherry blossoms while visiting Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Ha Thu Thuy, a tourist from the northern province of Phu Tho, poses for a photo with wild Himalayan cherry blossoms while visiting Mu Cang Chai District in Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Trong Tong Village in La Pan Tan Commune boasts, perhaps, the most stunning imagery in the region. 

From Hanoi, tourists can take a six-hour ride from My Dinh Bus Station to reach Mu Cang Chai District, which is about 10km away from La Pan Tan Commune. 

Dao Trung Hai was another recent visitor to the area. Hai has visited Mu Cang Chai four times and hopes to continue returning in the future.

“I feel recharged [in Mu Cang Chai]. The air seems filled with life,” said Hai. 

“Mu Cang Chai is quite cold in this season. Though the roads are not too difficult to commute, you should hire a local guide for your first visit."

Locals commute on a mountain road festooned with wild Himalayan cherry blossoms in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Locals commute on a mountain road festooned with wild Himalayan cherry blossoms in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Locals drive past blooming flowers in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Locals drive past blooming flowers in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Wild Himalayan cherry blossoms festoon La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Wild Himalayan cherry blossoms festoon La Pan Tan Commune in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

In recent years, aside from enhancing the village's esthetics, 'hoa tớ dày' have also become a new source of income for the local Mong people.

Fully equipped with a drone and camera, Trang A Tong, a tour guide, normally spends his days guiding tourists who hope to photograph beautiful moments amongst the blossoms.

Tong’s day-long tours in Mu Cang Chai typically cost about VND700,000 (US$29) each.

In addition to La Pan Tan Commune, tourists can also enjoy the beauty of 'hoa tớ dày' at Hang Gang Village in Lao Chai Commune as well as My Hang Village in Mo De Commune, Tong said.

They can admire the local bamboo forests as well.

Tourists visit Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam in the wild Himalayan cherry blossom blooming season. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Tourists visit Mu Cang Chai District in Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam in the wild Himalayan cherry blossom blooming season. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A photo capturing a group of local children in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A photo capturing a group of children in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Local children walk in the background of blooming wild Himalayan cherry blossoms while visiting Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Local children walk in the background of blooming wild Himalayan cherry blossoms in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Local Mong people in La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Mong people in La Pan Tan Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

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