By Dzung Trieu law firm
Mau Son Mountain is located in Luc Bình District, about 30km from Lang Son City to Mau Son Resort. Mau Son is surrounded by hundreds of big and small mountains. Summer is cool; the peak is always covered with fog in winter. Tourists can visit China over border gate Chi Ma. Now, Mau Son is on its process to build resort area and develop tourism, especially mountain climbing tower.
From Hanoi, tourists can get on a Hanoi - Lang Son coach at the Gia Lam coach station. At Lang Son City, they can hire motorbikes to go to Mau Son Mountain. With the wind whistling up and the clouds floating down, the sky seems within arms reach. The panorama from the highest peak in Lang Son region is like a Chinese ink drawing. To the north is Ninh Minh, China, to the east is Na Duong and to the west is Dong Dang, all merging beautifully into one spectacular landscape. The winding narrow mountain path, like a snake, lies tucked between two steep mountains. Visit Mau Son Mountain, with fresh air and imposing scenery, is an ideal place for relaxing on a weekend after a tense working week. On the way to the mountaintop, visitors can meet and talk with Dao, Tay, Hmong or Nung ethnic people.
About seventy years ago before this path existed, there were only two ways to the top, walking or on horseback. At that time, this panoramic area attracted the French to Mau Son for relaxation. The weather was cool all year round and in addition, the Dear Mountain View of the northeast was the gateway to China, and the French built a military base there at the early of the 20th century to guard the border. The site's original inhabitants, members of the Dao ethnic minority, were moved to make way for the French settlement. Only authorized personnel were permitted to enter the French base. French governor of the North, for permission to build tourist villas at the site. Blocks of orange moss-covered stories are scattered throughout the site, lying dead amongst the old foundations, where even now, it is possible to identify the houses former kitchens, fireplaces and staircases. Like sleeping beauty, after almost five decades, it was all but forgotten. Until 1987 motorbikes were not even allowed onto the torturous road up the mountain.
Nowadays, tourists can sample delicacies made from forest vegetables and animals at a dinner with a local family; watch the skilful hands of women as they embroider traditional clothing; or listen to panpipe performances by young men. Visitors can also drink Mau Son wine, which is distilled by the local people using special herbs unique to the area. Mau Son tea is also famous for its fragrance; it is made from tea buds plucked from the mountain’s vast tea fields. Nui Cha (Father Mountain) rests appropriately opposite Mau Son. The patriarchal mount is also covered with hundreds of small hills cloaked in deep green vegetation. In the distance, the Ky Cung River winds around the bustling border town of Luc Binh Town and the neighboring Chinese town of Ninh Minh. Mau Son is only 30km from Lang Son Town, and half of the roads are already paved. Now, as winter approaches again with the promise of snow, it is the perfect time for a mother’s warm welcome.
There are many inns on Mau Son’s top, which are quite comfortable, pricing from VND120,000 to VND200,000 (USD7.5-12.5)/double room/night.
Food is not available on Mau Son so visitors should reserve food at inns or bring food from Lang Son City with them. Local specialties that they should taste are roast suckling pork, roast duck, frog, grilled chicken, bamboo-tube rice, pork cooked with mac mat leaves, and wild vegetables like chayote, ngot or banana inflorescence.
On the top of Mau Son , visitors can buy pure bee’s honey and honeycomb from ethnic minority people. When the night falls, visitors can relax by soaking their body in tubs with medicinal herbs of the Dao people, then tasting local food and drink such as San Tuyet tea, which only grows on the mountains in the two districts of Cao Lac and Luc Binh.
Surrounded by wild nature and cold mountain wind, visitors can also taste Mau Son wine, which is distilled from mountain spring water and special remedies. Tourists can buy this kind of wine at inns, pricing from VND10.000 - 20.000 VND per litre.