Son La is a highland province in the north-west of Vietnam. It is bounded in the north by the provinces of Yen Bai and Lao Cai, in the east by Phu Tho and Hoa Binh, in the west by Lai Chau, and in the south by Thanh Hoa. The province has 250 km of borderline with the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos. Son La Town, the provincial capital, is 320 km northwest of Hanoi Capital.”
Area 14,055 km2
Son La Province is at an elevation of 600-700 m. Its terrain is divided into three ecological zones, including National Highway 6 Zone, Da River Zone, and Border Highland Zone. It is marked by two big plateaus of Moc Chau and Na San with different ecological characteristics.
Moc Chau Plateau (Elevation: 1,050) has a subtemperate climate. The mean annual temperature in the plateau is 180C. Its fertile soil is suitable for growing industrial crops, such as tea and fruit trees, and raising dairy cows and other livestock, as well as developing tourism.
Na San Plateau (Elevation: 800 m) stretches along National Highway 6. Its rich soil enables the development of industrial crops, like sugarcane, mulberry, and other fruit trees.”
“The Son La town is 380 km northeast of Hanoi. It is the social and cultural center of the province of Son La.
The town is a highland town which is about 600 meters above sea level. Infrastructure here is relatively good and the air is very fresh and cool, which is very suitable for relaxing tourism.
In the middle of the town locates the Son La prison where detained communist soldiers built by the French in 1908 on the Khau Ca hill’s top on which has the grave of To Hieu and his peach-tree. Mai Son district has Tien Phong lake and Ta Hoc port locating at the bank of Da river. Reaching Ta Hoc port, you will begin a river tour on a boat rowing down and up the river and enjoy delicious fish dishes of native fishermen. Coming to Son La town, you will also have opportunities to visit the Tham Ke Cave and Tham Ta Toong Caves in the Thuong Thien Cavern in Chieng Ngan commune, or you can visit the Youth Moon Lake (Nguyet Ho Tuoi Tre) in Chieng An commune.
Besides, you can visit historic cultural relics like the Son La prison, the Temple of King Le Thanh Tong, traditionally vocational villages and farms, or take part in cultural festivals.
The hot stream of Mong Village which is 2 km far from the center of Son La town attracts a great number of tourists. According to the study of the Ministry of Healthcare, the hot water at the temperature of 37-380C of the stream can ease such diseases as stomach, rheumatism, etc.
Son La – The Brightening Pearl of the Northwest
Son La is a mountainous province in the Northwest. The province, whose natural area is 14,055 sq. km, has a 250 sq. km borderline with Laos. Here is home to more than 960,000 persons of 12 nationalities, including Thai, Kinh, Mong, Muong, Xinh Mun, Kho Mu, Khang, La Ha, Dao and etc.
The province of Son La has plenty of advantages and potential for economic growth. Its rich soil and temperate climate are suitable for the development of agriculture and forestry. Moreover, Son La’s people are known for the tradition of unity, patriotism, patience, and hard work. The favorable natural conditions made Son La an ideal destination of tourists.
In addition, Son La has an enormous potential for building hydropower works. Da River, which has the biggest potential for the development of hydropower works in Vietnam, is more than 250 km in length in the territory of Son La Province. Son La Hydropower Plant with a capacity of 2,400 MW, the construction of which is scheduled to commence next year, is seen as the leading hydropower works in Vietnam and the South-east Asia. Son La is rich in natural minerals with more than 150 mines of metals, non-metals, mineral water and etc.
Over the past three years, in implementation of the 9th Resolution of the Party and the Resolution of the 11th provincial Party’s Congress, Son La is endeavoring to make best use and develop its potential and advantages in a bid to give fresh impetus to socio-economic growth. The province’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 9.63% per year and the economy has been gradually transformed into the commodity-based one. Foodgrains production is 2003 reached more than 320,000 tons, ensuring food security in the province. A number of centralized plantations have been set up on an area of nearly 13,000 hectares. The value of industrial and handicrafts production increased 20.55% per year. Also, the industrial parks have been established along National Highway 6. Many farm produce-processing enterprises have been built combined with the centralized zones of raw materials. Trade, tourism and service grew by 12% annually. The provincial market is generally stable with various kinds of goods and services. Annual budget revenues rose by 16%. Over the past three years, the province has set aside nearly VND 5,000 billion for development investment. More than 1,000 works have been built, especially in the rural areas. Son La has introduced policies and incentives to encourage investment into the province. Many domestic and foreign investors came to our province for the purposes of research, study and investment in the fields, such as agriculture, forestry, tourism, service, hydropower, processing of farm produce and forestry.
The achievement of the provincial’s party and people over the past years is crucial to the following years when the construction of Son La Hydropower Plant is officially underway.
The Executive Board of the provincial Party’s Committee has set the following objectives, amid the new opportunities and challenges:
Firstly, to focus on the development of economy in order to attain an annual GDP growth of 15.5% and 18-20% in the periods 2001 – 2010 and 2005 – 2010, respectively; per capita GDP of US$ 500; local budget revenues of VND 500 billion; and to reduce the number of poor households to 5%.
To improve policies to encourage investment and resources for development, thereby helping the sectors of industry, construction, and services reach the targets under the program for the transformation of economic structure.
To push up the development of agriculture and rural areas in the direction of industrialization and modernization, and take measures to increase annual earnings to VND 20-25 million per hectare under cultivation.
To speed up the development of industries and handicrafts in order to reach an annual growth of 32.5% in industrial production for the period from 2001 to 2010
To step up investment in the development of infrastructure, new urban areas, and traffic system, including roads, water and airway.
To take measures to implement the plan for upgrading Son La Town into the 3rd-grade Town and City in 2008, developing the townships of Mai Son and Moc Chau into towns, and building some new townships, including Quynh Nhai, Muong La, Sop Cop, and resettlement sites.
Secondly, to pay attention to addressing social matters; developing education, training, science, and technology in a bid to meet the requirements of industrialization and modernization
To concentrate on the training of the ethnic people as technical workers for the purpose of serving Son La Hydropower Works and the resettlement sites.
To introduce incentives in a bid to attract young talents
Thirdly, to push forward the reform of administrative procedures, creating a transparent, safe, and sustainable environment in order to attract more domestic and foreign investors and to make Son La a place of choice for the investors
Fourthly, to maintain national defense and security, strengthen and develop the power of national unity, combine the mission of economic development and the consolidation of national defense and security.
Sectors’ development plan:
+ Services: The province has completed the free trade policy, creating connections between local markets to those of other places nationwide and worldwide, especially Laos. Besides, the province has attracted local and foreign markets to develop tourism zones such as tourism place in Son La town, Moc Chau district, the lake in Da river, eco-tourism, convalesce, historical monuments, cultural tours.
+ Agriculture-Forestry-Fishery: It is planned to increase the area growing key industrial plants such as tea, coffee, sugarcane, soya bean, mulberry, etc. for the processing industries; promoting cattle breeding; promoting forestry protection and management with afforestation projects (including forest growing for economic purposes).
+ Industry: It is planned to reach the average growth rate of 25-30% with the rapid development and improvement of industries in the province with focus on advantaged, key ones; developing industries-small scaled industries that are labour intensive ones; promoting application of modern technology in industries, especially in forestry processing, engineering, construction material production, mineral exploitation industry.”