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Hoa Binh’s Hang Kia - Pa Co offers top hideaway

Located in the northwest with an altitude of 1,200m - 1,500m above sea level, Hang Kia and Pa Co communes in Hoa Binh province are covered by clouds almost year-round.

This place is not only a great hideaway from the summer heat but also worth a visit in the autumn.

Leaving from the centre of Mai Chau district and after travelling about 30km over the mountain 1,200m high above sea level, we reached Pa Co commune and after about 10km more, Hang Kia.

Looking down from above we saw the green colour of the mountains and forests, hiding a glimpse of the roofs of the ethnic Mong people in the foggy space. We were interested in the landscape from the small, winding road with steep, narrow bends to the tea hills, stone fences, yellow canola flowers in front of each porch.

Going deeper into the villages, sometimes we found Mong women embroidering and their children playing.

The piles of firewood piled in the middle of the yard and the thin smoke rising from the top of the kitchens helped us leave our worries behind to enjoy a sense of peace.

Besides the road to explore the villages, we went to destinations with pristine beauty such as tea hills and plum gardens in Ta Xong A, Ta Xo and Thung A Lang.

Along the road connecting the hamlets, the high points in the mountain are ideal places to see clouds.

There is Heaven Gate or on Sam Tha mountain you can see Pu Luong peak of neighbouring Thanh Hoa province and Pha Luong peak of Son La province.

Hang Kia – Pa Co has many small valleys interwoven between the Hang Kia – Pa Co nature reserve. The terrain is mainly steep hills and mountains with 'cat-ears' rocks.

Pa Co commune's population accounts for 99 percent of the Mong who maintain many traditional crafts such as weaving, indigo dyeing, wax painting, and iron forging.

According to the Hoa Binh provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, brocade products of Pa Co have been shipped to many domestic and international markets.

Hang Kia – Pa Co used to be a busy place for the drug trade but now life here has returned to peace, with infrastructure like schools, medical stations and a telecommunication network, improving people's lives.

Many households have started to develop a form of homestay tourism.

Households running homestays are trained to improve their business management and tourism skills, and are supported by the tourism authority with facilities such as blankets, curtains, beds and wardrobes to serve tourists./.