Livelihood change in Muong Trai

The life of people in the highland commune of Muong Trai (Muong La, Son La) is getting enriched and better. Now, people have many new jobs to make a living, such as raising sturgeon for sales or trading to serve the tourism in the Da River.

Visitors can watch the mountains silhouetted against the lake surface, enjoy the gastronomy, and indulge themselves in the dance of the Thai ethnic people. (Photo: Thanh Tam)

Tourism development

Muong La has long been considered the land of charming rivers and mountains, majestic mountains of romantic scenes, along with many other attractive landscapes... Indeed, in the middle of the vast river, boats could be seen sailing to and fro. Anchoed between fish farming cages is Muong Trai floating house totally designed and built of bamboo, with a thatched roof, bestowing visitors with a pastoral, friendly feeling.

Within the space of the floating house, we can enjoy the typical dishes of the lake products, such as grilled fish, salad fish, steamed fish, fish soup with sour fruit, chicken and duck dishes... served with very tasty vegetables, specifically distinguished by the Northwest mountains.

According to Mr. Lo Van Step (Black Thai ethnic) - the owner of Muong Trai floating house: All food products for tourists are farmed and cultivated by the villagers. Therefore, the quality is always fresh and guaranteed.

In addition to offering the palate, the floating house also serves tourists with visits and tours in the lake. With one-hour short trip, visitors can visit the sturgeon farming area, Lanh Tent cave, Ha Tent cave; especially the historical military base of the period of resistance against the French colonialists, it is Pom Don. For longer trips, visitors can visit Son La Hydropower Plant, Huoi Quang Hydroelectricity, Pa Uon Bridge, Heart shaped Island (Quynh Nhai).

Tourists and visitors are welcome to cruising on the lake, as the floating house has 2 motorboats with a capacity of 15 people and each can connect to other 4 tourist service ships with a capacity of 25 - 80 people, with a fare ranging from VND 150,000 to VND 3 million/ person, accounted for the type of boat and the tour itinerary.

Mr. Lo Van Step said, Muong Trai floating house was built and put into operation in January 2018, with the desire to create an eco-tourism destination to attract tourists to Muong Trai. Mr. Buoc has actively connected with production, aquaculture households and boat owners in the area to cooperate in activities and services according to the needs of visitors; He set up Facebook with the name "Muong Trai Floating House" to promote images of tourist attractions, services, information and contact details to facilitate customers to book services in aligment with their demands.

In the coming time, Mr. Buoc will expand some more services, such as fishing around floating houses; visiting some beauty spots, joining the cave exploration, and community accommodation services for visitors to have more space, adding up to their experience.

Positive economic restructuring

According to the leader of Muong Trai commune, the commune has 7 villages, with 524 households of the Thai and the La Ha ethnic people living together. In the past, the people mainly engaged in pure agricultural production, but in recent years, due to the shifting of livestock and crops, especially fish farming on the lake and the newly developed tourism service business, people's lives have been improved.

Tourists on a visit to the sturgeon farming area. (Photo: Thanh Tam)

With the concern of the Party Committee, the Commune People's Committee, the participation of mass organizations and the efforts of the people, Muong Trai's economy has now made a positive change. The rate of poor households decreases to 10%; 97% of households have access to clean water; 100% of households have access to electricity from the national grid; the rate of malnourished children under 5 years old is reduced to less than 15%; 93% won the title of cultural family; 100% of classrooms are solidified; 100% hamlets have a culture house. In December 2019, Muong Trai commune was recognized as the commune which achieved the new rural standards.

In the coming time, Muong Trai commune leaders will continue to lead and direct the people to accelerate economic restructuring towards commodity production; intensive farming to increase productivity; applying techniques to the fields of cultivation, animal husbandry and aquaculture; promote effective exploitation of land use value, develop trade and tourism services.

To develop tourism, Muong Trai commune in particular and Muong La district in general focus on implementing many solutions, such as: promoting advertising activities, introduction and promotion of tourism products; strengthening the human resource training; promoting administrative reform, creating a favorable environment to attract potential and experienced investors in tourism to come to the site for business opportunity exploration, investment, so that the quality of tourism products could be improved, creating certain diversity for tourism routes and excursions.

Currently, the road system from Muong La to Than Uyen (Lai Chau), Nghia Lo (Yen Bai), Sa Pa (Lao Cai) is quite convenient. This is also an advantage for the Northwest provinces in general to connect inter-regional tourism, as well as for Muong Trai in particular, to realize its economic restructuring, sustainable development; helping people's living standards to be gradually improved, striving to become a well-developed commune of Muong La district.