Thac Mu waterfall
Thác Mu – Mu Waterfall
Next to a Muong minority village, Thac Mu is a picturesque waterfall surrounded by lush green forest at the edge of Pù Luông Nature Reserve. It’s a wonderful 2 day trip from Hanoi and also makes a good destination as part of a longer tour.
The lovely agrarian people here live in traditional stilt houses, grow rice, corn, and raise small livestock. They also gather wild vegetables, herbs, snails, and catch crabs and fish. Meals cooked here by local hosts are super fresh, delicious, and much healthier than food sold in the city.
Vietnamese visitors like to perform their own art of daytime camping at the edge of the falls, lighting small fires, barbecuing food they carried with them, and chillaxing with a few drinks. We recommended following suit.
One interesting thing to do at night is to go freshwater, night crab-hunting in the land above, and environing the falls, all you need is a flashlight and a vessel to put your catch in. Going around the edges of the small streams and rice paddies they can be spotted quite easily, usually only an inch or 2 below the waterline and motionless. These peaceful freshwater mountain crabs are just waiting to be eaten. Be sure to seize them from behind, grab the back of the shell and hind legs – otherwise they will be able to retaliate with their claws. They can’t really do much damage but can inflict a short sharp pain upon human predators – some of the larger beasts get to 4 inches in shell diameter and are fine countryside dining.
Another evening activity is partaking in rượu cần – fermented rice wine in a clay jar drank from straws. A specialty of the Muong minority, accompanied by singing and chanting, it is a great way to get to know and spend time with the local people.
Time to Visit
From May to September the weather is hot and rainy, it’s a good time to bathe and the waterfall flows at its strongest. During October to May the weather is typically much colder and dry, perhaps not the most inviting time to swim although the water can turn a lovely turquoise colour and is probably the best time for photographing Thac Mu’s white cascades. In any case Thac Mu flows all year-round.
Travel to Mu Waterfall
Thac Mu is situated in the Lac Son district of Hoa Binh province. It’s around 130 kilometres from Hanoi and takes around 4 hours to get there via the quickest route. It’s 70 km from Hoa Binh city, the provincial capital. The final 20 km or so of the way are slightly rugged at the best of times; some parts of the main road are prone to washouts and landslides during heavy rains. There are also some lesser-known trails in and out for those seeking an even tougher off-road experience.