Old French Prison & Museum
Thuan Chau Craft Market
Thuan Chau is about 35km northwest of Son La. Take a local bus or xe om here early in the morning, when its daily market is full of...
For an overview of Son La, follow the stone steps to the left of the Trade Union Hotel. Look forward to a 20-minute walk to reach the...
Trung Nguyen Cafe
Next door to the Sao Xanh Hotel, this smart cafe-bar has a relaxing, tree-shaded garden at the front and serves up some of Son La's best...
Long Phuong Restaurant
Located at one of the busier junctions in town, this restaurant features local minority dishes. Try sour mang dang (bamboo shoots) soup...
Old French Prison & Museum information
Son La’s Old French Prison & Museum was a French penal colony where anticolonial revolutionaries were incarcerated. It was destroyed by the ‘off-loading’ of unused ammunition by US war planes after bombing raids, but is now partially restored. Rebuilt turrets stand guard over crumbling cells and a famous lone surviving peach tree, planted by To Hieu, a 1940s inmate.
Next door, upstairs in the People’s Committee office, is a tiny museum with some fine displays of local hill-tribe textiles.