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…
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 colourful hill-tribe women.
For an overview of Son La, follow the stone steps to the left of the Trade Union Hotel. It's a 20-minute walk to reach the lookout.
You’ll find woven shoulder bags, scarves, silver buttons and necklaces, and other hill-tribe crafts at Son La’s market.