Recognized as national cultural heritage in 1994, the ancient rock field is now proposed by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage and also is one of the must-see attractions in Sapa. In 2009, an exhibition about the ancient rock field was held in Vasterrbotten Museum in Sweden to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Sweden. For what it is worth, a trip to Muong Hoa Valley would be incomplete without a visit to the mysterious ancient rock field.
Located in Muong Hoa Valley, in the midst of terraced rice paddy fields and mountain ranges, the ancient rock field covers an area of 8 kilometers. The ancient rock field was first discovered by Russian-French archeologist-Glubev in 1925. The field is comprised of around 200 rocks with various shapes, carved with different patterns and graphics. Hon Bo, at the height of 6 meters and the length of 15 meters, is recorded as the biggest rock found in the ancient rock field. The patterns and graphics on the surface of each rock symbolize people, rice terraces, houses and so on. Even though the carvings are simple, it is still difficult for researchers to accurately identify the origins and meanings of these carvings. Recently, despite being protected by the local authority, the ancient rock field is adversely affected by visitors. It is so disappointing that some visitor even carved or wrote their names on the surfaces of the rocks, making the patterns disappear in some rocks. It is the ignorance of some people is the main factor that is spoiling this precious rock field every day.
Since the ancient rock field is situated in Muong Hoa Valley, which is 10km from the town center, it is recommended to get to Muong Hoa Valley by motorbike and then trek to the field. Renting a motorbike or hiring a motorbike-taxi (xe om) is fairly easy and affordable. A full day rent for a motorbike is around 10 USD, which doesn’t cover the gasoline cost. A one-way ride by a motorbike-taxi costs around 5 USD, but it is negotiable. If going by motorbike sounds dangerous to you, then you can get to Tram Ton Pass by a taxi or a private car and walk to Muong Hoa Valley. For those who want to keep fit while traveling, riding a bike is a sound option; plus, it is easy to rent a bike in Sapa, but you have to check the bike carefully to avoid unwanted problems during your ride. Another way is trekking –one of the most favorite activities in Sapa. You can join a trekking tour or trek with a local guide to the ancient rock field. Just make sure that you are in a good shape and capable of walking in long hours.
The ancient rock field is typically included in the tour to Muong Hoa Valley. Therefore, if you choose to go on a tour, you can book a one-day tour to Muong Hoa Valley with some reputable tour operators such as Sapa O’Chau or SapaTour. net(trekking tour). Based on your preferences, you can find a suitable tour or hire a local tour guide on Triipme.com. For what it is worth, a tour guide is absolutely needed since there is not so much information about the ancient rock field available.