Location, natural conditions
Son La is a mountainous province located in the northwest region, 300km away from Hanoi by the National Road number 6 with an area of 14,174km², bordering with the provinces of Yen Bai, Lao Cai, Lai Chau to the north; Phu Tho, Hoa Binh to the east; Dien Bien to the west; Thanh Hoa to the south and 250km long of border with Peoples Democratic Republic of Laos. Transportation to Son La can be made by road, waterway and airway via: the national roads number 6, 37, 279, 43; Da River, Ma River; and Na San Airport.
Son La has an average elevation of 700m above the sea level, particularly Moc Chau plateau located at an average altitude of 1,050 m. Son La is located in the basin of Da River and Ma River. The main terrain is mostly high mountains with deep strata, except two plateaus of Moc Chau and Na San are relatively flat. The diversity of its topography and geology has created many attractive landscapes including cave system, spectacular waterfalls, rivers, lakes and fertile valleys, hot mineral water, and so on which are appealing to tourists.
Son La has a tropical monsoon climate regime. The average temperature is from 18OC - 25OC, with many sub-climate zones due to its deeply and strongly divided terrain. Average annual rainfall is around 1200mm - 1600mm. The average humidity is 81%.
Population, ethnic composition.
The population of Son La in 2014 is over 1.1 million people, including 12 ethnic groups, of which the Thai ethnic group accounts for 54%, living mostly in Son La city and the districts of Quynh Nhai, Thuan Chau and Muong La; following by the Kinh (16.1%), the Mong (15.3%), the Muong (7.5%), the Xinh Mun (2%), the Dao (1.7%) and the remaining 3.4% are groups of Khmu, Khang, La Ha, Lao, Tay, Hoa. (Source: Report of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, 2014)
Son La province has one city and 11 districts including Son La City, and districts of Quynh Nhai, Muong La, Thuan Chau, Phu Yen, Bac Yen, Mai Son, Song Ma, Moc Chau, Yen Chau, Sop Cop, and Van Ho.