Mu Cang Chai – Paradise Rice Terraces in North Vietnam
Mu Cang Chai is a mountainous district of Yen Bai province and appreciated for its remote location. It is well-liked by both foreign and domestic tourists. Even though Mu Cang Chai sees more tourist activity today, the region is still able to retain its traditional way of living and outstanding natural landscape.
Beyond the stunning landscapes, any traveller to this region on the Vietnam travel packages will get to learn more about the daily life of the local people and their unique cultural features.
On arrival in Mu Cang Chai, be ready to witness the traditional lifestyles of the local people living in the region and marvellous scenery that make the striking backdrop for the photographic tour.
Best time to visit
When it comes to organising the trip to Mu Cang Chai, there are two seasons that make a really good time to explore the region. The best time to travel to get the picture-perfect views of the yellow carpet of terrace fields is mid-September to mid-October. Plus, the climate at this time is pleasant and cool to make a wonderful time for the relaxed trekking tour.
Alternatively, a trip that takes place earlier in the year – May to June – gives the opportunity to see the start of the harvesting season. This gives a completely different side of the terrace fields which have been flooded by the summer rains.
Getting there from Hanoi
Mu Cang Chai in the Yen Bai province is approx 280 km from the capital city Hanoi. This mountainous district is particularly popular in the times of the harvest season and sees many thousands of travellers visiting this region on the Vietnam tours package for a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
The travel route to Mu Cang Chai is possible in several different ways, including:Hire a car and driver or motorcycle and travel directly from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai
Book a ticket on the bus from Hanoi to Lai Chau which passes through Mu Cang Chai. To get a better appreciation of the local landscape, travellers can also hire a motorcycle to visit the local towns and neighbouring villages.
Also, there aren’t many buses that take a direct route to Mu Cang Chai, so an alternative option is to travel to Yen Bai City, and then hire a motorcycle to complete the rest of the journey.
Where to stay?
Mu Cang Chai is a relatively small town with a small number of hotels and guest houses so travellers planning a 3-4 day trip to the region may want to book in advance to ensure availability.
However, for the travellers that wish to have a real authentic experience, a stay in a stilt-house homestay for the night with a local family is the perfect option. You are treated much like a family member and get to enjoy the home cooked and delicious meals and local alcoholic drinks.
What to see and do in Mu Cang Chai?
01 – Khau Pha Pass
Khau Pha is one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Vietnam and links Mu Cang Chai District and Van Chan District. The peak of the pass is in the region of 1,200 metres above sea level to give the panoramic views that are certain to be appreciated by the photo lovers. Also, the length of the pass stretches for nearly 30 km and the mountain summit is often covered in fog.
A climb up the pass offers a perfect place for beautiful views and the most striking moments come at the time of the rice harvest seasons, which includes when the terraces are flooded for the upcoming rice crop early in the year (May-June), and later (Sept-Oct) when the rice ripens. Any travellers in the region on a motorcycle tour at this time of year are certain to get a great collection of photographs.
Khau Pha is approx 250 km from Hanoi and is easily reached by travelling on route 32. Also, for travellers looking to rest up after making the trip to the summit, there are several hotels and guest houses in Tu Le and at the summit.
02 – Ride on Motorcycle
A motorcycle tour of Mu Cang Chai is popular in this region because of its stunning mountainous terrain. The travel route takes in the winding passes and stops at local villages on the way. Plus, this motorcycle tour is one of the best in northern Vietnam with its amazing land and gives the complete freedom to travel at the preferred pace and stop anywhere you want.
03 – Spend the day with local farmers
Travellers to Mu Cang Chai on the Vietnam holiday can get to experience the traditional farming techniques and spend the day planting or harvesting with the local people. For most travellers this will be a very unforgettable experience and makes it possible to appreciate the hard life and work of the H’mong people.
04 – Visit the local market
While in Mu Cang Chai it is worth visiting the local market to see the colourful customs of the ethnic-minority people, special products, and local food that may not be seen in other parts of the country.
05 – Explore the local villages
A visit to the one of the many local villages, such as Che Cu Nha on a trekking adventure gives a perfect opportunity to appreciate the dramatic views of the rice terraced fields. This region of natural beauty with its refreshing breeze and postcard-perfect landscape is a great destination for the photography tour. Other villages to visit on every journey to Mu Cang Chai include La Pan Tan and Ze Xu Phinh.
06 – Tours to Mu Cang Chai
Mu Cang Chai is a practical destination on the package holidays to Vietnam for a 3-4 day tour to get away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. The peaceful region is appreciated for its amazing landscapes of terraced fields and easily explored on a trekking tour of the region. A trekking tour typically includes staying in homestay/hotel for the night. Treks in the region can follow many different routes, but a great tour includes Che Cu Nha to La Pan Tan which is approx 13 km and gives the perfect opportunity to see the best of the rice terraces.
Have a nice trip!