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Mu Cang Chai Travel Guide

All things need to know before travelling to Mu Cang Chai

The Northwest roads of Vietnam have captivated many tourists with their winding passes, beautiful blooming flowers, or winding curves – masterpieces of terraced fields. When Fall comes, the terraced fields in Mu Cang Chai become even more attractive with the shiny yellow shirt of the ripe rice season. Let’s explore this extremely attractive tourist destination with Origin Vietnam.

1. Where is Mu Cang Chai?

Mu Cang Chai is a mountainous district located in the west of Yen Bai province, Vietnam. About 173 km from Yen Bai city and about 310 km northwest of Hanoi capital. With geographical location:

  • The North borders Van Ban district, Lao Cai province.
  • The West borders Than Uyen district, Lai Chau province.
  • The South borders Muong La district, Son La province.
  • The East borders Van Chan, Tram Tau and Van Yen districts of Yen Bai province.

2. How is Mu Cang Chai unique?

Traveling to Mu Cang Chai, you will be immersed in the golden color of sunshine and rice. No need to go deep into each small village of the H’Mong people, right on the national highway. You can also see the “golden sea” of rice rolling and radiating fragrance between the vast land and sky.

The entire Mu Cang Chai district has 2,200 hectares of terraced fields, of which 500 hectares of terraced fields in three communes La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and De Xu Phinh. It also has been recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam as one of the most unique landscapes in Vietnam. It is ranked as a national monument.

In particular, Mu Cang Chai is also very attractive with fields of diverse and rich colors. Some places are still lush green from young rice fields, others are already ripe and shiny golden. The terraced fields are like puzzle pieces, coordinated with each other in an extremely harmonious and unique way.

Mu Cang Chai Tours

3. When is the best time to visit Mu Cang Chai?

According to Mu Cang Chai travel experience, each season Mu Cang Chai has its own beauty. However, according to many visitors, Mu Cang Chai is still most beautiful in the fall and summer.

Around September and October is when the terraced fields are covered with the shiny golden color of ripe rice. People from villages and hamlets will begin to gather here to harvest rice.

The period from May to June is when Mu Cang Chai enters the flood season. Images of green rice fields combined with images of people starting to go to the fields for the season. All create a majestic and enchanting picture.

Moreover, Mu Cang Chai at this time is also an ideal destination for those who want to escape the harsh sun of urban areas.

4. How to get to Mu Cang Chai?

4.1 Traveling by motorbike

There are many means of transport for you to travel to Mu Cang Chai, such as cars, motorbikes, buses, etc. However, based on Mu Cang Chai travel experience, motorbikes are still the most popular means of transport for tourists.

Why is this type of vehicle so popular? The reason is because when traveling by motorbike. You can both conquer and admire the scenery on both sides of the road comfortably and be more proactive in your travel schedule. You should go in a group to take turns driving, avoiding fatigue and stress on the long journey.

Before going, you need to prepare all types of vehicle documents such as a citizen identification card and driver’s license. While traveling, you also need to be very alert and drive at a steady speed to avoid unwanted incidents. For unfamiliar or difficult roads, you should ask local people for instructions as quickly as possible.

To get to Mu Cang Chai, you need to follow the route shown below. Starting from the center of Hanoi, go towards Son Tay to cross Trung Ha bridge and reach Tam Nong Phu Tho town. Next, you need to go along the banks of the Red River and then to Van Phu bridge, Yen Bai.

4.2 Traveling by bus

With Mu Cang Chai travel experience, there are two ways for you to get to Mu Cang Chai by bus.

  • First way: You take the bus routes going straight to Mu Cang Chai. However, there is a small note for you. The number of vehicles is very small and they only run at night.
  • Second way: If you cannot arrange a schedule or cannot buy a bus ticket to Mu Cang Chai, buy a bus ticket to Yen Bai city, then continue to take the intra-provincial bus, take a taxi or rent a car. Let’s go to Mu Cang Chai.

4.3 Traveling by car

  • Route1: Starting from the center of Hanoi. You move along Noi Bai – Lao Cai highway to Km 121 + 300 and turn down to Yen Bai bridge. Then continue straight to Yen Bai city.
  • Route 2: From Hanoi city center, follow the route through Lang – Hoa Lac – Thang Long Avenue. Then continue to turn right onto Highway 21 passing Son Tay, Trung Ha Bridge, Phong Chau Bridge. At the end of this road, you continue to travel on the Noi Bai – Lao Cai highway to reach Yen Bai.

5. Top 20 Sightseeings in Mu Cang Chai

The following locations are arranged in order on the way from Nghia Lo to Mu Cang Chai, if you go from the direction of Sapa, the street will be reversed.

5.1 Nghia Lo Town

The first stop on the tour from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai with visitors most often will choose to sleep here for the next morning to depart. Nghia Lo is located entirely in the second-largest field in the Northwest region, which is Muong Lo field (formerly known as tam field. Because there are 3 total residents located around). Mentioning Nghia Lo is referring to an extremely unique and attractive culture that is Thai culture.

Nghia Lo tourism has long been known to many people for its attractive tourist destinations. Because of its cultural characteristics as well as the revolutionary traditions of ethnic groups living in the area.

5.2 Tu Le

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As a valley in Van Chan district, Tu Le is one of the favourite stops for many tourists who love natural beauty. Tu Le in the middle of autumn, the golden rice ripens like mountain waves. The harvest was bustling with excitement, the smell of new rice followed the wind on the gables … Tu Le could be compared to a very beautiful mountain girl.

5.3 Cao Pha – Lim Mong

Lim Mong village in Cao Pha commune has been hidden in clouds for generations. In the past, displaced people still talk to each other about the great danger of the Northwest because of the difficulty of the road. Because it is also … the end place, and Lim Mong is one of them, full of inviting attraction and also challenging.

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Lim Mong is a village of the H’Mong people. The road up to Lim Mong is steep, if you put up the sign, all signs will be over 10 minutes. The red dirt road, dusty in the dry sun, on a rainy day will be a scary challenge for the drivers. The corners are both sharp and steep that the car seems to be drifting back to the bottom of the slope. But when you pass, you will find it worthwhile trying to roll into here.

5.4 Khau Pha Pass

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It is one of the most winding and steep mountain passes in the North. It’s one of the Four Great Peaks in the North Vietnam. Travel over the top of Khau Pha mountain, the highest mountain in the Mu Cang Chai region. Khau Pha Pass has the starting point of cutting off Highway 32 with National Highway 279 in a row with Chau Pass in front of it and Vach Kim Pass behind on Road 32. The winding pass paths between the old forests still bear, bold pristine features and terraced fields of the H’Mong and Thai ethnic groups.

Khau Pha is most beautiful in the rice season, around September-October when the rice at the foot of the terraced fields is golden brown. This is also the time when many adventurous tourists conquer the pass to enjoy the scenery. The old forests at Khau Pha still retain many rare species of flora and fauna. Such as pine oil, coriander and other rare birds and animals.

In recent years, the pass has become the starting point for paragliding in Mu Cang Chai. It’s a part of the annual Mu Cang Chai terraced field festival.

5.5 Paragliding Festival

Up to the highest point on Khau Pha Pass is the place where the annual paragliding festival “Flying in the golden season” is still held. If you love adventure activities, you can book tickets to experience this feeling of flying, while watching the rice ripe from a very unique position.

5.6 Muong Chien Village

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Ngoc Chien is the name of a commune of Muong La district, bordering Nam Khat commune of Mu Cang Chai. You ride a motorbike from Hanoi, go over Khau Pha pass right on the left-hand side is Nam Khat commune. From here there is a small road running through Ngoc Chien (Muong Chien village). This is a commune with most of the Thai ethnic.

There are some tourist services in the village, mainly exploited in a hot spring flowing through this commune. From here, you can continue to travel to Muong La district. That you can visit Son La hydropower plant and then follow Highway 6 to Moc Chau – Mai Chau – Hanoi.

In Ngoc Chien, you can take a hot spring bath (there are still public hot springs, but not for outside guests, only for the people in the village), enjoy Thai dishes such as sticky rice, grilled pork, grilled chicken …

5.7. La Pan Tan village

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Famous for its beautiful terraced fields. The creative artistic architecture of the Mong people living on this land has been ranked a National Monument since the end of the year 2007.

5.8 Mam Xoi terrace rice field

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Mam Xoi is the name that people love to travel for a beautiful photo-taking place when Mu Cang Chai ripe rice season returns. This place is about 10km from the district centre, at the foot of Ba Nha bridge, there is a dirt road going upwards. The road is quite bad and slippery especially in the rainy season, there is always a team of local motorbike taxi ready.

Take you to the place for 60.000 VND. If you want to practice limbs, you can also walk for about 30 minutes. If you ride a motorbike to Mu Cang Chai and the handlebar is strong enough, you can ride on by yourself.

5.9. Pu Nhu waterfall

It located in Pu Nhu village, La Pan Tan commune is one of the countless unnamed waterfalls on the streams flowing from Than Uyen to Mu Cang Chai. The name Pu Nhu is also given by the Hmong people here, but according to their interpretation, Pu Nhu means stream.

5.10 Tam Giac Mach (Buckwheat) Flower Garden

To add beautiful places for tourists to take photos, a few years ago some people in Mu Cang Chai brought this famous flower variety of Ha Giang to plant. Sites for planting are scattered from the Khau Pha pass to the town centre.

5.11. Pung Luong bamboo forest

About 20km from the town centre, the Na Hang Tua Chu bamboo forest in the Lung Luong commune has an age of more than 60 years, attracting visitors by its pristine beauty, over 1ha wide. Right at the intersection of Ba Kim crossroads opposite the entrance to La Pan Tan is the way to this bamboo forest.

5. 12 De Xu Phinh village

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A small commune of Mu Cang Chai where people often gather to see the rice. De Xu Phinh has a relatively small area with a population of only about 1500 people.

5.13 Mui Giay

This terraced field is not high, but from a distance, it looks relatively shaped like a shoe. Crossing the Ba Nha bridge near Mu Cang Chai resort is the location you need to determine to take photos here, this location is in De Xu Phinh commune.

5.14 Che Cu Nha village

This is a commune of Mu Cang Chai district, located about 7km from the district centre towards Hanoi. The road to this commune is quite steep and difficult to go, not very suitable for those with little experience. Because the road is difficult to go, Che Cu Nha is also less touristy. If you have more time, you can come here and freely explore the beautiful and peaceful corners of this upland commune.

5.15 Guang Nuoc Suoi Kim

This Guang was built under the stream running right along with the town. In some places, a water wheel is usually a place for people to bring water back. But here is simply a photo spot for tourists.

5.16 Mu Cang Chai fair market

This is an indispensable cultural activity in the life of people in the uplands of Mu Cang Chai. In addition to the purpose of buying, selling and exchanging goods, the fair is also a place for cultural exchange of ethnic minorities here. The items sold at the fair are quite plentiful, but mainly the products of the mountains or the goods made by the people here such as honey, shiitake mushrooms, wood ear fungus, paddy, corn, soybeane , vegetables, brocade … Men often wear black clothes, while women wear brightly coloured outfits, creating beauty and a joyful atmosphere for the market day.

5.17 Lim Thai village

Cross the bridge in the centre of the district (the direction to Che Tao) and turn left about 1km to reach Thai village. A small peaceful village lying in the valley, with its back against the mountain. Here you can enjoy Thai specialities, bathe in traditional Thai tobacco water, rest at stilt houses and organize exchanges and campfire together.

5.18. 7-storey waterfall

It is still very untouched, about 4km from the centre of the commune, of which about 500m of the end, you can not move by car but have to walk.

5.19 Mo Waterfall

Mo Waterfall is located between two hills Na Han A and Na Hang B in Mo De commune (Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai). During the journey to conquer Mo waterfall, there are 7 impressive points for you to stop and enjoy. From Highway 32, walk about 30 minutes to the foot of the waterfall. Continuing from here, you will reach a one-story waterfall where the water flows in a spiral shape. To get to the next 4-storey waterfall, you need to continue walking upstream. This is also the most impressive place where you can save beautiful images of Mo waterfall.

5.20 Ba Nha Bridge

About 10km from the district center, Ba Nha Bridge area is a stopover that always attracts a large number of tourists coming here to hunt for photos. You can stop here to take photos of “raspberries”, follow the uphill dirt road next to the bridge to take beautiful photos.

6. Specialties when traveling to Mu Cang Chai

The most noticeable experience of traveling to Mu Cang Chai is that there are many delicious dishes here. The dishes are imbued with the ethnic identity of the mountainous region. Although they are simple, they are incredibly attractive. Once you visit Mu Cang Chai, you definitely cannot miss the delicious dishes below.

6.1 Five colored sticky rice

Mu Cang Chai boasts enchanting terraced fields, renowned for their fertile land blooming with unmatched fragrant sticky rice grains. From this sticky rice, resembling pearls, the people here craft numerous dishes beloved by many. One of them is the fragrant and fragrant Mu Cang Chai five-color Sticky Rice. Also an indispensable dish on the tray of the Thai people here.

6.2 Tu Le rice

Tu Le commune, Van Chan district (Yen Bai) has long been famous for a type of sticky rice with large, round, white rice grains. When this sticky rice is made into sticky rice, it has a special fragrant taste. When processed into green rice, it has a sweet, refreshing flavor. Tu Le rice is one of the dishes not to be missed when visiting Mu Cang Chai.

6.3 Hill Chicken

The hill chicken is different from other regular chickens, the meat of the hill chicken has a strong and delicious taste that cannot be found in any other chicken. Hill chickens are grazed naturally by the upland people and eat mainly maize. So the chicken is usually eye-catching yellow.

6.4 Local Porks

Pigs raised in upland areas usually do not weigh much. But due to being raised in near-natural conditions, the meat is always firm, has thick skin, is crispy and very sweet. Local pork here can be processed into many dishes such as grilled, fried or boiled,…

6.5 Roasted grasshopper

Grasshoppers are available all year round but most during the harvest, around May and September. In the season, grasshoppers are always fragrant, making it an attractive dish when coming to Mu Cang Chai

6.6 Boiled bamboo shoots

This is a type of green bamboo shoot, picked by people in the forest and then boiled.

6.7 Meo apples

They are an indispensable specialty of Yen Bai. This delicious dish is delicious whether eaten or soaked in wine.

6.8 Salmon and Sturgeon

From the foot of Khau Pha pass on the Tu Le side, go up about 7 km to reach the Khau Pha restaurant area. This is also one of the largest salmon farms in Northern Vietnam. The number of fish raised here is up to 10,000, the fingerlings are completely imported and raised using technology from Europe. Many delicious dishes from Salmon (or Sturgeon) are prepared here to serve tourists. If you are in a large group, you can go and make hot pot for your lunch.

6.9 Stream crab roasted with salt

Unlike crabs that live in the sea or in fields, stream crabs often live in rock holes in streams in highlands. Stream crab meat is fragrant, firm and can be processed into many delicious dishes, including salt-roasted stream crab. After catching the crab, peel its shell, wash it and let it drain. Put the oil in the pan and boil, add the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Then add the crab, stir well, sprinkle salt and roast until the crab is golden brown.

In addition, there are many other strange dishes at Mu Cang Chai. Such as honey, black chicken, sticky rice with eggs, grilled pork sandwiched with forest trees,…These dishes promise to bring satisfaction to you.

7. Accommodation when traveling to Mu Cang Chai

When traveling to Mu Cang Chai, you can refer to some of the accommodation facilities below:

7.1 Resort:

  • Mu Cang Chai Eco Lodge. Address: Nam Khat, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.

7.2 Guesthouses:

  • Hong Minh Guesthouse. Address: Nga Ba Kim, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.
  • Community Hostel. Address: Mu Cang Chai Town, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.
  • Quang Minh Guesthouse. Address: Mu Cang Chai Town, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.
  • Khau Pha Guesthouse. Address: Located on Khau Pha pass, about 7km from Tu Le in the direction of Mu Cang Chai.
  • Suoi Mo Guesthouse. Address: Mu Cang Chai Town, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.

7.3 Homestays:

  • Hello Mu Cang Chai Homestay. Address: La Pan Tan, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.
  • Do Gu Homestay. Address: La Pan Tan, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.
  • Mu Cang Homestay. Address: Group 2, Mu Cang Chai Town, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.
  • Ngoc Thuy Homestay. Address: Ban Thai, Mu Cang Chai Town, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.
  • Nong Van Em community motel. Address: Group 9, Mu Cang Chai Town, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.
  • Chicken Bamboo Homestay. Address: Group 2, Mu Cang Chai Town, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.
  • Luong Van Ban Community Hostel. Address: Group 9, Mu Cang Chai Town, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai.

8. Some important notes when traveling to Mu Cang Chai

  • Please pay attention to act responsibly and do not litter. Maintain a green, clean and beautiful landscape.
  • Respect the culture and customs of indigenous people. Before you want to take a photo of them or with them, you should ask permission first.
  • Do not jostle or push when taking photos at tourist attractions. And do not give money or gifts to local children along the way.
  • Mu Cang Chai’s weather is erratic, hot during the day, but cold at night. Please prepare a light jacket to avoid catching a cold.
  • If traveling by motorbike, you need to make sure your steering wheel is steady. Because the road has many hills and steep sections with sharp turns. Carefully check your vehicle, fully equip safety gear, bring all vehicle documents. Especially strictly comply with road traffic laws to ensure maximum safety for your journey.
  • You should bring cash to easily transact services or buy souvenirs. You should also bring bottled water, snacks, etc. to conveniently replenish energy along the way.

Our above article has summarized our experiences when traveling to Mu Cang Chai in the most detailed way for you. Hopefully our useful sharing will help you have a truly meaningful tours in Mu Cang Chai, seeing all the natural beauty that nature has bestowed on this place.

If you are planning your trip to Mu Cang Chai in the near future, please contact Origin Vietnam – a professional loca tour operator. We will accompany you on your speical journey to explore the travel beauty of Mu Cang Chaiand commit to bringing wonderful moments and the most interesting experiences to you.

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