Nearly 300 km from Hanoi to the Northwest, Mu Cang Chai is famous for its scenic terraced fields. Each season of rice ripening, this place is a destination not to be missed on the journey to discover the Northwest ripening rice.
How Mu Cang Chai is unique?
Mu Cang Chai is a small mountain town located in the western part of Yen Bai province, about 300km from Hanoi. Travelling to Mu Cang Chai, visitors will be immersed in the golden colour of sunshine and rice. No need to go deep into every small village of the Mong people. Because right on the highway, visitors can also see the “golden sea” of rice rolling in the middle of the vast sky.
The entire Mu Cang Chai district has 2,200ha of terraced fields, of which 500ha of terraced fields in the three communes of La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and De Xu Phinh. They have been recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as one of the scenic spots. The most unique in the first place in Vietnam and ranked as a national monument.
Top things to do 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.
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.
2. Tu Le
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.
3. Cao Pha – Lim Mong village
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.
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.
4. Khau Pha Pass
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.
4. 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. Muong Chien Village
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 …
6. La Pan Tan village
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.
7. Mam Xoi terrace rice field
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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. De Xu Phinh village
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, soybeans. , vegetables, brocade … Men often wear black clothes, while women wear brightly coloured outfits, creating beauty and a joyful atmosphere for the market day.
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.
When is the best time to visit Mu Cang Chai?
Mu Cang Chai tourism has 2 beautiful seasons that you can arrange the time to visit, the other seasons to Mu Cang Chai are nothing too special.
Between September and mid-October is the season when the rice is ripe, at this time, the entire Mu Cang Chai will be golden with a colour of rice, beautiful weather, convenient to visit here.
Around May-June is the pouring season, when summer rains start to pour water down the mountains, water is led from the mountains into the terraced fields. Water overflows into the fields, making the arid soil softer and expanding, allowing farmers to transplant rice.
This is also the time when people start to plough to prepare for a new crop. Therefore, in the terraced fields in the Northern mountainous areas, rice can only grow one crop. The gleaming steps of water in the afternoon sun create a beauty that makes many visitors surprised.
How to get there?
Travel by Private Car
Start from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai about 300km, if you move from early morning, until late afternoon you can arrive. However, few people run straight, but often choose one of the two options to stop at Sapa or Nghia Lo.
From Hanoi, if you want to go around Sapa first, you just follow the highway Hanoi – Lao Cai and go straight to Sapa. Stay here for 1 night and then the next day from Sapa, you will pass O Quy Ho Pass to Tan Uyen, Than Uyen and stop at Mu Cang Chai. If you go in the direction of Nghia Lo, you can start around early afternoon, in the evening up to Nghia Lo to rest and then leisurely go up to Mu Cang Chai.
Travel by Motorbike
Motorbikes cannot go to the expressway, so please go in the direction of highway 32 to Nghia Lo. From Hanoi, go in the direction of Trung Ha bridge through Thanh Thuy, Thanh Son, Tan Son and go straight to Nghia Lo Town, a distance of about 180km. About 4-5 hours, you will be here, if you like exploring Nghia Lo, go from the morning.
Hanoi – Yen Bai
From Hanoi, you can choose to take the night bus to Lai Chau (car to route QL32, highway bus Hanoi – Lao Cai will not come here) or choose some limousines to go directly to Mu Cang Chai during the day
From Yen Bai
If you do not want to take the night bus to Mu Cang Chai. You can choose another option which is to take a bus from Hanoi to Yen Bai city, from here to continue to take the bus to Mu Cang Chai. The total travel time is about the same and more trips can be travelled during the day
Travel in Mu Cang Chai
If you use a bus to get to Mu Cang Chai, you can choose to rent a motorbike right in the town for a means of transportation. Usually, hotels and motels currently provide car rental services, you can rent them for convenience.
What to eat?
Sticky Rice with Tu Le
Tu Le sticky rice is a very famous product since time immemorial, it was grown from the land of Tu Le in Van Chan district, this is also a famous speciality of Yen Bai.
Five coloured sticky rice
Mu Cang Chai is famous for its enchanting terraced fields, where it is a fertile land blooming with fragrant sticky rice grains unmatched. From such sticky rice as a pearl, the people here create many dishes that are loved by many people. 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.
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.
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. Ban pork here can be processed into many dishes such as grilled, fried or boiled …
Grasshoppers are available all year round but most in the harvest, around May and September. In the season, grasshoppers are always fragrant, making it an attractive dish when coming to Mu Cang Chai
Due to the increasing number of tourists adventure tour in Vietnam coming here. Nowadays in Mu Cang Chai, there are also several relatively luxurious resorts to serve tourists in need. Such as Tu Le area has Le Champ Tu Le, area of Ba Kim crossroads has Mu Cang Chai Ecolodge, the area near the centre of Mu Cang Chai is under construction of Mu Cang Chai resort.
Some good hotel in Mu Cang Chai:
- Tu Nguyet homestay
- Hello Mu Cang Chai Homestay
- Mu Cang Chai Eco Lodge
- Do Gu Homestay
- Mu Cang Homestay
- Ngoc Thuy Homestay
Above are all the most detailed Mu Cang Chai travel experiences that Origin Vietnam has summarized. Hope all of these experiences will help you have a trip to Mu Cang Chai with lots of fun and great experiences.
Frequently Asked Questions about Mu Cang Chai
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