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Yen Bai Travel Guide

All things need to know before travelling to Yen Bai

Travel Yen Bai, although not yet strongly developed in the field of tourism, has great potential with a series of unique tourist destinations connecting nature and local people. The diversity of landscapes and weather in this area has created breathtakingly beautiful tourist destinations, bringing wonderful experiences to visitors. Let’s explore this wonderful destination with Origin Vietnam.

1. Where is Yen Bai?

Yen Bai is a mountainous province in the Northwest region of Vietnam and about 155 km from the capital Hanoi. With geographical location:

  • The East borders Tuyen Quang province and Phu Tho province.
  • The West borders Lai Chau province.
  • The South borders Son La province.
  • The North borders Ha Giang province and Lao Cai province.

2. How is Yen Bai unique?

Yen Bai is a mountainous province with diverse natural landscapes and many attractive places to visit. Such as Tham Le cave (Van Chan), Thac Ba lake, Giang stream ecotourism, Muong Lo fields, and relics. Especially the network of war zones Van, Cang Don, Nghia Lo,…

For many people, it seems that when traveling to Yen Bai, there is only Mu Cang Chai. But do you know that Yen Bai, the gateway to the Northwest, is the birthplace of ancient Vietnamese people with over 30 ethnic groups living together. This is where the Red River and Chay River civilizations are located. Also it is the center of exchange between the Northeast and Northwest regions of Vietnam.

Here, with many attractive tourism potentials, tourist destinations in Yen Bai are diverse with revolutionary historical relics, systems of communal houses, temples, and pagodas associated with the history of building the country. Yen Bai is also a place where community tourism and ecotourism develop quite strongly in the Nghia Lo and Thac Ba Lake areas.

3. When is the best time to visit Yen Bai?

Yen Bai is located in the tropical monsoon climate zone, with high heat, lots of rain and sunshine. The average annual temperature in Yen Bai fluctuates around 18 – 20 degrees Celsius. The lowest temperature is about 2 degrees Celsius and the highest is 39 degrees Celsius. Yen Bai is characterized by southeast monsoon and northeast monsoon, and high rainfall. The average annual amount is about 1,700 – 2,000mm.

Each season of Yen Bai has its own beauty, depending on your needs and preferences, you can choose the most suitable time to go.

  • January – March: It is an opportunity to get closer to the lives of Yen Bai people. There are many special spring festivals and many traditional games. Such as pound throwing, tug of war, horse racing,…
  • May – June: is the flood season. When the rains begin to pour down the mountains. Because the water is channeled into the terraced fields, creating fields glistening with water in the bright afternoon sun.
  • September – October: The best time when the rice season is ripe is from about September 15 to October 10. At this time, the weather is cool, the sunshine is soft, everywhere is the bright, shiny, shimmering yellow of the terraced fields.
  • December: This is the right time to hunt clouds. It will not be difficult to see the mountains and forests submerged in a sea of clouds full of magic and majesty.

Thus, the most beautiful time to travel to Yen Bai is from September to April of the following year. This place promises to bring you wonderful experiences during your trip.

4. How to get to Yen Bai?

4.1 From Hanoi to Yen Bai city

Yen Bai city is about 155 km from Hanoi. If you travel from Hanoi and other neighboring provinces, you can choose the train from Hanoi station to Yen Bai station or go by car, bus, or motorbike.

  • By train: There are 3 main routes running from Hanoi – Yen Bai: trainYB3 goes straight to Yen Bai and SP1, SP3 Hanoi – Lao Cai stop to drop off passengers at Yen Bai station. Travel time is about 4 hours 15 minutes
  • By passenger bus: Passenger buses usually depart from My Dinh bus station to Yen Bai province in about 4 hours and 30 minutes. If you live in other provinces, you can also easily catch a bus to Yen Bai.
  • By car: If you use a self-driving car, you can travel along Noi Bai – Lao Cai highway. Then go to the turnoff to Yen Bai bridge, then follow the directions for about 3 km to Yen Bai city.
  • By motorbike: For tourists who have experience traveling by this means and love the feeling of discovery. However, when traveling to Yen Bai by motorbike, you need to make sure the steering wheel is strong and bring all the documents. Because you will have to move through mountain passes with quite dangerous slopes.

4.2 Means of transportation in Yen Bai

Once you arrive in Yen Bai city, to travel to different tourist destinations, depending on the terrain of the destination, you can choose convenient and fast means of transportation, such as: intra-provincial bus, rent a taxi, etc. However, the most popular means of transport that tourists often use to move within Yen Bai province is motorbikes. You can easily rent a motorbike at car rental addresses with a variety of vehicle types, brands and models.

5. Sightseeings in Yen Bai

5.1 Muong Lo Field

Muong Lo field is the second largest field in the Northwest mountains. Muong Lo is also considered a giant basin nestled between towering mountains and hills, covering the entire town of Nghia Lo. Standing from afar on the pass, you will feel peaceful before the smoothness and shine of the fields stretching to the horizon.

With the romantic scenery of the land of rice. Muong Lo field is also one of the Yen Bai tourist destinations that helps you immerse yourself in the diverse culture of 12 ethnic groups. They are Thai, Kinh, H’ Mong, Muong… With the charming beauty of the fields. So Muong Lo has been registered as a national intangible cultural heritage that needs to be preserved.

During the ripe rice season (mid-September to mid-October). Muong Lo will be an attractive place to visit in Yen Bai for you with a brilliant yellow picture of ripe rice and a warm harvest scene. When coming to Muong Lo, you can combine a visit to Mu Cang Chai. It’s a masterpiece of terraced fields at the foot of the Hoang Lien Son range.

Located about 80 km from Yen Bai city and about 200 km from Hanoi. So you can drive from Hanoi via Highway 32. On the way, also can visit other famous landmarks. Such as Thanh Son, Tan Son, Thu Cuc, Van Chan…

5.2 Mu Cang Chai

Mu Cang Chai is a beautiful small town located at the foot of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. This is also a famous Yen Bai tourist destination whose specialty is the beauty of the masterpiece terraced fields. On the way to Mu Cang Chai, you will enjoy the beauty of Khau Pha Pass. It’s the 4th most beautiful place in the world for paragliding pilots.

When coming to Mu Cang Chai, you can come from September to October to participate in the unique cultural festivals of the Mong people. In particular, this time is also the ripe rice season in Mu Cang Chai and Muong Lo. With the specialties that nature bestows. Mu Cang Chai will definitely give you a great background.

If you are from Hanoi on the way to Mu Cang Chai, you should visit Muong Lo first. Overnight in Muong Lo and the next day depart for Mu Cang Chai to be able to fully admire the majestic beauty of Khau Pha pass on the way.

5.3 Khau Pha Pass

Belonging to the “four great passes” of the Northwest. Khau Pha Pass is one of the 10 most famous tourist destinations in Yen Bai. With an altitude of 1,200m, the highest in Mu Cang Chai, Khau Pha Pass stands tall like a “horn of heaven”. The pass is also embellished by the surrounding mountain ranges amidst the white clouds.

Khau Pha Pass is famous as one of the most winding and steep passes in Vietnam. When you pass the top of Khau Pha mountain, before your eyes will appear a plateau surrounded by overlapping mountains, a winding pass road between old forests and terraced fields of Thai and H’Mong people.

The best time you should go to Khau Pha Pass is during the ripe rice season from September to October, this is also the time when rice ripens in Muong Lo and Mu Cang Chai. From Yen Bai city, following Highway 32, you can combine a visit to Muong Lo, cross Khau Pha pass and reach Mu Cang Chai.

5.4 Thac Ba Lake

Formed when the river was dammed to build the Thac Ba hydropower plant, Vietnam’s first hydroelectric project, Thac Ba Lake can be seen as a historical witness to the nation’s glorious tradition. Thac Ba Lake is also recognized as the largest artificial lake in Vietnam with more than 1,300 large and small islands.

During the trip to visit the lake by boat, visitors will enjoy fresh air amid the vast blue water surface and immense tree islands. With scenery like that, Thac Ba Lake will certainly be one of the tourist destinations in Yen Bai that you cannot miss.

And before ending the journey on Thac Ba Lake, you can visit Thac Ba Mother Temple – a famous spiritual tourist destination. In addition, there are also limestone mountains and caves associated with many long-standing stories and legends. Surely this trip will help your mind feel more peaceful than ever.

5.5 Suoi Giang

Suoi Giang is one of the attractive tourist attractions in Yen Bai, famous for its vast tea hills with famous fragrance at home and abroad. There are tea forests that are hundreds of years old. Especially snow tea trees with old white stems.

Located halfway up the clouds, the climate in Suoi Giang is cool all year round and is compared to Yen Bai’s Sa Pa. Not only can you admire the romantic nature, you can also immerse yourself in spring festivals, Gau Tao ceremony, tea tree worshiping ceremony and enjoy typical Northwest dishes, this will help you forget the past. sad life.

To get to Giang stream, from Hanoi you have to go to Yen Bai. Then to Van Chan district center, about 13 km from Giang stream. Although the road to Suoi Giang commune has dangerous sections, the beautiful scenery on both sides of the road will help you forget that.

5.6 Hang Te Cho Waterfall

Hang Te Cho Waterfall is the name of a legendary waterfall in the Northwest region, covered with mist and steam all year round, creating a mysterious scene. With the roaring sound of the waterfall, you will feel the excitement inside your body and easily erase all fatigue and pressure.

Hang Te Cho Waterfall is one of the tourist destinations in Yen Bai that has quite a difficult path to conquer. The road to Hang Te Cho village has many sections that are only for horses and cannot be accessed by motorbikes. This place is still considered a “dangerous place” in the Northwest of Vietnam.

5.7 Pu Nhu Waterfall

Located between two high vertical rocky cliffs, the white water from Than Uyen pours down. Under the sunlight, visitors can see steam rising from the rock cavity, extremely magical. Under the stone steps, the water flows down gently and gracefully, stirring people’s hearts.

Pu Nhu Waterfall is one of the Yen Bai tourist destinations blessed by nature with a fresh, cool climate all year round. Immersing yourself in the cool water with a calm atmosphere, you will definitely forget the hustle and bustle of life and your soul will feel young again.

Pu Nhu Waterfall is a destination located on the way to famous places. Such as Muong Lo, Khau Pha Pass and about 10 km from Mu Cang Chai center.

5.8 Ta Xua – cloud paradise

Ta Xua peak is located between the natural boundary of Yen Bai and Son La provinces with an altitude of about 2000m. It is one of the 15 highest mountain peaks in Vietnam. There is only one road to the highest peak with a very steep slope. This is one of the Yen Bai tourist destinations for those who love to conquer and is a famous trekking destination in Vietnam.

When you come to Ta Xua, you can’t help but visit the dinosaur spine hill. It’s a mountain range stretching out into the deep valley, dolphin cape, lonely tree,… Around October to April of the following year. It is time to watch the sunrise mixed with wonderful floating clouds. In the distance are charming terraced rice fields.

5.9 Chop Du Lake

Located only about 10 km from the center of Yen Bai. Chop Du Lake is one of the unique Yen Bai tourist destinations that stands out with its quiet and extremely dreamy lake surface. This tourist destination is really suitable for those who are looking for coordinates to conquer as well as participate in light entertainment activities such as fishing, playing,…

Chop Du Lake today still retains its original wild and charming features. Coming here to visit, visitors will be able to sightsee by boat to clearly feel the cool atmosphere and be immersed in the vast nature. The beauty of the mountains and forests combined with the gurgling stream and the chirping of birds has created an extremely beautiful natural picture here.

5.10 Cu Vai village

Cu Vai village is originally a village inhabited by the H’Mong people, extremely peaceful and simple. Visiting Cu Vai village on the Yen Bai tour, visitors will discover the cultural characteristics of the indigenous people, admire the rustic wooden stilt houses and especially experience wearing clothes. Unique traditional costumes of the H’Mong people.

The typical poetic scenery at Cu Vai village is always covered with a layer of white clouds floating among the vast mountains and forests, which will certainly make many tourists excited from the first time they see it with their own eyes.

5.11 Tu Le

Tu Le Valley is located close to Mu Cang Chai, separated by Khau Pha Pass. It’s a familiar destination for many backpackers on the way to explore Yen Bai. Tourists often combine visiting both Tu Le and Mu Cang Chai.

This place is known for its charming Northwest scenery, fragrant sticky rice specialties, natural hot mineral springs and sacred customs of the Thai ethnic people. Unlike other places, Tu Le field evokes a feeling of gentleness and closeness because it is not located precariously on hills or deep in ravines.

5.12 Tram Tau

Tram Tau tourism has become widely known for its beautiful scenery and many activities. Tourists can immerse themselves in pristine nature, majestic mountains and forests. Especially discovering new things from nature and the typical culture of the H’Mong and Thai ethnic groups. In particular, visitors can experience adventure, community and resort tourism activities.

6. Activities & things to do in Yen Bai

6.1 Parachute to see the golden season

Khau Pha Pass is one of the Four Great Pass Peaks in Vietnam. It’s located in Yen Bai, connecting Mu Cang Chai and Van Chan districts. One of the “thrilling” experiences here every ripe rice season is flying with a parachute to see the rice fields. The parachute flight point is usually located at the top of a hill, 1,200 m above sea level. Tourists will fly with a professional pilot, flight time is 10-20 minutes (depending on weather conditions).

6.2 Zipline in Tu Le

The longest zipline route in Vietnam is located in the Aeris Hill adventure game area in Tu Le commune (Van Chan district), opened in 2020. The zipline has two stages with a total length of 1.2 km.

The first stage is nearly 1 km long, visitors have the opportunity to take in the panoramic view of the mountainous Tu Le valley.

Stage 2 will take guests to the bus stop to return to the amusement park. Visitors under 50 kg will be hung with an additional 10 kg sandbag to ensure completion of the slide. It will take each person about 2 minutes to complete the two stages.

7. Specialties when traveling to Yen Bai

As a mountainous province in Northern Vietnam, Yen Bai is known to tourists for its beautiful nature; Diverse culture and rich cuisine. Referring to Yen Bai cuisine, we cannot help but mention the delicious “eat once and remember” dishes. Because the local products that everyone wants to buy when they see them.

7.1 Smoked buffalo meat

Smoked buffalo meat is made from fresh pieces of buffalo meat. Mountain buffaloes are grazed naturally, eating grass and forest leaves, so their meat is firm and sweet. Buffalo meat, after being marinated with typical Northwest spices. Such as Mac Khen and wild chili, will be dried on a wood stove or put in the oven. Dried buffalo meat is packaged in half a kilogram or 1kg and is easy to preserve, so tourists often buy it as gifts.

7.2 Grilled chicken with mac mat leaves

Walking around Mu Cang Chai market, visitors will immediately be attracted by the attractive aroma emanating from grilled chicken shops. Northwest chicken is carefully marinated with spices, hook honey leaves are stuffed into the stomach and then grilled on a charcoal stove. The chicken is grilled whole so it retains its natural sweetness. The chicken meat is firm but not chewy. When eaten with Cham Dao, it is “delicious and forgetful”.

7.3 Bamboo shoots rolled with meat

Bamboo shoots are available in many places, but Yen Bai bamboo shoots are still considered the most delicious and sweet. Bamboo shoot season lasts from December to March every year. Traveling to Yen Bai at this time, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy bamboo shoots rolled with meat – a Yen Bai specialty and also the pride of the people here.

7.4 Ant egg sticky rice

Each locality in the Northwest offers visitors a different specialty. In Mu Cang Chai, that specialty is ant egg sticky rice. When spring comes, it is also the time when black ants lay eggs. People of the Tay, Dao, and Thai ethnic groups in Yen Bai go to the forest to find ant eggs to cook sticky rice. Mu Cang Chai upland sticky rice combined with Northwest forest ant eggs creates a specialty that visitors will remember once they eat.

7.5 Crispy fried bugs

In April every year, longan flowers bloom. On the flower clusters begin to appear nectar-sucking and sap-sucking bugs. Van Chan people now work together to catch stink bugs to protect the tree. With just a little lemon juice and sliced lemon leaves, local chefs have a delicious dish to create. From a rustic dish, fried stink bugs have become a Yen Bai specialty and are on the menu of many restaurants in Yen Bai.

7.6 Sausages

Besides buffalo meat, sausage is also a Yen Bai specialty that many people choose to buy as a gift. Sausage is made from delicious pork, marinated with rich spices. One secret of Yen Bai people to make delicious sausage is to use firewood with fragrant essential oils such as cinnamon wood to add flavor to the dish.

7.7 Delicious dishes from Tu Le sticky rice

Tu Le sticky rice is considered the “jewel of heaven” of the Tu Le valley. This is a famous specialty rice of Van Chan that anyone who has the opportunity to pass here wants to buy. From Tu Le sticky rice, Yen Bai people make many delicious dishes such as Tu Le five-color sticky rice, Tu Le green rice,… Every dish is sticky, every dish is fragrant.

7.8 Roasted grasshopper

Yen Bai is famous for its endless terraced fields. The ripening rice season brings with it plump, plump crabs. Crispy fried grasshopper with chili salt and lime leaves is a hybrid dish that is “addictive”. This “unique and strange” dish is also on the menu of many restaurants in Yen Bai.

7.9 Muong Lo black chung cake

Muong Lo black chung cake is not only attractive because of its strange color. But also because of its wonderful flavor. The elasticity of Tu Le sticky rice, the nutty taste of green beans mixed with the fatty taste of pork create an irresistible delicious dish.

7.10 Stir-fried bee pupa with mosquito net in Yen Bai

In addition to wild honey, which is one of the specialties that not only has medicinal effects. But also beautified, Mu Cang Chai wild bee pupae are a rare specialty of the mountains and forests. Because this dish is only available from April to Ho Chi Minh City. 8 – wild bee breeding season.

8. Accommodation when traveling to Yen Bai

8.1 Staying in Mu Cang Chai

Mu Cang Chai is home to the most sought-after accommodation spots. The type of accommodation here is mainly affordable homestays and stilt houses (dormitories). Tourists can easily find a stilt house around famous tourist destinations such as Mu Cang Chai center, Ban Thai, La Pan Tan terraced fields, Che Cu Nha, De Xu Phinh.

In the last 2-3 years, Mu Cang Chai has appeared in many resorts with good quality and more self-contained. Tourists can choose to stay at: Mu Cang Chai homestay, Mu Cang Chai Ecolodge, La Phan Tan Paradise, Dream house homestay. In 2024, Garrya Mu Cang Chai luxury resort will open, adding more options for tourists.

8.2 Staying in Tu Le

Accommodation in Tu Le is also often homestays, stilt houses and budget motels. Some popular addresses: Bung Xom homestay, Thuy Linh Homestay, Sung A Ho homestay, Quyet Doan homestay, Nhat Thinh Homestay, Suoi Tien Guesthouse.

The luxury resort Le Champ Tu Le Resort Hot Spring & Spa has 100 bungalows with full self-contained services. There is also a hot mineral area, zipline slide, and relaxing massage services.

8.3 Staying in Tram Tau

Tram Tau only has homestays and motels, of which the most popular is Tram Tau Hot Springs Homestay (Cuong Hai) located in area 5, built with rustic wood. 1-2 bed bungalows, regular, luxury or VIP, community stilt houses.

The most convenient thing here is the hot mineral pools right on site, visitors do not have to travel far. There is also Tram Tau Tea Hill homestay in area 3. Xoe Tram Tau Homestay located in Hat Luu village, Zoni Home Tram Tau.

8.4 Staying in Yen Bai city

Yen Bai city has many accommodation locations, quite rich in types. Usually 2-3 star hotels and some homestays such as Hong Nhung – Yen Bai, Phuong Thuy, Nhu Nguyet, Thien Huong,...

8.5 Staying in Nghia Lo

Nghia Lo town is small, does not have many attractions. And is often a stopping place on the journey to other destinations in the province. If you have to stay overnight, you can choose Muong Lo Retreat Yen Bai, Dragonfly Hotel Nghia Lo, Muong Lo Hotel, Mien Tay Hotel,…

In addition to the above areas, Yen Bai also has outstanding accommodation spots in some districts with tourist attractions. Such as: Thac Ba Paradise Islands, Thac Ba Green Island tourist area (Thac Ba lake, Yen Binh district), Vu Linh homestay Thac Ba, Om Tara Retreat,…

9. Some important notes when traveling to Yen Bai

To make your trip to Yen Bai safe and complete, you should refer to the following notes:

  • Items you must always bring with you: Identification documents, drinking water, insect spray. You should wear sneakers for ease of movement, and don’t forget your hat and map.
  • Clothing: Frilly outfits will not be suitable for this trip. You should prepare clothes made of soft material and bring a light jacket. Because the weather here is quite different day and night. When the sun goes down, it will be cold and it can even rain. Bring sneakers or flat shoes with soft soles to walk long distances without hurting your feet. Besides, bring clothes that match the color tone of the landscape to take beautiful photos.
  • Weather: You should pay attention to monitoring and updating the weather situation, usually you should check the weather forecast for Yen Bai in the next 3 days.
  • Food: You should prepare some high-calorie snacks such as candy, cake, chocolate so that in case you get hungry or have low blood sugar along the way, you can replenish your energy, especially for those who are trekking.

With the brilliant and unique gifts that nature bestows on Yen Bai. From terrain to weather and landscape, there is potential for tourism development. With the useful travel information that Origin Vietnam has just introduced above, surely you can feel some of that diversity and uniqueness.

From valleys and plains to winding passes and dangerous high mountains. From peaceful, poetic villages to mysterious and majestic natural landscapes of Yen Bai tourist destinations. Origin Vietnam – a professional Vietnam tour operator, will accompany you every step of the way on your tours in Vietnam to explore the travel beauty of Yen Bai with interesting experiential activities and retain unforgettable memories.

Private Mu Cang Chai Tour Package

Mu Cang Chai tour 3 days will be an amazing journey for you to discover the beauties of rice terrace fields with different picture which both nature and local people built as a spectacular scenery for this land. Don’t miss it once you visit Vietnam to discover its beauties all year round from March to November yearly.
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