Famous for its most breathtaking rice terraces, Mu Cang Chai is a reputable name repeated among travel lovers, expecially at the end of September & early October - the time for the most beautiful landscapes of stepped rice fields in Mu Cang Chai.Today, the local goverment in Yen Bai province has paid a big attention to promote Mu Cang Chai tourism with annual festivals and invested to build up good roads, travel facitities of hotels, restaurants, community-based travel services of homestay.As a result, it is pretty easier to travel to Mu Cang Chai nowadays with 7 hour car transfer from Hanoi capital.
Mam Xoi terraced fields in La Pan Tan
Trips to Mu Cang Chai are great journeys not only to admire the impressive landscapes of Mu Cang Chai’s terraced rice fields – the most beautiful ones in the world, but also to get great insights of local ethnic cultures by visiting the best attractions, trekking to & homstaying in remote villages of the region.
As a remote & hilly district of Yen Bai province, Mu Cang Chai shares its border with Van Chan district (Yen Bai province) on the east, with Than Uyen district ( Lai Chau province) on the west, with Muong La area ( Son La province) on the south, and with Van Ban district ( Lao Cai province) on the north.
The district is located at the foot of Hoang Lien mountain range (the one with its highest peak named Fansipan as the roof of Indochina in Sapa location) at the altitude of 1000 metters high above the sea level.Its main topography is challenging with many high mountains, deep valleys, of which are dotted with rural villages of such minority ethnics as Hmong, Red Zao, Thai, Viet… Among of them, Hmong tribes accounts for 95% of the district’s entire population living scatteredly on mountain slopes with their unique cultures & scenic terraced rice fields.. To reach Mu Cang Chai's terraced rice fields, we follow the good & winding NR32, passing Khau Pha pass - one of four most imposing ones in Northwest Vietnam.
At the high location of Hoang Lien Mountain, Mu Cang Chai district has its two main seasons : the dry & rainy ones with cool summer & cold winter.There isn’t any river running through the district and its main water source is coming from numerous streams originated from Hoang Lien mountain range.With its 6 cold winter months (November to April), the region is so dry to plant the rice, that is why there is one crop of rice in Mu Cang Chai in summer season (May to October) when the rice terraces are watered by summer rains.
Thanks to its pleasant climate, it is fine to visit Mu Cang Chai at any time of the year. However, the photographers who love having wonderful photographs of Mu Cang Cang rice terraces say that there are two best periods that people should visit Mu Cang Chai : between May and July when the locals water the fields to plant a new rice crop; and between mid-September and mid-October when the stepped fields change from green colour to yellow one - the right moment for the best photos of rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai.
The stunning beauty of stepped fields
Harvest time in Mu Cang Chai