If you happen to be in Vietnam this autumn, visiting Mu Cang Chai rice terraces should certainly top your travel bucket list.
Every September and October, Mu Cang Chai welcomes thousands of travelers who come here to adore its gorgeous golden rice terraces during harvest season.
Where is Mu Cang Chai in Vietnam?
Located 280 km from Hanoi, Mu Cang Chai is a district in Yen Bai Province where a large number of Hmong ethnic minority groups live.
When is the best time to visit Mu Cang Chai?
The best time to visit Mu Cang Chai is during the harvest season from the end of September to the beginning of October. During this time, you will be able to see breathtaking golden rice terraces. You can also visit Mu Cang Chai in August when the rice is still green.
In addition, the annual Mu Cang Chai Travel Festival takes place at the end of September every year with exciting activities such as traditional games, traditional food events, and most fascinatingly, GLIDING! Yes, imagine gliding above these gorgeous rice terraces! It’s an amazing experience you’ll never forget!
Alternatively, you can travel to Mu Cang Chai in May – June during the irrigation period when water runs down the rice terraces from above, creating a beautiful scene.
Where exactly can we see Mu Cang Chai rice terraces?
Places where you can see Mu Cang Chai rice terraces include Tu Le Valley, Lim Mong Village, and the 3 wards La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha, and Ze Xu Phinh.
Other things to see in Mu Cang Chai
Mu Cang Chai also features mesmerizing valleys and rivers. On the way to Mu Cang Chai, you will go past Khau Pha Pass – one of the most challenging passes in northern Vietnam. Sceneries along Khau Pha pass are truly stunning!
Moreover, the local Hmong culture in Mu Cang Chai is truly fascinating. If you expect the local Hmong here to speak English fluently and try to sell you whatever they have in their baskets just like in Sapa, you’re totally in the wrong place.
Intead, the benign locals here might appear shy at first, but are then willing to smile back in the most friendly way once you have exchanged the first few lines.
On my first day in Mu Cang Chai, I bumped into some Hmong children playing boisterously by the river. It was one of the most beautiful moments I captured during my trip.
On the way to Mu Cang Chai, you might go past Phu Tho Province. Don’t forget to drop by and take some photos at the beautiful tea farms there!
My trip to Mu Cang Chai
In October 2015, I had the opportunity to travel to Mu Cang Chai with Think Playground – an organization with a mission to build playgrounds for children using recycled stuff.
During the trip, we spent the night at Lao Chai Elementary School, where the majority of students belonged to the Hmong ethnic group. Next morning we started building the playground, designing the school walls, and organizing educational games for the students. It was an awesome and rewarding experience that I would never forget.
Here’s how it looked when we first arrived. The kids were already excited about the recycled tires that we would use to build their playground.
Want some concrete travel tips to Mu Cang Chai? Don’t hesitate to write to me or comment below! 🙂
To explore more destinations in northern Vietnam, check out my other articles:
Attractions in Ha Giang that will leave you amazed
Ta Xua Cloud Hunt: A unique experience in Vietnam
This Mai Chau Homestay offers the Ultimate Peaceful Experience
14+ Unmissable Day Trips from Hanoi: Beaches, nature & beyond
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41 thoughts on “It’s September. Let’s explore Mu Cang Chai rice terraces!”
Absolutely beautiful pictures! What camera and lens do you use? Of course, the natural landscape must not hurt either. 😉
I also remember visiting an elementary school in Tokyo and meeting the children there; great memories!
Come to think of it, most of my best memories come from having interacted with locals, such as when I acquired an unexpected Tour Guide in Busan!
Hi there (sorry didn’t catch your name :p),
Thank you for your comment! I’m using a Canon EOS 600D with 2 lens: 18-55 mm and 50 mm, which are neither too expensive nor professional. I think the landscape and people themselves make the photos stunning, rather than my photography skill haha :D. Great to hear about your experience in Tokyo and Busan. I also believe that the local people play a critical part in shaping our travel experience at any place we go to 🙂 Please feel free to keep in touch!
Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Ousntanditg choice of colors!
I first heard about these H’mong people from the Clint Eastwood movie, Gran Torino. If you haven’t seen it you’ll enjoy it, moreso after visiting the H’mong tribe. You certainly picked the best time to visit, your pictures are very colorful. The Phu Tho tea farm looks very interesting, it actually translates to a rude word in Spanish. Again you have some great people photography!
I’m visiting Vietnam in about a month and now wish I had planned to go in September or October so I could see those yellow rice fields! Ps, love your pictures of the kids!! They are so cute!
I have never been to Asia and your photos look really appealing. You know there are some friends of mine that wish to travel to Vietnam! For sure I will share with them this post!
Keep up the good blogging 🙂
Beautiful place to explore. This place reminds me of rice terraces in the Philippines- its a great place for photography when its almost harvest time.
Your photos are breathtaking! I’d love to visit and try gliding over the fields. It really warms my heart to see children play in nature and not on an iPad – you don’t see that too often these days!
Beautiful! I love that you stumbled on the kids playing in the river. It’s always special to get a glimpse into the local everyday life.
I’ve only seen terraced rice paddies once, in Indonesia. There were at least 50 levels (steps) and it was an amazing site. Anyone who has never seen something like this absolutely should seek it out, and Vietnam is a wonderful place.
Oh what great information. We have never been to Vietnam, we will have to keep your info for a future travel adventure. Your photos are beautiful ! I love that you helped out building the playground ! Thank you for sharing!
Vietnam is so beautiful and I so wanna visit it. its lush green and loved that terrace farming picture. Impressive.
I’m glad you included responsible travel groups to go with. It’s important to keep that in mind when traveling! It also looks very green here and like a great day trip!
great to know the best times to see the rice fields. really like your shots of the local kids!
I’ve never heard of Mu Cang Chai but your pictures make me want to go. I would like to go in the harvest season and see the yellow rice terraces. It’s nice that you were able to help the school children too.
I hope destiny takes me to this place. I loved the scenes, the kids their smiles and activities. The pictures really draw us to it.
Oh, these rice terraces look amazing. Love that yellow color! And the kids… You just made me smile, adorable! 🙂
Stunning views! Such beautiful photos, I wish I could see it myself some day! Vietnam is a beautiful country and the people are open and friendly! Would love to do the Khau Pha Pass hike, seems quite challenging!
Beautiful pictures. I really liked the pictures with the children playing in the river. Such a natural and happy moment you captured there.
I would be very interested in visiting here and interacting with the Hmong community because one of my good friends from uni is Hmong. I actually just went to her wedding last year, and it was set up like a tradition Hmong wedding and was so much fun! I also love how the fields look here, with the rows set in perfect order. Looks beautiful. 🙂
What a place!!! Its really wonderful, i haven’t heard about it!! You make me wanna go to explore it 🙂
I really love your photography, it really captures the culture and the people. The shots of the rice fields are incredible and the children playing is really sweet, it sounds like a unique experience! I’ve actually not heard of this part of Vietnam before so It will be going on my list for when I do visit! Great post! (:
Great pictures, those rice paddies are stunning! I also love that you helped build a new playground for the kids too. I’m glad to have found your blog 🙂
Wow! At first I thought this is in the Philippines. I didn’t know there’s something like this in Vietnam. It’s so beautiful and the people and children looks very friendly. Thanks for sharing your experience here. 🙂
This reminds me of my time in Longji rice terraces in China. Although it’s not high mountains, there’s something magical about being surrounded by rice terraces. This seems equivalent to my my own experience with the local/natives in the area adding to the experience.
Great post! I especially liked reading it cause it’s the first time hearing about it. Looks like a lovely place to see. Your photos are also lovely 😀 😀
Appreciating the dedication you put into your website and detailed information you present.
It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old
rehashed information. Fantastic read! I’ve bookmarked your site and
I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.
Wow this looking incredible! Putting it on my bucket list!
What an amazing place. i love spending time in the nature so I would definitely take this place into consideration when I am in Vietnam.
Oh. My. Gah. Those are some seriously beautiful terraced fields!! Never seen anything like it in my life – you have captured them wonderfully in your photos!!
Oh wow Vietnam looks amazing. I am definitely going to pay it a visit. You are a very good photographer too which makes it even more inviting. I can imagine it to be so peaceful and calming. I must go! Thanks for sharing your experiences and trips with us all.
Stunning and beautiful pictures and all so natural!! This really looks like a great place to visit and I will add into my bucket list. Thanks for the inspiration and keep up the awesome work.
This is a beautiful post, and photos too! I’ve been to Vietnam, but never Mu Cang Chai. Those colours of the rice terraces are stunning, and the travel festival at the end of September sounds like one to look out for too! A great post.
Miss VT so much. THank you for the responsible travel part. So much education needed among travelers
Great photos, with soul! Would love to visit Vietnam one day so this is a great inspiration.
Stunning! I’ve been wanting to experience this for a while now and hope to do it next fall. Saving this!
Wow. The rice terraces are BEAUTIFUL when they are golden! I would love to plan a September/October trip to Vietnam to see them. Thank you for sharing!
I have never been to Vietnam but this looks amazing!
I have been to Hanoi and Hoi An, but haven’t explored the other remote parts of the country. Mu Cang Chai rice terrace looks so beautiful when they are golden.
Beautiful post, thank you so much! I have never been to Vietnam, and this inspires me to go. Love South East Asia in general.
Wow your pictures are incredible. They really do tell a story. Loved everything about this blog post and it’s definitely inspired a future trip.