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:
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