Mu Cang Chai is located in Yen Bai province, about 280km away from Hanoi and very famous for its terraced fields. There are 2 times of the year to visit Mu Cang Chai: from mid-September to October this is the grain season, from May to July when Hmong people start sowing and pouring water on the fields.
Mu Cang Chai is also known for its ethnic minority groups, specifically the Hmong and Thai. La Pan Tan was declared as an official tourist attraction in 2007 for preserving its culture.
How to get there
By motorbike: it will take you about 8 hours of riding. Therefore, you shouldn’t ride continuously. Take rest at Nghia Lo town for the first night and conquer the rest in the second day.
By bus: Hanoi – Lai Chau buses that stop at Mu Cang Chai: Hai Van, Hoang Anh, AnhTu (start at My Dinh bus station). Going by bus would take you a whole day to get to Mu Cang Chai.
You should visit Mu Cang Chai from 2.5 to 3 days to explore all the sites.
Tu Le commune is belonged to Van Chan District and famous for its scenic landscape and idyllic village of Thai people. The commune is situated right next to the Khau Pha pass and from the top of the pass you will take in the panoramic view of Tu Le fields. These rice fields lie completely inside a valley surrounded by low hills and mountains. The most famous thing in Tu Le that any visitor should try is the hot spring of Chao village.
Khau Pha Pass is one of the most beautiful and dangerous passes in Vietnam and often called “the sky’s horn”. From Yen Bai city, go off-road on highway 32 for about 5 hours and right when you pass Tu Le, Khau Pha Pass will appear lying embraced by surrounding mountains. The pass road runs through old forests and terrace fields of ethnic minorities. From the pass, you will have chance to enjoy the wonderful scene of green and yellow rice terrace fields on September and October.
Lim Mong village is home to Hmong people situated near to Lim Thai village which is the living space of Thai people. Compared to Lim Thai, the Hmong’s village is on a higher ground and more remote. The landscape of Lim Mong village stands out among other sites. When you reach the village, the majestic view of purest blue sky above and vivid green and yellow rice fields running down the valley will amaze you. There is one more thing; the road to Lim Mong is very steep so you must be very careful if you want to ride motorbike up there especially in rainy weather.
Ba Nha Bridge is only 10km away from the commune centre and a favorite place of photographers. There is xe om service from the bridge up to the top of terrace fields priced 50,000VND for a round trip, may be cheaper depending on your bargaining skills. If you don’t like that option, you can ask for the roads to walk or ride your motorbike up there (it takes you only 20-30 minutes walking). However, be aware of the bad condition of the road, especially on rainy days.
Kim Noi village in Mu Cang Chai town which lies on an altitude of 930m above sea, located on the other side of the town’s bridge. By turning left for one km after passing the bridge, you will reach the village. There are a lot of families that offer homestay service. This is a great place for those who want to discover the daily life of Thai ethnic people with the friendliness of the people and calmness of the environment. In weekends, you will have chance to join many cultural activities like campfire, traditional Thai singing and dancing performances of ethnic women.