Mu Cang Chai is the region located in the Northeastern of Vietnam (Yen Bai Province). This is one rural area suffered by the poor, but now has emerged as one of the most famous tourist destinations of Vietnam.
Mu Cang Chai is the home of many minority groups of what H'Mong is the major. The H'Mong make their lives among rice and corn cultivation, build wooden houses and guard boxes spotted between the terrace fields, bring the place with gorgeous poetic scenery. In Mu Cang Chai, there are splendid rice terrace fields creating amazing landscapes stretching down the mountain sides. The magical view will take your breath away for the time your eyes caught it.
The harvest season in mid September, also the only harvest of the year, is the most important event in Mu Cang Chai. The rice cultivation in Mu Cang Chai is different from other regions such as Red and Mekong Deltas. The locals built terraces alongside the slope of the hills. In April to May, those fields are flooded to prepare for the planting of seeds and wait for four months until the harvest.
Mu Cang Chai is most crowded in the harvest time. In September to November, ripe rice fields with blending colors of yellow, green and black generates romantic and breathtaking scenery, which lies between superb mountain views of the Northern region.
Flooding time in April or May is also an ideal period to visit Mu Cang Chai. During this season, Mu Cang Chai wears a mysterious and obsessed coat, when rice terraces are full of water, making them look like huge mirrors.
There are many routes for you to move from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai, but the most common is along Highway 32, across the bridge Trung Ha, Thanh Son (Phu Tho), then through Nghia Lo town, Tu Le commune ( Van Chan district) of Yen Bai before crossing Khau Pha pass to to Mu Cang Chai. Travel time is about 7 hours. Since the Noi Bai - Lao Cai high way was operated, you can also run through this route to the city and to Nghia Lo, Yen Bai. Additionally, you can also go on the route of Noi Bai - Lao Cai, Sa Pa and up O Quy Ho Pass, then through Than Uyen and Tan Uyen, Lai Chau and to to Mu Cang Chai. You are recommended to pick one line on the way up and the other for the way back to get more experiences.
In Mu Cang Chai, most convenient way to travel is to rent motorbikes, with prices ranging from 100,000 VND to 200,000 VND per day depending on the time.
On the road to Mu Cang Chai, visitors cannot ignore Tu Le commune, the Lim Mong village, Cao Pha fields, Khau Pha Pass ... and points having the most beautiful terraces such as La Pan Tan Commune, Che Cu Nha, Thai village, Triple Bridge House, the raspberries hill (from the center of Mu Cang Chai district, about 10 km). If traveling from Noi Bai - Lao Cai, go experience the feeling on O Quy Ho Pass, the scenery along the way through and Tan Uyen Uyen (Lai Chau)...
Visitors coming here can stay right in Mu Cang Chai, or Tu Le (40km far away), or Nghia Lo (100km away). While Nghia Lo is a busy place with many big hotels namely Nghia Lo, Western, Muong Lo... with price from 300.000-500.000VND/night, Mu Cang Chai and Tu Le have fewer options for accommodation with little hostels. If travelers come in peak season, they have to make the reservation long before arriving. Solution suggested for accommodation is staying with local people in homestays. In Mu Cang Chai there are several nice homestays can be found such as Mr. Sanh Homestay, Mr. Em Homestay, Tong Van Don Homestay, Lo Van Doi Homestay... They are all large Thai traditional stilt houses accommodated to many people. The hosts are also very friendly, plain and hospitable.