Top 8 things to do in Mu Cang Chai other than its rice terraces

Mu Cang Chai, the land of the most outstanding rice terraces in the world. However, you can have more interesting experiences other than just stepped rice fields in Mu Cang Chai.Let’s review this writting about Mu Cang Chai for your coming real adventure exploring this beautiful land : 8 things to do in Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai, ideal time to travel & useful travel tips…….

Mu Cang Chai rice terraces, the man-made wonder by local ethnics.

Mu Cang Chai was ever an unpopular place among Vietnamese due to its remote location in the far – northern Mountain Vietnam.However, Mu Cang Chai has drastically drawn an increasing number of local & international visitors in the last few years thanks to its reputed landscapes of stunning rice terraces, especially on harvesting time when rice fields change its green color to its fullest golden beauty.Thanks to its unique scenery, Mu Cang Chai rice terraces was recognized as the national heritage of Vietnam in 2007 and regarded as the most charming stepped rice fields in the world.

admire rice terraces -things to do in Mu Cang Chai

Cu Che Nha rice terraces – Mu Cang Chai

Most of local ethnics in Mu Cang Chai are H’Mong accounting for 95% of total population.They inhabit in remote villages on the high mountains with their abundant stepped rice fields,the man-made wonder that the local ethnics here have diligently created over the years to plant the rice & dwell on it.

Planting rice requests a constant water supply to make sure bumper harvests, however, rice cultivation in Mu Cang Chai mostly depends on raining water running down from mountains (only accessable in raining season from May to October).That’s why there is only one rice crop in Mu Cang Chai in a year. In May, when the first rain falls, local ethnics start cultivating the rice & harvest their crop between Sep & Oct.If you would love to do Photography Tour of Mu Cang Chai rice terraces, you can arrange time to visit this land between May & October.In deed, there are more things to do in Mu Cang Chai other than just stepped rice fields, please, review this blog for the details…..

Top 7 essential things to do in Mu Cang Chai

1.Biking to explore Muong Lo valley in Nghia Lo township.

Muong Lo is a vast valley of rice, corn & tea fields surrounded by mountains, the home to many villages of Muong,Thai, Dzao ethnic groups.They still live on traditional houses, work on farms to make their living & speak their own languages. Muong Lo valley in Nghia Lo town is around 200km far from Hanoi in 5 hour driving journey, your trip to Mu Cang Chai will be nice to spend 1 night here and stroll around this pristine valley on foot or on two wheels exploring rural hamlets of local ethnics along the fields, the streams & the mountains.For more authentic experiences of locals’ daily life,a homestay night should be taken into account in this tranquil valley.

Muong Lo valley -biking trip

Biking along Muong Lo valley – Nghia Lo

2.Taste Com (Green Rice) & Sticky Rice in Tu Le town.

Tu Le town is 50km far from Mu Cang Chai following NR32.You can easily realize this town when a vast valley of stepped rice fields & crisscrossed streams come into your sight. Snaking along Khau Pha Pass, you can have a great captivation of beautiful terraced rice fields & distantly dotted local villages in Tu Le valley.Besides its gorgeous landscapes of rice fields & streams,Tu Le is also famous for its local specialties such as sticky rice and Com (green rice).The sticky rice grown in Tu Le has a pleasant fragrance which is not lost even when the rice is cooked.During the harvest season,you can experience the whole process of making Green Rice, and what a big miss if you do not try Green Rice & Sticky Rice when travelling past Tu Le town.

Tu Le sticky rice

Sticky rice Tu Le – a must try dish

3.Stop in Khau Pha Pass for fastinating captivation of rice terraces down Tu Le valley.

Located right after Tu Le town & en route to Mu Cang Chai, Khau Pha pass is more than 30 kilometers long, considered as the most imposing pass on NR32 and constantly covered with clouds.On clear days, Khau Pha pass offers you parnoramic captivations of majestic mountainscapes, deep valleys of stunning rice terraced fields & local villages down Cao Pha & Tu Le valleys.As the highest point in the region overviewing down the large valleys, Khau Pha pass has been selected as a great location in Vietnam for paragliding sports.Paragliding on Khau Pha Pass will give you the best aerial views of the golden terraces below. Nothing can beat this experience.

Khau Pha Pass - Tu le

Khau Pha Pass – Tu le valley

4.Admire the magnificence of stepped rice fields in La Pan Tan, Cu Che Nha & Ze Xu Phinh communes (Mu Cang Chai)

Mu Cang Chai is a standing-out paradise for its stunning rice terraces which have done a big draw to nature lovers & photographers in recent years.The rice terraces are scattered everywhere in Mu Cang Chai mountainsides, however, the places for the best landscapes of stepped rice fields in Mu Cang Chai are vividly beautiful in La Pan Tan, Cu Che Nha & Ze Xu Phinh communes.What a big miss not to capture the magnificence of gorgeous rice terraces in one of those communes when you travel to Mu Cang Chai.

Trekking experience Mu Cang Chai

5.Take part in off-the-beaten-path trekking routes in Mu Cang Chai.

Mu Cang Chai is a mountainous district with high mountains so climate & landscapes are brilliant for trekking activities. Non- touristic & untouched trekking routes fascinated our adventure trekkers very much whenever they did their Mu Cang Chai trekking tours with us. The treks on buffalo trails along mountainsides offer visitors beautiful view down the valley of rice terraces & gentle streams, they will have chances to interact with friendly local ethnics living in remote villages & get a good sense of their daily life as well as their rich cultures. If you are the nature lovers interested in trekking experiences & authentic local cultures, we definitely recommend you a try with trekking routes in Mu Cang Chai, an off-the- beaten track trekking destination in Vietnam.

Trekking to local villages in Mu Cang Chai

Trekking routes to admire local farmings on rice terraces

6.Homestay & meals of authentic local dishes with local ethnics.

For a good insight of local cultures, homestaying with local ethnics’ families will be an awesome experience to try in your trip to Vietnam.Some homestays are set up following Community Based Tourism (CBT) program which supports local ethnics with consultancy & essential trainings such as berths setting up with curtains on stilted houses, western toilets & barthrooms, service styles as well as local home-cooked dishes added to the menus.Normally, local host will have the meals with you & cheer you up with rice wines & happy talks why you stay with them.With those standards, you will have a realy comfortable stay & taste authentic local dishes – making your trip of unforgetable experiences.If doing Mu Cang Chai trekking tour with us, homestaying in CBT’s stilted houses will be a part of your activities in Muong Lo valley, La Pan Tan commnue or in Kim Noi village.

Meals at the homestay Mu Cang Chai

Meals with the host drinking rice wine at the homestay Mu Cang Chai

7.Check-in Mam Xoi Hill, the iconic symbol of rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai.

Mam Xoi Hill (Sticky Rice Tray Hill) is a famous attraction in Mu Cang Chai, the symbolic image of Mu Cang Chai rice terraces’ beauty.The whole hill is slopping down to make stepped rice fields centered by a round shaped field, all look like a tray of sticky rice.The golden fields will turn even more vivid on sunny days, making it a wonderful site for photography. Your trip to Cang Chai will be uncompleted without doing a visit to Mam Xoi hill, top thing to do in Mu Cang Chai

Things to do in MU Cang Chai

Mam Xoi Hill in harvest time

8.Immense yourselves to Mong Ngua ( Horseshoe) fields of stunning rice terraces in Sang Nhu village.

The second top must-see site in Mu Cang Chai after Mam Xoi Hill is Sang Nhu viewpoint.The rice fields at Sang Nhu deserve to be called the man-made world wonder where the colorful, curvy green and golden patches of rice fields blend so harmoniously with each other. The most beautiful field at Sang Nhu is the Horseshoe Hill where the terraced rice fields are shaped like a horseshoe. Sang Nhu Viewpoint becomes most worthy for photo taking especially in sunset and in sunny days.

Horseshoe rice terraces – Mu Cang Chai

When is the ideal time to visit Mu Cang Chai?

If you love to captivate the charm of rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai, the ideal time is between May & October including falling-water time (the terraces are like broken mirrors down the hills reflecting the sunlight), growing rice time of pristine green rice terraces and golden rice time when stepped fileds change its green to golden colors featuring its fullest beauty.

Those are also the time when the fields become full of life as H’Mong farmers in their colorful attire doing farm work (ploughing with water buffalos or harvesting with sickles).Children also take part in the process or play around waiting for their parents in the hillsides.Sometimes, you see ethnic mothers using a cloth as a cradle to carry their infants on their back while harvesting the rice.Truely impressive pictures of rice terraces & local daily life you will have in Mu Cang Chai trekking exploration.

We have been to Mu Cang Chai on different times of the year and always love its untouched landscapes & friendly local ethnics of their rich cultures.Mu Cang Chai adventure treks on off-the-beaten- path trekking routes to admire the landscapes & authentic villages are so great that we would love to recommend those adventure experiences to nature & adventure lovers doing trips to Vietnam.

Rice terraces in La Pan Tan - Mu Cang Chai

Suggested travel itineraries to explore Nghia Lo – Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai region.

Travel program 1 : Hanoi visit Nghia Lo, Tu Le & Mu Cang Chai – Hanoi 3 days/ 2nights

Day 1 : Hanoi to Nghia Lo town ( 5 hour car transfer). Cycle or walk around local villages in Muong Lo valley. Overnight in Nghia Lo.

Day 2 : Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai, passing imposing Khau Pha Pass & Tu Le town.Embark on scenic treks around La Pan Tan commune – the home of many impressive rice terraces & nice local villages.Homestay or hotel overnight in Mu Cang Chai.

Day 3 : Adventure treks along mountainsides of Cu Che Nha commune – the famous spot of Mu Cang Chai stepped fields, transfer to Tu Le town for lunch & shopping in local market, then drive back to Hanoi.

Muong Lo valley- VN

Pristine Muong Lo valley – Nghia Lo

Travel program 2 : Hanoi – Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai – Tu Le – Hanoi tour 4 day/3 night .

Day 1 : Hanoi- Nghia Lo town.Walking or biking to visit local villages of Thai & Muong tribes in Muong Lo valley.Overnight in Nghia Lo.

Day 2: Nghia Lo town- Mu Cang Chai trekking tour to La Pan Tan commune – the area of many majestic landscapes of rice terraces & picturesque villages.Overnight in Mu Cang Chai.

Day 3: Mu Cang Chai trekking tour to Cu Che Nha & Lim Mong communes for amazing captivation of rice terraces & remote ethnic villages of H’Mong.Overnight in Tu Le town.

Day 4: Tu Le shopping local products, then pleasantly car transfer back to Hanoi (B, L)

Rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai - VN

Some travel tips for your Nghia Lo -Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai exploration.

1. Mu Cang Chai is 300 km far from Hanoi on winding & steep mountain roads so it takes quite a long time to drive.For a relaxed trip of memorable experiences, Mu Cang Chai should be done in 3-4 day travel itineraries. Far to reach but you can expect untouched natural landscapes, less touristic and really authentic local cultures.

2.If doing your Mu Cang Chai adventure on motorbike, make sure that you are skilful at driving and drive carefully due to steep & curving passes.Also, it’s advisable not to drive the motorbike at night.

3.Check the weather forecast to make sure of nice weather. If storms influenced or raining a lot, it may taking places with constant landslides en routes – especially in Khau Pha Pass.If things happened, it might take time (sometimes a few days) to solve, as the result, your trip could not continue.

4.When taking photos of locals, you should ask for their permision in advance.

5.Prepare good trekking shoes & warm clothes along because the temperature in MU Cang Chai is normally lower than the low lands.

6.Mu Cang Chai is in another side of Hoang Lien mountain range (another side is Sapa), it will be good to connect Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai with exploration to Bac Ha market & Sapa if you have more days (4-5 days).Please, view this 4 day tour package Mu Cang Chai & Sapa.

Mu Cang Chai - Vietnam

Explore Mu Cang Chai with Golden Holiday Travel

Above are our local share of Mua Cang Chai rice terraces & top 8 things to do in Mu Cang Chai, hopefully it could be a good reference for you.Are you thrilled to visit Mu Cang Chai to see the magnificent terraced rice fields? Let Golden Holiday Travel arrange your tour to this paradise right now or send your request to our email: or contact us +84.988451530 (viber, whatsapp) to get your trip tailor-made just for you. See our related tour to Mu Cang Chai : Sapa – Mu Cang Chai trekking tour – 4 days

Ban Vu Dinh

Start working in travel industry in Vietnam from 2003, I had the great chance to learn and see the change as well as the development of tourism in our country. After a few years working in different positions in some well-known international travel companies, together with some co-founders, we found Golden Holiday Travel in 2012 basing on our passion and knowledge with the dream to show tourists around the globe more about Vietnam’s beautiful attractions and to be the travellers’ best local partner for their enjoyable Vietnam holidays of unforgetable memory.

Hope this personsal blog do some help for your Vietnam trip plans ! Any questions or support you need, feel free to let me know.....

See you soon in Vietnam !

Ban Vu Dinh

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