We’ll show you the things to do in Mu Cang Chai along the way from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai.
1. Try sticky rice and Com (green rice) in Tu Le
Tu Le commune is located at Van Chan District, about 35 kilometers away from Mu Cang Chai following highway 32. You will know that you have arrived at Tu Le when a vast valley of rice fields, crisscrossed by the freshwater streams come into your sight. If you look closely, here and there on the valley are the idyllic stilt houses’ grey roofs of Thai villages.
Not just the beautiful rice fields, Tu Le is also famous for food specialties like sticky rice and Com (green rice). The reason for this popularity is that the rice grown in Tu Le has a pleasant fragrance which is not lost even when the rice is cooked. Come to Tu Le, you can find quite a number of restaurants that have this dish.
If you have more time budget, check out the hot spring in Chao Village which is about 1 kilometer from the town. At this hot spring you can witness a beautiful tradition practice of Thai women – naked bathing after a hard working day.
However, maintain a distance while taking pictures to not make the locals uncomfortable.
2. Ride on Khau Pha Pass – one of the most beautiful passes in Vietnam
Literally called ‘the sky’s horn’, Khau Pha Pass is one of the most beautiful and dangerous passes in north Vietnam.
Located right after Tu Le town, Khau Pha is more than 30 kilometers long, considered as the most dangerous pass on national highway 32.
Riding on this pass, either by motorbike or car, you’ll have the chance to see the magnificent sceneries of nature. Like the name of the pass describes, if you’re lucky enough you might see the top of the pass laden with dense fogs – looking like a horn rising through the sea of clouds. If you’re riding on this pass at early hours of day, you might even have to turn on the head light for better vision and to warn people on the opposite direction.
The landscape along the pass even gets more beautiful when the sunlight casts down. Remember to bring your best camera for some eye-popping road trip’s pictures.
3. Che Cu Nha – highest mountain hill with terraced rice fields
At Che Cu Nha, prepare for the very steep uphill slopes and full views of the terraced rice fields. Che Cu Nha is a remote commune located about 20 kilometers away from Mu Cang Chai Vietnam. The road up to terraced rice fields’ viewpoint is only 2 kilometers but very steep and quite dangerous if you go by motorbike. When you get to the top, the views are absolutely rewarding, especially in sunny days. From the viewpoint, you can take in the panoramic scene of the surrounding mountains whose whole bodies are cultivated into terraced rice fields.
4. Admire the magnificence of the terraced rice fields in La Pan Tan
The main highlight of Mu Cang Chai is the terraced rice fields in Ta Pan Tan, located about 30 kilometers from Mu Cang Chai and 5 kilometers from Nga Ba Kim town. La Pan Tan’s terraced rice fields have been ranked as one of the most beautiful on Earth. In 2007, fields in La Pan Tan together with fields in Che Cu Nha and De Xu Phinh has been designated as national heritage.
The way leading to the viewpoint is known for its steepness. From Nga Ba Kim town, search for this road sign and follow the road and turn right at the first T-junction for La Pan Tan Viewpoint where you can enjoy the whole panoramic of golden terraced rice fields on all the mountain hills.
Yet, the most beautiful rice field hill in La Pan Tan is located away from La Pan Tan Viewpoint about 6 kilometers and only 1 kilometer from Ba Nha Bridge. It’s the legendary Mam Xoi Hill (Sticky Rice Tray Hill). Your Mu Cang Chai Trip is uncompleted without visit this site.
The reason this hill is so famous is that the whole hill is made into terraces therefore the top of the hill is a round shape like a tray of sticky rice. The golden field will turn even more vivid in sunny days, making it a wonderful site for photography.
At Ba Nha Bridge, there’re always a group of local xe om offering visitors a round trip to Mam Xoi Hill for a cost of about 50,000VND. There is also a H’mong costume rental service for those who want to dress up as H’mong people and pose for the gorgeous background.
5. Soak up the cultural atmosphere at Kim Noi Village
Continue to Mu Cang Chai town, once you have arrived, you’ll feel in this place a true sense of a highland town. Mu Cang Chai town lies along the river, filled with stores, restaurants and stalls. A small market is gathered near the town’s bridge over the river which leads to the beautiful path on the left running in parallel with the river which leads to the famous Kim Noi Village.
Kim Noi is a Thai village, lying at the end of the vast rice fields, having its back facing against the mountains. All the houses are stilt houses, made by wooden, with traditional Thai architecture. The village is also famous for homestay service and weekend’s cultural activities travelers can join like bonfire and traditional Thai dancing.
Homestaying with a Thai family host is a must when visit Kim Noi, you can enjoy the cultural space and the daily life in a Thai house. The host family will also serve a Thai traditional meal if you request.
If you have more time budget, hike up the H’mong villages on nearby mountains to enjoy interacting with the ethnic people.
6. See Horseshoe (Mong Ngua) Field at Sang Nhu village
Sang Nhu Viewpoint is just 2 kilometers from Mu Cang Chai Town, the second top must-see site in Mu Cang Chai after Mam Xoi Hill. 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 terraces of the rice fields are shaped like a horseshoe. Sang Nhu Viewpoint becomes most worthy for photo taking especially in sunset and in sunny days.
7. Visit Lim Thai and Lim Mong Village on the way back
On your way back from Mu Cang Chai, stop to admire the beautiful sceneries at Lim Mong village. Before you riding up the hill to visit Lim Mong village – a H’mong community, you’ll get to a vast green valley where Lim Thai – a Thai village occupies. Along the way are the very typical Thai stilt houses. So a trip to Lim Mong will offer you insights into the daily life of two ethnic groups in Vietnam – H’mong people and Thai people.
The lower stream is a great place to have a small picnic while admiring the nature around you.
8. Off-beaten track to Mu Cang Chai’s best waterfalls
Mu Cang Chai Vietnam doesn’t only have terraced rice fields, it also has beautiful and dreamy waterfalls.
Pu Nhu Waterfall is located at Pu Nhu village, about10 kilometers away from Mu Cang Chai town. The fall is 20 meter high with an impressive rock setting. The fall confluence of many streams and watersheds from Than Uyen, Lai Chai. Pu Nhu fall is a great place to enjoy picnicking.
Mo (Dream) Waterfall is the more famous waterfall in Mu Cang Chai – located in between two cliffs Na Hang A and Na Hang B, belonged to Mo De commune. To get to Mo Waterfall’s foot, you’ll have to trek for about 30 minutes and to get to the 4th level of the fall, trek up to the top of the fall for the great view. The waterfall is most beautiful in rainy season with its full volume of water dropping down on the height of about 40 meters. On the top level, you will have chance to take in the wonderful views of nature.