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Mu Cang Chai is a small mountain town located in the western part of Yen Bai province, about 300km from Hanoi. Travelling to Mu Cang Chai, visitors will be immersed in the golden colour of sunshine and rice. No need to go deep into every small village of the Mong people. Because right on the highway, visitors can also see the “golden sea” of rice rolling in the middle of the vast sky.

The entire Mu Cang Chai district has 2,200ha of terraced fields, of which 500ha of terraced fields in the three communes of La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and De Xu Phinh. They have been recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as one of the scenic spots. The most unique in the first place in Vietnam and ranked as a national monument.

Best time to visit

Mu Cang Chai tourism has 2 beautiful seasons that you can arrange the time to visit, the other seasons to Mu Cang Chai are nothing too special.

Between September and mid-October is the season when the rice is ripe, at this time, the entire Mu Cang Chai will be golden with a colour of rice, beautiful weather, convenient to visit here.

Around May-June is the pouring season, when summer rains start to pour water down the mountains, water is led from the mountains into the terraced fields. Water overflows into the fields, making the arid soil softer and expanding, allowing farmers to transplant rice.

This is also the time when people start to plough to prepare for a new crop. Therefore, in the terraced fields in the Northern mountainous areas, rice can only grow one crop. The gleaming steps of water in the afternoon sun create a beauty that makes many visitors surprised.

Check the below table for the general idea of Mu Cang Chai weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 19.9 15.2 11.7
Feb 21.5 17.8 15.1
Mar 24.3 21.2 18.7
Apr 27.8 24.2 21.2
May 32.4 27.8 24.1
Jun 32.7 28.3 25
Jul 32.3 27.7 24.8
Aug 32.6 27.6 24.4
Sep 31.3 26.5 23.6
Oct 29.6 24 20.4
Nov 25.5 21.4 18.7
Dec 20.2 15.8 12.7

Mu Cang Chai’s current weather and 7-day forecast


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.

1. Sa Ren village – Nghia Lo Town

Nghia Lo is not really a must-see attraction in Yen Bai but a necessary stop for the night before going off to discover Mu Cang Chai. There are quite a number of ethnic villages that offer homestay service in Nghia Lo, one of them is Sa Ren village which is praised for its authenticity of a Thai community. Staying at Sa Ren, travelers will enjoy the experiences of living, eating, working and living in a cultural space with local people.

You’ll spend the night in a Thai traditional stilt house which is equipped with modernity to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.

2. Hua Khat Village – Mu Cang Chai Ecolodge

This luxury accommodation is nested away from all the hustle and bustling life of city life. Mu Cang Chai Ecolodge is situated on a hill at Hua Khat village, and about 30 kilometers from Mu Cang Chai town, with an excellent location on a hilltop surrounded by green trees and the idyllic terraced rice fields. This ecolodge is recommended for visitors who wish to stay close to nature and enjoy the local authentic way of life. This accommodation is also ideal for couples and honeymoon vacation.

Activities you can do around: trekking, riding motorbike, photo-shooting, fishing, meditating. The staff here are friendly and they do promote ecotourism by planting flowers and trees in the surrounding area, building the lodges by using local architecture and materials.

1. Tu Le sticky rice with chicken

Tu Le glutinous sticky rice is a famous specialty of Mu Cang Chai Vietnam. Tu Le rice is planted at Muong Lo field, famous for its special aroma. When cooked, the rice taste sweet and heavenly fragrance. Tu Le sticky rice is often eaten with grilled chicken or pork. Sesame will enhance the taste and aroma of the sticky rice even more, so a plate of roasted sesame always accompanies this dish.

2. Tu Le Com (green rice)

Like the sticky rice, Com or green rice made in Tu Le is well-known to eaters across the country. The rice grains in Tu Le are big, white and almost transparent, when green rice made with the grains has a sweet taste and light fragrance. The dish requires a meticulous process of making which the locals are so dedicated and careful in each step.
During the harvest season, you can find green rice sold by the locals on the roadside or in local markets and restaurants.

3. Tao Meo

Tao Meo or Meo apple is the common fruit in northwest Vietnam and quite well-known across the country for its health beneficial characteristics (like treating stomach pains, high blood pressure and even heart-related sicknesses). Meo apple is small, planted mostly in mountainous region and can be found in Mu Cang Chai between September and October. The apple tastes sour and lightly bitter which makes Tao Meo very special fruit to try in your trip to Mu Cang Chai.

4. Salmon

Salmon fishes are available in Khau Pha restaurant which is located about 7 kilometers from Khau Pha pass on the direction to Tu Le. This restaurant has its own salmon farm with a number of more than 10000 salmon fishes which are imported from Europe and grown with European standards. There are various dishes that can be made with the salmon, if you go with a large group, you can have a big hotpot for the lunch.

5. Five-colored sticky rice

The sticky rice is made from glutinous rice but the colors are made from natural ingredients. There will be five different colors including green, yellow, red, purple and white. Due to different ingredients, the fragrances of each colored sticky rice will be different, too. You can find this dish most frequently at fair markets.

Getting to Mu Cang Chai

Travel By Private Car

Start from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai about 300km, if you move from early morning, until late afternoon you can arrive. However, few people run straight, but often choose one of the two options to stop at Sapa or Nghia Lo.

From Hanoi, if you want to go around Sapa first, you just follow the highway Hanoi – Lao Cai and go straight to Sapa. Stay here for 1 night and then the next day from Sapa, you will pass O Quy Ho Pass to Tan Uyen, Than Uyen and stop at Mu Cang Chai. If you go in the direction of Nghia Lo, you can start around early afternoon, in the evening up to Nghia Lo to rest and then leisurely go up to Mu Cang Chai.

Travel By Motorbike

Motorbikes cannot go to the expressway, so please go in the direction of highway 32 to Nghia Lo. From Hanoi, go in the direction of Trung Ha bridge through Thanh Thuy, Thanh Son, Tan Son and go straight to Nghia Lo Town, a distance of about 180km. About 4-5 hours, you will be here, if you like exploring Nghia Lo, go from the morning.

Public Transport

•    Hanoi – Yen Bai

From Hanoi, you can choose to take the night bus to Lai Chau (car to route QL32, highway bus Hanoi – Lao Cai will not come here) or choose some limousines to go directly to Mu Cang Chai during the day

•    From Yen Bai

If you do not want to take the night bus to Mu Cang Chai. You can choose another option which is to take a bus from Hanoi to Yen Bai city, from here to continue to take the bus to Mu Cang Chai. The total travel time is about the same and more trips can be travelled during the day

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via

Travel In Mu Cang Chai

Rent Motorcycles

If you use a bus to get to Mu Cang Chai, you can choose to rent a motorbike right in the town for a means of transportation. Usually, hotels and motels currently provide car rental services, you can rent them for convenience.

Contact us to get more information


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