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Mu Cang Chai Travel guide – Vietnam

Mu Cang Chai is recognized as one of the most unique scenes in Vietnam. It also is listed in Vietnam’s national landscape monument. Well known with the ripe rice terrace field, this destination is a favorite place for not only Vietnamese but also for visitors all over the world.

Mu Cang Chai Travel


Mu Cang Chai is one of the mountain districts of Yen Bai province. It is nearby Van Ban District in the North which belongs to Lao Cai province. Forward to the South, Mu Cang Chai is contiguous with Muong La district of Son La province. To reach Mu Cang Chai district, you have to go through Khau Pha pass – one of the four great peaks of the Northwest Pass.

Mu Cang Chai Travel

Best time to visit Mu Cang Chai

Mu Cang Chai Travel has 2 great seasons: the growing rice season and the ripe rice season.

May-June: the season of growing rice

When the summer rains begin to pour water down the mountains, the water is led from the mountains into the terraced fields. Water running into the fields, making the arid soil become softer so that people could transplant rice. This is also the time when people start to plow the fields to prepare for a new crop. Therefore, in the northern mountainous terraces, rice can only be grown in one crop.

Mu Cang Chai Travel

September, October: ripe rice season

Every September and October every year: the rice is ripe, dyed throughout the Northwest mountainous region in bright colors. At this time, all of Mu Cang Chai will be bright yellow with a color of rice. The weather is nice and convenient to visit here.

Mu Cang Chai Travel

How to get to Mu Cang Chai from Hanoi?

You will need at least 2.5 days and ideally 3 days to visit Mu Cang Chai from Hanoi. Transportation means available are train, bus, and motorbike:

By Train:

The Hanoi – Lao Cai train will stop and drop you off at Yen Bai railway station, from there you will have to catch a bus to Mu Cang Chai for a cost of about 100,000VND.

By Bus:

Buses to Yen Bai or Nghia Lo are available at My Dinh and Giap Bat bus stations. At Yen Bai or Nghia Lo, take a local bus to Nghia Lo and Mu Cang Chai or Mu Cang Chai.

By motorbike:

  • Via Son Tay, Trung Ha, and Tam Nong bridges keep along the Red River bank and go to Van Phu and Yen Bai bridges.
  • Thang Long Bridge, NH2, Phuc Yen, Viet Tri, Doan Hung, straight QL70 is to Yen Bai (easiest to go, nearest).

*From Sapa

There are buses from Sapa to Mu Cang Chai Vietnam available and takes about 5 hours for a distance of about 160 kilometers.

Sapa Bus station – O Quy Ho village – Thac Bac – Cau May – O Quy Ho pass – Son Binh – Huoi Ke – Muong Khoa – Tan Uyen district (Lai Chau province) – – Than Uyen district (Lai Chau province) – Mu Cang Chai district – Mu Cang Chai bus station (last stop).

Vehicles in Mu Cang Chai

Traveling in Mu Cang Chai by a motorbike is most convenient. The cost is from 100k-200k / day depending on the time when you travel. If you travel to Mu Cang Chai in the ripe rice season, it is often more expensive to rent a car.

Where to visit in Mu Cang Chai?

Tu Le rice terrace

Considered a tourist destination not to be missed when traveling to Mu Cang Chai. Coming here, you will admire the terraced fields stretching beautiful yellow and green. Besides, visiting Lung Thai and Lung Mong villages are a great activity. It is about 3 km away. You can see the stilt houses on both sides of the road.

Khau Pha pass

As one of the four great peaks of the pass in the North and the longest pass with an altitude of over 40km. On the Khau Pha pass, there is often cloud cover to the sky. Pass bend the amount of zigzag around the identical scallops mountain range.

Thai Village

Cross the bridge in the center of the district and turn left for about 1km to reach Thai village. There is a small, peaceful village in the middle of the valley, leaning against the mountain.

Coming here, you can enjoy Thai specialties and rest at the stilt houses. Besides, you can have a chance to join in social exchanges and bonfires.

mu Cang Chai Travel

What to eat in Mu Cang Chai?

1. Tu Le sticky rice with chicken

Tu Le glutinous sticky rice is a famous specialty of Mu Cang Chai Vietnam. The rice is planted at the Muong Lo field, famous for its special aroma. When cooked, the rice taste sweet and heavenly fragrance. 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.

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 a 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.

táo mèo khô sapa

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 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.

Please visit Vietnam tours for taking Mu Cang Chai travel itineraries.

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