Mu Cang Chai is a rural district of Yen Bai province, in the northeastern region of Vietnam. From Hanoi, you follow the National Road 32, after 290km you arrive at Mu Cang Chai. The popular attraction of Mu Cang Chai lies in its terraced rice fields which are primarily situated in the district’s Che Cu Nha, La Pan Tan and De Zu Phinh villages. These imposing fields draw a large number of both Vietnamese and foreign travelers who love to take pictures of and indulge themselves in the amazing beauty of the national heritage site.
There are three most beautiful time to take the great photo of breathtaking terrace rice field in Mu Cang Chai: at the beginning of the crop, in the middle of the crop with amazing green terrace rice field and around the harvest time with beautiful golden terrace rice field.
There is only one crop per year in Mu Cang Chai and it takes place from June to October. In June, when the first summer shower coming to the North of Vietnam, hill tribe people in Mu Cang Chai all come to their field for preparing the new crop of rice. As all the field in Mu Cang Chai are terrace rice field so they all need to supply water from the top terrace of the field, and water from there just keep coming from top to the bottom of the rice field, and local people call this “falling water reason”. In this season, you will see allots of activities of people working on the field, from plough to harrow on the field with water buffalo, replanting rice. Normally they work in group with very beautiful and colorful clothes of hill tribe woman, and it can be very interesting for very good photo shooting on the field in this period.
The middle of the crop will be from June to middle of September. During this time, the whole tremendous terrace rice field in Mu Cang Chai will be covered by lovely and peaceful carpet of rice. The color of green on the field even can cool you down in the hot summer sun. You will not see much local people activities on the field in this season, but the greenness of the rice field can be very good compensation.
In the harvest time of the rice crop, travelers take the visit to Mu Cang Chai from late September to early October to see and take photographs of waves of terraced rice fields, as this is when the fields turn brilliant yellow and shine in their fullest beauty. This is also the time when the fields become full of life as Mong ethnic minority farmers in their traditional attire harvest the ripe rice grains, and shoulder bags of the fruit home through mountains and hills as well as over swinging suspension bridges. It is normal to see ethnic minority mothers use cloth as a cradle to carry their infants on their back when they are harvesting paddy in the fields in the northwest of Vietnam. Children of the farmers run here and there in the fields, chatting with their parents and giggling in tune with the joy of their parents during the harvest season.
It is in late harvest season that visitors can distinguish the atmosphere of terraced fields in the rice harvest season and off the season. The real charm of yellow fields and the fields without paddy, and above all the type of soil and the attempts of the farmers to produce paddy, are most obvious at this time. Great time to collect beautiful pictures!
Believe me! My experience shows that it is in Mu Cang Chai that you can see more beautiful terraced rice fields than Hoang Su Phi in the mountainous province of Ha Giang and other sites that have become famous for terraced rice fields and captured the great interest of travelers near and far.
There in Mu Cang Chai, terraced rice fields rise and fall around hillsides and mountainsides as well as streams and rivers, making them look like giant yellow staircases for people to step from earth to heaven. Terraced rice fields have been not only a source of food and income for the Mong people; they are an intrinsic part of their culture and Mu Cang Chai, which is itself a quiet town on the bank of the Nam River.
Fashioned over many centuries, the yellow terraced fields are now a symbol of the mountainous district and make it one of the top destinations for those who seek to look into the life of ethnic minority groups in the countryside and the natural surroundings… Click to see Mu Cang Chai Terraced Rice Fields Photography Tour Program.