► When to get to Mu Cang Chai
Mu Cang Chai has the mild climate with moderate temperature making every time of the year becomes favorable for travel. However, the best time to visit this place is in September and October when the rice harvest is on its peak bringing the fabulous gold color to this northern mountainous area.
► How to get there
•By motorbike: it will take about 8 hours. Thus, you should stop to take a break at Nghi Lo town then continue riding on the next day to explore the rest.
•By bus: there are a lot of buses taking the route from Hanoi to Lao Cai that stop at Mu Cang Chai like: Anh Tu, Hai Van, Hoang Anh (start at My Dinh bus station).
You should spend from 2.5 to 3 days to travel over all the spots of Mu Cang Chai.
►Mu Cang Chai’s Highlights
Khau Pha Pass
Named in the top 4 most imposing passes of Vietnam, Khau Pha is the longest one with 30km in length. To get to the pass, visitors have to drive 5 hours from Yen Bai city until reach to the road engulfed in the cloud.
The pass places in the highest mountain of Mu Cang Chai, 2,000m from the sea level therefore the temperature here is always cool. “Khau Pha” means “horn of the heaven” in the local language since the top of the pass covered by the thick fog and cloud. The mountain road has low concrete barrier, sharp bends, no warning signs, strong wind and particularly dangerous on the cloudy or snowy day due to the poor vision. Hence, these disadvantages can stop a lot of people coming here searching for adventurous experience in life. Moreover, this pass is also the place where Khau Pha hang gliding festival takes place in the spring.
Khau Pha pass
Hang gliding in Mu Cang Chai
Falling down from the height of 3,000m, the sparkling white Mo waterfall is one of the must – visit attractions in Mu Cang Chai. Lies between 2 peaks of Na Hang A and Na Hang B in Mo De commune, the beautiful cascade appears lively in the evergreen forests of the North among the colorful flowers such as red flowers of the wild banana or pink and white of the plum and apricot blossoms.
It will take 30 minutes walking to reach to the foot of the 4 – storey waterfall. One special feature is the cascade is that it doesn’t fall straight down from the top to the bottom but divided into 4 different parts .That’s why each storey has a different characteristic which brings visitors from one surprise to another. The first one is the soft white waterfall drop while the second is the small transparent lake; the third floor has the funnel – shaped and the last spreads wide like a giant curtain.
Ba Nha Bridge
12km from the centre of Mu Cang Chai, Ba Nha bridge is the favorite check – in spot of many young people. This is where travelers can stop for a trek to the outstanding “raspberry hill” in La Pan Tan commune. The way leading to the paddy field is actually a buffalo trail so it will get slippery in the rain season. If you are not a walking enthusiast, don’t worry because there is a local service offering motorbikes to carry you to the top of the terrace and back with the price of 50,000 VND.
A picture of Ba Nha bridge from above
Mam xoi (rasberry) hill
Tu Le Village
Before going to conquer the magnificent Khau Pha pass, you will stop at Tu Le commune in Van Chan district where is famous for the breathtaking landscapes and peaceful villages of Thai community. You can see the wide opening view of the yellowish and greenery paddy fields lying in a valley surrounding by the low hills and mountains of Tu le on the top of the Khau Pha pass. It is also a popular accommodation for tourists going to explore Tu Le valley. Furthermore, visitors also have a chance to taste the specialities of the local and take a fresh bath in the hot spring water.
Tu Le valley
One of the specialities of Tu Le - The 5 color sticky rice
Lim Mong Village
Closed to the foot of Khau Pha pass, in Cao Pa commune, the picturesque yellowish green terraces of Lim Mong valley come into view in the sunlight of the far north. Lim Mong village places up in the high slop through the stunning paddy fields, there the Mong people lives. They are free people who only like to live in the high region far from the other communities where sky and land converge.
When you reach to Lim Mong village, the view is absolutely spectacular between the blue sky above and the amazing terraces running down the valley. However, the road to the town is quite tricky for the first - time travelers with the sharp bends and pretty steep that can make you feel like sliding back to the foot of the mountain.
Houses of the Mong people on Lim Mong's terrace
La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nhai and Ze Xu Phinh Communes
This is the 3 best places to observe the wonderful terraced rice fields therefore in 2007, they were recognized as the national heritage of great landscapes by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism. Once entering here, people are not only immense in the vast scale of the yellow and green man – made masterpieces curving in the mountains but also experience the unique culture of the ethnic minority - the Black H’Mong.
The rice golden terraces in Lan Pan Tau
The paddy fields in Che Cu Nhai
Tourists are playing is the terrace of Ze Xu Phinh