Autumn has arrived and brought the best season in the northwestern region. The forests, mountains and terraced rice fields are covered with a new brilliant bright yellow coat.
There are thousands of square kilometres of terraced rice fields in the northwestern region including magnificent terraced rice fields in Mù Cang Chải (Yên Bái Province), Hoàng Su Phì (Hà Giang Province) and Sa Pa (Lào Cai Province), which are loved by both domestic and foreign tourists.
Those who have been to the region in this season are eager to return while those who have never been will have an incredible experience ahead of them.
Early September until the end of October is the best time to seek out the beautiful yellow colour of the northwest.
Terraced fields are used to grow rice on sloped spaces by various ethnic groups.
To plant water rice on mountains, locals have to exploit mountains, make even spaces on the slope and make canals to bring water from higher peak to the spaces.
Yellow season is the golden time for photographers to hunt photos in northwest region. Photo taken in Tú Lệ Commune, Văn Chấn District, Yên Bái Province. — VNS Photo Lê Thị Hương Giang
The beauty of the landscape and local people always impress tourists.
The floating clouds on terrace rice fields are often covered with a blanket of fog or white smoke in the mountains of Yên Bái, Lào Cai and Hà Giang.
Don’t miss places with the most spectacular terrace rice fields!
Mù Cang Chải District (Yên Bái Province)
Mù Cang Chải is always the first name tourists think of for autumn. To reach the area, you pass Khau Phạ Pass, one of the four most beautiful passes in the north, according to experienced travellers.
Ripe rice in Mù Cang Chải District, Yên Bái Province. — VNS Photo Lê Thị Hương Giang
Rice matures in the area from the end of August to early October. The highest harvest season will be between September 15 and 25, when rice turns yellow.
Local authorities this year host the annual Terrace Rice Fields Festival between August 29 and October 18 with various activities like flying over the landscape with helicopters and paragliding, folk games, a marathon and photo exhibition. The annual Mông Ethnic Group’s Flute Festival gathers hundreds of Mông men to make and perform flutes.
There are two ways to explore Mù Cang Chải:
Take a bus from Hà Nội’s Mỹ Đình Bus Station to Mù Cang Chải Bus Station (some VNĐ250,000/person). Then rent a bike to go here and there.
Take a bus from Hà Nội to Nghĩa Lộ Town (some VNĐ160,000/person), then rent a car or a bike to travel from Nghĩa Lộ to Mù Cang Chải, which is 100km away. Tourists will pass two beauty spots namely Tú Lệ Commune and Khau Phạ Pass.
Tourists can also visit villages of La Pán Tẩn, Chế Cu Nha and Dế Xu Phình in the area to experience locals’ lifestyle.
Visitors are advised to book rooms 20 days or even a month before departure.
Y Tý Commune, Bát Xát District, Lào Cai Province
September is also a golden time in Y Tý Commune.
Ripe rice in Y Tý Commune, Bát Sát District, Lào Cai Province. — VNS Photo Lê Thị Hương Giang
The yellow season always comes earlier here than elsewhere, between August 25 till the end of September.
In Y Tý, people will not find yellow rice in mass fields like in Mù Cang Chải but also scattered along the route from Sa Pa – Sàng Ma Sáo – Mường Hum – Y Tý – Khu Chu Lìn. That’s why the most suitable vehicle for this route is a motorbike.
The route from Hà Nội to Y Tý is divided into two stages. From Hà Nội to Sa Pa by bus (some VNĐ260,000/person) and from Sa Pa to Y Tý by bike (some VNĐ100,000/bike). On the 100km road from Sa Pa to Y Tý, tourists will pass Ô Quý Hồ Pass.
A house on a terraced rice field in Y Tý Commune, Bát Xát District, Lào Cai Province. — VNS Photo Lê Thị Hương Giang
Villages in Y Tý worth visiting include Choản Thèn, Hồng Ngài, and Ngải Thầu Thượng.
Hoàng Su Phì District (Hà Giang Province)
Hoàng Su Phì District is located at the foot of the Tây Côn Lĩnh Mountain range, which hosts the most beautiful terraced rice fields in Việt Nam.
Rice here turns yellow between September and October, rather late compared to other places.
The road to Hoàng Su Phì is rather dangerous, so motorbike drivers need to be careful.
The curving route along passes, bordered with terraced rice fields and the fragrance of matured rice, can still be quite relaxing.
The route from Hà Nội to Hoàng Su Phì can be divided into two stages: Hà Nội – Hà Giang by bus (VNĐ250,000/person), then rent a bike from Hà Giang City (some VNĐ150,000/bike) to go to Bắc Quang – Tân Quang and then Hoàng Su Phì, the total route is 70km.
The communes hosting the most beautiful terraced rice fields include Bản Luốc, Sán Sả Hồ, Bản Nùng and Hồ Thầu. — VNS
Locals work on a terraced rice field in Mù Cang Chải District, Yên Bái Province. — VNS Photo Lê Thị Hương Giang