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phuongdung123 (Offline)
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Smile Travel experience to Mu Cang Chai - 11-02-2017, 08:20 AM

Mu Cang Chai is a highland district of Yen Bai province, borders Van Ban district of Lao Cai province to the north, Muong La district of Son La province to the south, Than Uyen district of Lai Chau province to the west and Van Chan district of Yen Bai to the east. Mu Cang Chai is located at the foot of the Hoang Lien Mountains, at an altitude of 1,000 m above sea level.

To reach Mu Cang Chai district, go through Khau Pha pass - one of the four Great Passes of Vietnam Northwest region. Mu Cang Chai is about 280km from Hanoi and welcome 9.000 people from all over the country to visit every year.

When to go?

Mu Cang Chai has two beautiful seasons that you can arrange time to visit.

Between September and mid October is the season of amazing terraced paddy rice fields, at this time Mu Cang Chai will be changed into a bright yellow by harvest rice. The beautiful weather is also make convenient to visit. The most appropriate time is from mid September to 10 October every year, before this time the green rice, after about this is almost harvested.

From May and June is time for getting water into the field as the summer rain began to pour water down the mountains, then flowing into the terraced fields and making the arid soil softer and porous for transplant easily.

This is also the time when farmers start plowing to prepare for a new crop. Therefore, rice can only grow one crop in the mountainous terraced fields. The ladder of terraced field mirror the sunshine in the afternoon to create a beauty landscape that surprised many visitors.

How to get there?

From Hanoi, you can go take motorbike or bus to reach this upland town of Mu Cang Chai. Nowaday Hanoi - Lao Cai highway has been completed and you have a lot of options to go through Mu Cang Chai by bus.

If travelling by bus, you can choose to rent a motorbike after reaching there from motorcycle rental services in the town (from 150.000 VND) to wander around Mu Cang Chai Township and some neighboring communes to take photos and enjoy the stunning terraced paddy fields.

You can get further assistance from your hotel or motel, or you can also call for motorbike rental shop of Huấn Tuân Tuyến at 0166 5684574.

Consider some of the following bus firms that offer Hanoi-Mu Cang Chai ride:

1. Hung Thanh bus. Add: 162B Tran Quang Khai – Hanoi city, tel: +8443.9274.285. Leave from Hanoi at 7.45pm and arrive at

2. Hai Van bus, from My Dinh bus station (at 20 Pham Hung street – Tu Liem – Hanoi) at 7pm. Tel: +84944.82.82.82 or +8443.7223.588

3. Hoang Anh bus, from Giap Bat bus station (on Giai Phong street – Hanoi) at 5pm. Tel: +84984.971.999 or +84912.317.515

4. Anh Tu in My Dinh station, leave at 5.30pm or 6.45pm. Tel: +8498.6025.569 or +8416.9928.6488

5. Khanh Thuy leave from My Dinh at, Tel: +84988.976.321 or +8497.6652.400

Motorbike rental

Motorbike is the best choice to for a Mu Cang Chai trip, on which you can easily travel to and stop at anywhere that you feel like to, which will be constant for sure. Some highlights in this itinerary: La Pan Tan terraces, Lim Mong valley (thung lũng Lìm Mông), Khau Pha mountain pass (đèo Khau Phạ – the longest mountain pass in Northern Vietnam).

Especially, you should deeply go into La Pan Tan area. On the route, there’s a small trail along the valley, take that one and keep going. It will lead you to picturesque views (I found this place thanks to the help of a H’mong guy).

Some hotels and motels in Mu Cang Chai have motorbikes available for rent so before booking, you can ask for this in advance to prepare. You can contact with family of Tuyen Mai 01665 68 45 74 - 0962 640 931 to rent a motorbike. Also, if you do not want to drive from Ha Noi because too far you can go by car or bus to Yen Bai or Nghia Lo town and then rent motorbikes from there to Mu Cang Chai (approximately half way to go from Hanoi).

If have 2 days an a half on motorbike, there’re 2 itineraries:

Itinerary 1 (2.5 day)

Day 1

Ride to Nghia Lo (Nghĩa Lộ – a town located on the route from Hanoi-Mu Cang Chai) 190km or 120 miles from Hanoi. You should set out soon because night travelling by motorbike is not safe.

Day 2

Explore the beauty of Khau Pha mountain pass, Lim Mong valley, La Pan Tan then stay overnight in Mu Cang Chai town. Day 3: Visit the remaining attractions and back to Hanoi.

Itinerary 2 (3 day)

Day 1

Go straight to Mu Cang Chai. For th rest of the day, explore Lim Mong valley and Khau Pha pass. Overnight in Mu Cang Chai.

Day 2

Explore La Pan Tan village and stay overnight in Nghia Lo town. Don’t forget to try specialty snake near Mien Tay hotel.

Day 3

Visit Suoi Giang (Suối Giàng) then back to Hanoi in the afternoon.

Bus from Mu Cang Chai to Sapa

If you go to Sapa from Mu Cang Chai, you can contact for these bus services from Lao Cai - Mu Cang Chai and vice versa of Tuan Hue 0915560480 or Xuan Ly 01652565999. The buses are depart at 7am in Lao Cai and 9am from Mu Cang Chai Town.

Mu Cang Chai itinerary for 3 days by bus

Day 1

Get to Mu Cang Chai by bus (from the previous night) and arrive in late afternoon. You can choose to stay overnight in Tu Le (Tú Lệ) or Mu Cang Chai town for a taste of a mountain town.

Day 2

Spend all day to wander on the beautiful terraces, you should rent a motorbike to travel. The region with the most stunning terraces is La Pan Tan village (bản La Pán Tẩn), located on the route from Tu Le to Mu Cang Chai. To get there, you can rent a motorbike, or take a motortaxi (xe ôm) or bus from Tu Le or Mu Cang Chai to La Pan Tan town. And from there is a nice trek up the mountain.

Day 3

Catch a bus back to Hanoi.
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