Every year in northwest Vietnam, the locals plant their rice, and in Autumn, when the weather is perfect with clear blue skies and sunshine illuminating the mountains, it is the ideal time to admire the stunning golden terraced rice fields.
|Many travelers choose to paraglide to see My Cang Chai from a bird’s eye view. Photo: Phuong Di Dau|
Many people also enjoy observing the local inhabitants working in the fields, as they harvest, pack, and bring home the rice. Once people experience the breathtaking beauty of these views, it becomes difficult for them to leave.
And each year, when autumn arrives, they may find themselves wanting to return to the mountains.
Terraced rice fields are a traditional method of cultivating crops on sloping mountainsides, and they have been adopted by various ethnic minorities in the northwest region for centuries. These terraced fields also serve as beautiful man-made landscapes. As the harvest season approaches, The Hanoi Times highlights some of the best locations to admire and photograph the spectacular scenery.
Tu Le Valley, Van Chan Commune, Yen Bai Province
|The stunning Tu Le Village. Photo: Zing News|
The terraced fields in Yen Bai province exhibit their beauty throughout the year. Visitors can witness glistening ponds in March, followed by the planting of rice seedlings in April and May. From May onwards, the hills are green until early September, when the fields turn yellow with ripe rice. During the harvest in October, the golden rice fields stand out against the lush green forests, creating a magnificent scene in northern Vietnam.
Sapa Town, Lao Cai Province
|The scenery of Sapa Town from a cable car window. Photo: Chu Nga|
Sapa is a highly popular tourist destination in Vietnam, known for its breathtaking rice terraces. The rice fields in this ancient town have been cultivated by ethnic minorities such as the H’Mong, Dao, Tay, and Ha Nhi for generations. From a distance, these beautiful terraces resemble a ladder ascending to the sky. The expansive rice fields not only provide sustenance for the locals but also offer awe-inspiring views for travelers, especially when viewed from the cable cars ascending Fansipan Mountain.
Hoang Su Phi Commune, Ha Giang Province
|The fairytale scenery of Hoang Su Phi mountain in autumn. Photo: Ivivu|
Located approximately 112 kilometers from Ha Giang City, Hoang Su Phi is renowned for its magnificent landscape and traditional terraced rice fields, which have been recognized as a national heritage. The most stunning rice terraces can be found along the road between Hoang Su Phi and Xi Man communes.
Khau Pha Valley, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province
Situated between Nghia Lo Town and Mu Cang Chai Town, Khau Pha Valley boasts numerous rice fields and Khau Pha Pass, known as one of the four most treacherous passes in Vietnam, alongside O Quy Ho in the road connecting Lao Cai and Lai Chau Provinces, Pha Din in Dien Bien Province, and Ma Pi Leng in Ha Giang Province.
The scenic beauty of the rice fields and the daily activities of the Lim Thai and Lim Mong villagers are mesmerizing attractions. Khau Pha Valley is located on National Road No.32, approximately 250 km from Hanoi.
The rice harvest season in the Khau Pha Valley takes place from mid-September to October, providing breathtaking views. Visitors can also explore Lim Thai Village or Lim Mong Village in spring to gain insight into local customs.
|The rice harvest season in the Khau Pha Valley takes place every September and October. Photo: Booking.com|
Mu Cang Chai Town, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province
Located in Mu Cang Chai District, approximately 300 kilometers from Hanoi, Mu Cang Chai Town offers picturesque views as its rice terraces near their harvest time in the fall.
Many Vietnamese and foreign visitors are drawn to these impressive fields to capture stunning photographs and to immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty of nature during the harvest period.
The terraced fields in La Pan Tan, De Xu Phinh, and Che Cu Nha communes of Mu Cang Chai District are regarded as the most beautiful in northern Vietnam, earning recognition as a National Landscape of Vietnam in 2007.
|The magical space of Mu Cang Chai Town. Photo: Phuong Di Dau|
Mu Cang Chai Town presents a unique landscape due to its varying elevations. The timing of the rice harvest also varies according to altitude, with higher fields ripening later. The end of September is a common time for harvesting.
Located on National Highway 32, the town is 280 km from Hanoi and can be reached in approximately seven hours.
This commune is rich in hiking trails and vibrant local culture, with Black Hmong, one of Vietnam’s largest ethnic minorities, being the primary residents. The area offers various activities, including trekking, paragliding, and cycling, making it an emerging adventure travel destination.
In 2019, the US business news channel CNBC included Mu Cang Chai among the top travel destinations in the world for 2020.