The light reflects on the water mingling with the sunlight, and the green of the young seedlings creates a mesmerising picture on the terraced fields in KhauPha valley, Mu Cang Chai district, Yen Bai province.

Coming to Mu Cang Chai in May-June, visitors are stunned by the beauty of the terraced fields in the rice-growing season.

Unlike the fields in the alluvial plains in the delta, terraced fields in the Northwest and Mu Cang Chai pile up from layer to layer like a stairway to the blue sky.

Although it is more difficult to clear the land and water in the terraces here, the bumper harvests and the ethnic groups create a natural wonder. These are the colourful patches of terraced fields in the water pouring season, beautiful like a mural amid the great plateau of Vietnam.

Though not as colourful and splendid as in autumn when the Northwest terraces are dyed by the golden yellow of the sunlight and the rice ripens, the terraces in the rice-growing season have a wild look.

There is only one rice crop per year in the area. The rice is usually harvested in October. After harvesting, the fields are left unused. In February, when spring rains pour down, the fields will with water. The shape of terraced fields helps to keep the maximum level of water.

From February to May, the farmers wait for the water to pour in, then start plowing and sowing. April-May is also the main sowing time for the October rice crop. Sometimes the whole field is like a mirror reflecting the blue sky, H’Mong girls in colourful costumes are sowing, while the boys are plowing the soil.

The high mountain area of Yen Bai province shows up with the colour of brown earth blending with the blue sky, and the water surface shines brightly under the brilliant golden sunlight. During the watering season, Mu Cang Chai is coated with a new and attractive colour, which is different from the harvesting season in October.

The scene here is indeed a wonderful gift in the summer for both travelers and those who love nature. And the innocent faces of the kids are also an interesting highlight.

Mu Cang Chai district has over 61,000 people, 91 percent of whom are of the H’Mong ethnic group, the remainings are Thai, Kinh and other ethnic groups.

The diversity of ethnic groups also makes Mu Cang Chai a rich cultural interference between ethnic groups in the district.

It is the creativity, hard-working hands and collective strength of the upland people that have created a unique and magnificent terraced system.

Not only helping people to have a stable life, the combination of the beauty of terraced fields and unique indigenous culture also helps Mu Cang Chai become an attractive tourist destination.

In 2007, terraced fields in three communes, La Pan Tan, De Xu Phinh and Che Cu Nha – Vietnam’s terraced field paradise – were recognised as national heritage sites.

Mu Cang Chai was also voted in the top 10 most beautiful terraced fields in the world.

To promote tourism as well as the beauty of Mu Cang Chai terraced fields, Ms. Luong Thi Xuyen, Vice Chairwoman of the People’s Committee of Mu Cang Chai district said the “watering season” programme in 2020 will officially open on May 30.

This tourism activity is in response to the programme “Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam,” introducing and promoting attractive tourist attractions, unique products and cultural identities of the H’Mong ethnic people in Mu Cang Chai district to domestic and international visitors.

This is also an opportunity to raise public awareness in preserving and promoting the ethnic-cultural values of Mu Cang Chai.

The programme also creates an opportunity to call on domestic and foreign organisations and individuals to invest in Mu Cang Chai in the spirit of cooperation and friendship, in order to open up new economic development directions, create livelihoods, and bring income to local people, especially the H’Mong ethnic people.

According to the plan, the  “watering season” programme this year will take place from May 25 to July 10, with many interesting events, including community-based tourism to experience the cultural values of Thai and H’Mong ethnic groups; exploring the natural landscape; experiencing the drawing with beeswax, making musical instruments, and cultural performances.

The district will also display and introduce agricultural products, cultural and culinary of ethnic groups in the area and other tourism experiences.

A performance night with a rich ethnic identity will be organised every Saturday evening, from May 30 to July 20. Various experience and discovery tours will be held during the programme./.