This year, Mu Cang Chai tourism in the golden season continues to attract a large number of visitors with many impressive and unique activities, including paragliding from the top of the Khau Pha pass.
Mu Cang Chai terraced fields have been famous for a long time. This tourist destination has many times been named in the lists of ranking hot destinations of the press and world media such as “50 most beautiful destinations in the world”, “Top best destinations to enjoy the autumn season”, and “Top most beautiful terraced fields in the world”. The excellent natural conditions and the labor of local people have created a masterpiece of picturesque terraced fields, stretching from the foot of the towering mountain ranges.
In particular, the terraced fields in Mu Cang Chai are beautiful all year round, not only in the golden ripe rice season, from when the water is simmering until the rice is not yet ripe. Besides community tourism, Mu Cang Chai also has great potential for adventure tourism and sports tourism activities such as paragliding, climbing, and running.
The Paragliding Festivals have been held since 2013 and attract a large number of professional gliders in Vietnam and internationally. However, this activity is merely for performance, cultural exchange, and tourism promotion, but it is still unable to serve the majority of ordinary tourists.
Within the framework of the Special National Scenic Landscape Discovery Festival of Mu Cang Chai in 2022, the People’s Committee of Mu Cang Chai district has coordinated with the Mebayluon Paragliding Club (Vien Nam Sports and Tourism Joint Stock Company) to co-organize the Paragliding Festival named “Flying over scenic areas”. This festival is expected to last from September 1st to the end of October. The organizers promise to bring everyone the opportunity to participate in a unique adventure sports activity and new perspectives on the beauty of Mu Cang Chai.
After two years of blockade due to Covid-19, with Vietnam officially reopening to tourism, international guests also have the opportunity to come and paraglider on one of the “Top 10 most beautiful terraced fields in the world”. One of the best gliders, Suman Thapa (Nepal) expressed his excitement when he participated in paragliding at Mu Cang Chai. Thrill seekers like him have the opportunity to experience the beautiful scenery, discover the local identity and practice and learn to better themselves.
Khau Pha paragliding point (on Highway 32 in Cao Pha commune, Mu Cang Chai) is one of the highly appreciated paragliding destinations of Vietnam and the world. It has an altitude of about 1,200 meters above sea level, surrounded by a sea of clouds all year round. Travelers who wish to book this service need to register online or in person, before being instructed by professional gliders on safety, how to fly, and how to land. Dang Van My, who has the highest number of flying hours in Vietnam and is also the director of the event organizer, spoke about paragliding’s popularity.
“During the week, the daily capacity is 20 to 100 flights, the weekend is 50 to 150 flights, depending on weather conditions.
Every day, there are at least 10 gliders in charge of guiding. They both fly with guests and bring unique and eye-catching performances. However, we can only serve about 50% of the total number of tourists because paragliding is very special, it is necessary to ensure that the facilities, take-off, and landing areas must be in accordance with the standards, this activity is heavily influenced by adverse weather factors”
At the take-off area, each departure has about three to five parachutes, including for gliders and visitors. Each parachute will hover in the sky for about 10-25 minutes depending on the wind strength and the needs of the glider. Losing yourself in one of the famous “four great mountain passes” of the North, enjoying the feeling of freedom in the vast air, and watching the majestic nature and people’s life from above are the essential factors that attract tourists.
Most paragliders register a few days to a week in advance, there are tourists from the central or southern regions, and also foreign tourists who come to Mu Cang Chai to glide. Some groups of tourists often pass through the parachute area and find it interesting, so they want to register on the spot, but the organizer has to refuse for the reason of controlling the number of flights to ensure safety and quality of service.
In recent years, paragliding is an increasingly popular tourist activity all over Vietnam, especially for young people. Many mountainous provinces have been organizing paragliding festivals to promote their image and stimulate tourism, such as Yen Bai, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Tuyen Quang, and Dien Bien.
Particularly, this year’s Mu Cang Chai flight point has had a significant positive change, when the parachute service is commercialized in a methodical, fully licensed manner, with a team of fully certified gliders, professional processes, and procedures. Hundreds of local workers received job opportunities when they joined the paragliding service.
“Festival paragliding is the main activity that we prioritize to organize,” said Mr. Trinh The Binh, Head of the Culture and Information Department of Mu Cang Chai district. “It has been attracting the attention of many tourists. With the organization becoming more and more professional at all stages, Mu Cang Chai hopes that more and more tourists will know and participate in the experience, contributing to the building of Mu Cang Chai district to become a better place.”
With the great potential and the rapid development of the current trend of adventure tourism and sports tourism, Mu Cang Chai has the opportunity to become the leading destination in the country for a paragliding experience. To do this, it is necessary to cooperate between both local authorities, private organizations, and businesses.