Mu Cang Chai is famous for its most stunning landscapes of terraced rice fields. This post will share to you all the experiences to travel to Mu Cang Chai: the best time to travel, how to get to Mu Cang Chai, things to do and see in Mu Cang Chai. 


- A small remote & hilly district of Yen Bai province.

- Approximately 300km from Hanoi

- The East borders with Van Chan district (Yen Bai province)

- The West borders with Than Uyen district ( Lai Chau province)

- The South borders with Muong La area ( Son La province)

- The North borders with Van Ban district ( Lao Cai province).


The best time to visit Mu Cang Chai for wonderful pictures of terrace rice fields :

Between May and June - the falling water time: the locals make use of the rain water flowing down from Hoang Lien mountains to fall into their rice fields and start their new crop. In this time, you can see a lot of farming activities such as locals working on the fields : from ploughing to harrowing with buffalloes on the rice terraces, replanting rices, fertilizing their fields...etc

Mu Cang Chai tarrce rice field in pouring water time

Between the late September and early October – when the terrace rice fields change their colours from green to golden ( ready to harvest) in their fullest beauty – the best time for great photos of Mu Cang Chai’s breathtaking stepped rice fields.

Mu Cang Chai terrace rice field in the Harvest time


Transportation means available from Ha Noi to Mu Cang Chai are train, bus, car and motorbike:

*** By bus: The distance from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai - Yen Bai is about 300 km which takes you about 8 hours riding with amazing moutain view on its way. You can take a taxi to My Dinh, Giap Bat or Nuoc Ngam bus station to book ticket. Purchasing bus ticket by yourself, it means you have to arrange everything you do by yourself: taxis, contact driver, finding the right bus among hundreds buses in station... It is not very easy when you don't speak the language and local people here don’t speak English too.

Below are some buses running Hanoi - Lai Chau routes which run on Highway 32, so you can use to move to some other locations such as Nghia Lo, Tu Le commune, Mu Cang Chai, Than Uyen ...(Update 10/2019)


• Route: Mỹ Đình bus station (Ha Noi) - Lai Châu
• Departure time: 18h15
• Phone: 0985 694910 – 0985 694901


• Route: Mỹ Đình Bus station (Hanoi) – Mù Cang Chải – Lai Châu
• Departure time: 19h15
• Phone: 0213 6277287 / 0944 828282 / 024 37223588 / 0169 2232323


• Route: Giáp Bát Bus station – Mu Cang Chai - Lai Chau
• Depart ture time: 16h30 & 19h00
• Phone: (0213) 6277287 / 0944 828282 / (024) 37223588 / 0944 868686


• Route: Giáp Bát – Mỹ Đình – Vĩnh Yên – Việt Trì – Thanh Sơn – Nghĩa Lộ – Mù Cang Chải – Than Uyên – Lai Châu
• Departute time: 17h00
• Phone: 0984 971999 / 0912 317515 / 0912 524066 / 0912 212418


• Route: Mỹ Đình – Việt Trì – Thanh Sơn – Nghĩa Lộ – Mù Cang Chải – Than Uyên – Lai Châu
• Departute time: 17h30 & 18h45
• Phone: (0213) 6286909 / 0986 392081 / 0986 025569 / 01699 286488

The buses from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai will often take in the night. If you do not want to take the bus at night to Mu Cang Chai, you can choose another option is to take a bus from Hanoi to Yen Bai City, from here continue to take the local bus or rent a motorbike to go to Mu Cang Chai.

Some buses run from Yen Bai city to Mu Cang Chai

Đức Hương

  • Departure time: Yên Bái 7h30 Mù Cang Chải 13h30
  • Phone: 0982 404 999

Chiến Thanh

  • Departure time: Yên Bái 12h00 Mù Cang Chải 6h30
  • Phone: 0944 046 596 – 0989 949 108

Tuấn Long

  • Departure time: Yên Bái 15h00 Mù Cang Chải 8h00
  • Phone: 0963 247 766

Mạnh Phương

  • Departure time: Yên Bái 12h00 Mù Cang Chải 6h30
  • Phone: 036 5377 677

*** By Motorbike: Another way is renting a motobike from Hanoi and adventurously drive to Mu Cang Chai and stop between enroute to visit Mu Cang Chai’s highlights.This option is suitable for the one who is very good at driving motobikes and get familiar with winding mountain roads because it is a long journey of 7-8 hours on up-down & curving roads. For safety, you should not drive at the high speed and at the night time due to the visibility on winding roads with a lot of up-down passes or your motobike may get broken in the middle of nowhere.

*** By Train: The Hanoi – Lao Cai train will stop and drop you off at Yen Bai railway station, from there you will have to catch a bus or rent motorbike to go to Mu Cang Chai. You can check-in the site of Vietnam railway to buy the tickets

***By private car: A convenient & relaxed way when you plan the trip yourselves is having a private car with driver taken your group from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai, visit Mu Cang Chai’s attractions in your time schedules & back to Hanoi.


There are a number of hotels and hostels in Mu Cang Chai, but you have to make your reservations at least one month before if you intend to visit during the peak season because all accommodations tend to be fully booked during this time.


1. Tu Le commune

A valley between high mountains, belongs to Van Chan district Yen Bai province, about 35 kilometers away from Mu Cang Chai following highway 32. 
Come to Tu Le, you will not only enjoy the beautiful rice fields, Tu Le is also home to the HMong and Thai community, so you can discover many unique cultural identities of the local people. 

Tu Le commune Yen Bai

2. Ride motorbike on the Khau Pha pass – one of the most beautiful and dangerous passes in Vietnam

To reach of Mu Cang Chai, you will have to passover the Khau Pha pass - one of four most imposing passes in the northwest of Vietnam. The pass is the most longest one (30km in length) on NR32 and normally surrounded with clouds. In clear days, Khau Pha pass offers you an impressive view of surrounding mountains, deep valleys and stunning rice terraced fields. 


3. Che Cu Nha, La Pan Tan & De Xu Phinh commune: The best place to admire the magnificence of the terraced rice fields in Mu Cang Chai

 Those 3 communes are the living places of local Black Hmong ethnics with their well-preserved rich cultures : their house styles, traditional dresses & their rice cultivation.Trekking will be a nice exploration of these communes, you will pass by numerous villages of Black Hmong getting to know their primitive lifestyles and have chances to expose yourselves to the most impressive terraced rice fields - famous places to visit in Mu Cang Chai journey.


4. Lim Mong hamlet

 Lìm Mông hamlet is a small village that hides itself in mist and clouds. To get here, you can just use small motorbikes for about 2/3 of the trip and then go on foot for the rest because of the rough, crooked, slippery uphill slopes which are a distinct character of Mù Cang Chải. The hamlet is famous for the breathtaking scenery during crops harvesting season when all corners of Lìm Mông are dyed with the charming yellow of cereals.

Mu Cang Chai Terrace Rice fields Yen Bai

5. Thai Village in Kim Noi commune

Thai village is a part of Kim Noi commune, near Mu Cang Chai town.The village is popular with beautiful houses on stilts where local Thai ethnics live on. You can use homestay service & authentic meals cooked by local host in Thai village. From here, you also can hike up on dirt trails visiting remote villages of Black H’Mong on the mountain slopes and viewing their farming activities on beautiful stepped rice fields.

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