A Hanoi family took a weekend trip to enjoy terraced rice fields in harvest season and a bamboo forest in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province.
At the end of September, when harvest season spread across Vietnam’s northwestern provinces, Doan Manh and his family spent two weekend days and one night in Mu Cang Chai, a rural district in Yen Bai. The group with three adults and a 4-year-old had traveled from Hanoi by car.
While it’s not too far from the capital city to Mu Cang Chai, about 270 km away, the terrain in some parts is pretty steep.
The group woke up at 4:30 a.m. to prepare and departed at 5 a.m., arriving at Lap Mong Village under Khau Pha Pass at 11:30 a.m, just in time for lunch.
Manh said on the day he drove to Yen Bai, the rain was heavy and persistent and the fog thick, reducing visibility along Khau Pha Pass to only 10-15 m in places.
Lim Mong and Lim Thai villages are home to Thai ethnic communities residing below Khau Pha – one of the toughest mountain passes in Vietnam.
After crossing a suspension bridge, the group reached a tiny, steep road ascending the mountain. Visiting Lim Mong in September or October is ideal for those wishing to experience rice harvest season.
Manh’s group dined and lodged at a homestay called Quyet Doan, in operation for three years.
It overlooks Lup Mong Valley with its golden rice fields, also a landing spot for paragliders. The price for one night here is VND150,000 ($6.5) a person.
Visitors to Mu Cang Chai can also explore a 60-year-old bamboo forest located 20 km away in Na Hang Tua Village. This is also a main source of bamboo shoots, a specialty of the region.
Manh said the road to the forest was very muddy and slippery due to recent rainfall.
The group visited other major attractions like Mam Xoi Hill and Mong Ngua Hill.
To reach these places, tourists often have to walk or hire a motorbike taxi driver since the roads are narrow, steep, slippery, and not accessible by car.
The price for a motorbike taxi ride to Mam Xoi Hill is VND60,000, to Mong Ngua Hill, VND100,000, and the bamboo forest, VND130,000 per person.
Since their time was limited, the group focused on visiting the main attractions here before returning to Hanoi. They avoided going too late because crossing the steep pass at night is quite tiring.
Before leaving, the group came to buy com (green rice flakes) at Tu Le Commune and watch people make the specialty.
The total cost of traveling, accommodation and shopping for Manh’s family was around VND4 million ($173).