There are thousands of square kilometres of terraced rice fields in the northwestern region including magnificent terraced rice fields in Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai Province), Hoang Su Phi (Ha Giang Province) and Sa Pa (Lao Cai Province), which are loved by both domestic and foreign tourists.

Those who have been to the region in this season are eager to return while those who have never been will have an incredible experience ahead of them.

Early September until the end of October is the best time to seek out the beautiful yellow colour of the northwest.

Terraced fields are used to grow rice on sloped spaces by various ethnic groups.

To plant water rice on mountains, locals have to exploit mountains, make even spaces on the slope and make canals to bring water from higher peak to the spaces.

Yellow season is the golden time for photographers to hunt photos in northwest region. Photo taken in Tu Le Commune, Van Chan District, Yen Bai Province. — VNS Photos Le Thi Huong Giang

The beauty of the landscape and local people always impress tourists.

The floating clouds on terrace rice fields are often covered with a blanket of fog or white smoke in the mountains of Yen Bai, Lao Cai and Ha Giang.

Don’t miss places with the most spectacular terrace rice fields!

Mu Cang Chai District (Yen Bai Province)

Mu Cang Chai is always the first name tourists think of for autumn. To reach the area, you pass Khau Pha Pass, one of the four most beautiful passes in the north, according to experienced travellers.

Ripe rice in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province.

Rice matures in the area from the end of August to early October. The highest harvest season will be between September 15 and 25, when rice turns yellow.

Local authorities this year host the annual Terrace Rice Fields Festival between August 29 and October 18 with various activities like flying over the landscape with helicopters and paragliding, folk games, a marathon and photo exhibition. The annual Mong Ethnic Group’s Flute Festival gathers hundreds of Mong men to make and perform flutes.

There are two ways to explore Mu Cang Chai:

Take a bus from Hanoi’s My Dinh Bus Station to Mu Cang Chai Bus Station (some VND250,000/person). Then rent a bike to go here and there.

Take a bus from Hanoi to Nghia Lo Town (some VND160,000/person), then rent a car or a bike to travel from Nghia Lo to Mu Cang Chai, which is 100km away. Tourists will pass two beauty spots namely Tu Le Commune and Khau Pha Pass.

Tourists can also visit villages of La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and De Xu Phinh in the area to experience locals’ lifestyle.

Visitors are advised to book rooms 20 days or even a month before departure.

Y Ty Commune, Bat Xat District, Lao Cai Province

September is also a golden time in Y Ty Commune.

Ripe rice in Y Ty Commune, Bat Sat District, Lao Cai Province.

The yellow season always comes earlier here than elsewhere, between August 25 till the end of September.

In Y Ty, people will not find yellow rice in mass fields like in Mu Cang Chai but also scattered along the route from Sa Pa – Sang Ma Sao – Muong Hum – Y Ty – Khu Chu Lin. That’s why the most suitable vehicle for this route is a motorbike.

The route from Hanoi to Y Ty is divided into two stages. From Hanoi to Sa Pa by bus (some VND260,000/person) and from Sa Pa to Y Ty by bike (some VND100,000/bike). On the 100km road from Sa Pa to Y Ty, tourists will pass O Quy Ho Pass.

A house on a terraced rice field in Y Ty Commune, Bat Xat District, Lao Cai Province.

Villages in Y Ty worth visiting include Choan Then, Hong Ngai, and Ngai Thau Thuong.

Hoang Su Phi District (Ha Giang Province)

Hoang Su Phi District is located at the foot of the Tay Con Linh Mountain range, which hosts the most beautiful terraced rice fields in Vietnam.

Rice here turns yellow between September and October, rather late compared to other places.

The road to Hoang Su Phi is rather dangerous, so motorbike drivers need to be careful.

The curving route along passes, bordered with terraced rice fields and the fragrance of matured rice, can still be quite relaxing.

Locals work on a terraced rice field in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province. — VNS Photos Le Thi Huong Giang

The route from Hanoi to Hoang Su Phi can be divided into two stages: Hanoi – Ha Giang by bus (VND250,000/person), then rent a bike from Ha Giang City (some VND150,000/bike) to go to Bac Quang – Tan Quang and then Hoang Su Phi, the total route is 70km.

The communes hosting the most beautiful terraced rice fields include Ban Luoc, San Sa Ho, Ban Nung and Ho Thau.  VNS

Le Huong

Terraced rice fields in Mu Cang Chai turn yellow

Terraced rice fields in Mu Cang Chai turn yellow

Mu Cang Chai district (Yen Bai province) is entering the most beautiful golden rice season of the year in Vietnam, attracting lots of people to come to enjoy the full autumn in the fragrant rice.

Wonderful yellow terrace rice fields

Wonderful yellow terrace rice fields

It's obvious why you should visit the northwestern region in September and October, as that's when the terraced rice fields turn beautifully yellow.