By Alison M. Brown
If you've seen photos of Vietnam, you've probably come across images like you see below. The Northern regions of Vietnam are filled with captivating rice fields that span as far as the eye can see. The terraced rice fields are best to visit in September since that's right before the harvest season in October. If you go after September, the fields will either be yellow in color or completely harvested.
When I went trekking, I headed to Mù Cang Chải, which is located in the rural district of Yên Bái Province - the Northeast region of Vietnam. It's about a five hour drive north (220km) from Hanoi if traveling by car or motorbike. It's quite remote and English is very limited, so it's best that you also hire a local guide if traveling to the area and you don't speak Vietnamese.
On the way to Mù Cang Chải, we stopped at a village to see the tea farm at Suoi Giang town. Vietnam is known for its jasmine green tea, and it's delicious!
After that, we continued north and stayed the night at the Muong Lo Hotel in the Nghia Lo township, a small village about an hour away from Mù Cang Chải. In the morning we drove to the infamous Khau Pha Pass which is known for its terraced rice fields. After completing our 13km trek, we spent the night along a river at the Khau Pha Hostel.
For booking a trek like this, it's easiest when done through a tour agent. They are easy to find all throughout Vietnam and since they speak the local language, it's more likely that your reservations will be made correctly.
The trek itself was steep at times, and a lot of it uphill. We witnessed some people riding motorbikes up the mountain instead of walking. But if you're in reasonably good shape you'll do fine if you take your time. In total, the trek took about five hours to complete. We were walking at a rather slow pace, as I stopped to take many photos and absorb the breathtaking scenery.
Below are few of my favorite photos from the trek. For more photos from Mù Cang Chải and Vietnam, please click here.