Mu Cang Chai - Sapa: best time to travel

Aug 2nd 2018

Sapa was known to French travelers in the early 1990s thanks to the film "Indochina". Then, Sapa has become a very attractive destination for foreign tourists coming from all corners of the globe: France, Belgium, Australia, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, New Zealand, Spain, etc ... Today, Sapa attracts a lot of Vietnamese visitors since that the new road is completed and  in use in April 2016.

Rizières en terrasse à SapaTerraced rice fields at villages Lao Chai, Ta Van, Sapa

Mu Cang Chai quickly became famous as the new destination that still remains authentic and less touristy than Sapa. Mu Cang Chai has attracted French travelers since 2009 up to now. It is very beautiful, thanks to its splendid rice fields on terraces as you approach the harvest.

One question raises in mind for all visitors: what is the best time to travel from Mu Cang Chai to Sapa?

Be aware that ethnic minorities only grow rice with one season or one harvest per year. We can say that it is the summer - autumn campaign. As the rice fields are terraced, the level of the plots varies according to the height of the mountainous flanks. We must wait until it rains between April and May to have enough water. Then we start plowing the plots of land and pulling weeds. Once all the land preparation is finished, the rice is transplanted between late May and early June.

Repiquez le riz au village Ta Van, Sapa

Spin the rice at village Ta Van, Sapa in June 2017

This is the same matter for the rice fields in the region of Sapa and Bac Ha. The showers result from the natural water allowing to cultivate the rice with only one harvest per year.

Le riz une semaine après le repiquage au village Ban Ho, Sapa

Rice a week after transplanting et village Ban Ho, Sapa early June 2017

To take the beautiful pictures when we are touring between Mu Cang Chai, Tu Le and Sapa, travelers can go there between the end of May and the beginning of June when the natives are transplanting the rice. The weather is ideal: blue sky, instant showers, pleasant temperature.

Another period to travel in this region, we can enjoy a circuit off – the - beaten track and discovery in Mu Cang Chai, Tu Le and Sapa between late August and early September. The rice begins to mature.

Rizières en terrasse à Nghia Lo, Mu Cang ChaiThe rice begins to mature in Mu Cang Chai

You will be amazed to see the yellow color everywhere. The rice  fields on terraces are changing color every day. The splendid landscapes are magical with the yellow rice fields that extend on the horizon. Try to spend your trip in these provinces from early September to September 20th every year. During this period, you still have beautiful rice fields to photograph. From September 15th, local people will begin their harvest as the rice matures. As a result, the rice fields will disappear very quickly. The harvest may end in late September when there are no more rice on terraces to contemplate.

Rizières en terrasse à SapaTerraced rice fields at the time of harvest in Sapa

In addition, if you want to take beautiful pictures with rice fields on terraces in Mu Cang Chai, Tu Le, Sapa, Bac Ha, the best time is to go there from September 1st to September 20th only. Please note that this period change every year, because it depends on the natural rain, the rainy water, and the time of transplanting the rice in each region.

Enjoy a pleasant journey with wonderful pictures !