The rice terraces in Vietnam are formed by the farming conditions in the high mountains where the flat soil is scarce, making it difficult to grow crops, especially wet rice. Therefore, local people have come up with another method to adapt to the rugged terrain of the hills and mountains so as to produce food, which is considered as an intelligent means of farming method of the locals.
I - Mu Cang Chai rice terraces - top best rice terraces in Vietnam
Mu Cang Chai terraced rice fields are located on the hillside with an area of more than 5,000ha, allocated in most communes and towns of Mu Cang Chai district, of which approximately 500ha is recognized as a National Scenic Site by the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, mainly in the communes of La Pan Tan, De Xu Phinh, and Che Cu Nha.
Mu Cang Chai rice terraces - Source: Kenh14
The towering Vietnam rice terraces here are surrounded by rugged mountain blankets with stairways that seem to ascend up to the heaven above. In the summer, it is like a giant green carpet of young rice plants, in the summer it boasts magnificent beauty with waves of sparkling yellow ripe rice, looking like a soft and flexible silk strip. The terraces are most glorious at dawn and in the late afternoon at sunset. Mong Ngua hill is the most ideal place to have a panoramic view of the whole terraced fields, which boast the utmost enchanting beauty of horseshoes - like rice terraces, especially in the harvest season.
Apart from admiring the magnificent Vietnam terraced rice fields, there are plenty of should-not-miss places in Mu Cang Chai district:
Khau Pha Mountain Pass
This is one in four greatest mountain passes in Vietnam. It is extremely winding, which is 30km long and more than 1,200m high, featuring precarious cliffs. From the pass, you can admire the impressive landscape of rugged mountains like curved horns crashing into each layer of white clouds. At the peak of the pass, you will be overwhelmed by rice terraces embracing the contiguous ridge of mountains and forests.
Lim Mong village
The village is located in Cao Pha Commune - about 30km from the rice terraces in Vietnam in De Xu Phinh, hidden in smog, and featuring rustic and tranquil scenery. This is also renowned as “the four great dangers” with dangerous passes leading to the village which is home to the Hmong people.
Steamed glutinous rice, roasted crab with salt, and grilled pork - Source: Internet
Mu Cang Chai is not only appealing by its spectacular nature of Northwestern region but also scrumptious local cuisines. Some outstanding food in Mu Cang Chai can be mentioned as Tu Le green sticky rice, roasted stream crab with salt, charcoal-grilled pork.
II - Hoang Su Phi rice terraces - one of the 4 best rice terraces in Vietnam
Hoang Su Phi rice terrace - Source: Bestprice
Terraced fields in Hoang Su Phi are located in the west of Ha Giang province, about 11km from the center of Ha Giang city, stretching into 6 communes which are Ban Luoc, San Sa Ho, Ban Phung, Ho Thau, Nam Ty, and Thong Nguyen, of which two terraced fields in the communes of Ban Luoc and Ban Phung were recognized as National Heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Vietnam.
The winding fields stretch from the stream to the top of the mountain, interspersed with primeval forests, old trees, and tea fields which creates a spectacular picture of natural diversity. In the spring, the terraced fields are filled with water, featuring young green rice plants. The best time to visit rice terraces Vietnam in Hoang Su Phi is in the water pouring season from April to June and in the harvest season from August to October. It would be an amazing memory to admire the fields at dawn and enjoy the aroma of ripe rice plants.
Buckwheat flower in Hoang Su Phi - Source: VnExpress
To get a more exhilarating experience on your trip to Hoang Su Phi, it is advisable for you to pay a visit to several other rice terraces in the communes of Ban Phung, Ho Thau, Thong Nguyen, Ban Luoc - San Sa Ho, and Nam Ty.
Bamboo tube rice - Source: VnExpress
Besides the Vietnam rice terraces, you should not miss the following tourist spots in Hoang Su Phi such as Tay Con Linh mountain with a height of 2419m above the sea level and challenging craggy roads; Chieu Lau Thi mountain peak - at a height of 2,402m above the sea level and an attractive “cloud-hunting” place. Another experience in Hoang Su Phi which must be mentioned is enjoying local specialties, such as rice in the bamboo tube (Com Lam), horse meat hot pot (Thang Co), Rat meat, Au Tau porridge, Smoked buffalo meat
III - Sapa rice terraces in Vietnam
Sapa rice terraces - Source: Krisztian Tabori
There are numerous terraced rice fields in Sapa, but the most outstanding and also the largest is in the villages of Ta Van, Hau Thao, Lao Chai in the Muong Hoa valley with an area of approximately 1,000ha. The area is also famous for the Vu Lung Sung hamlet in Trung Hai commune, with 121 steps.
The terraced rice field is the most charming in the water pouring season and the harvest season. The former is in the summer from the end of April to the middle of May, when the terrace is eye-catching in the green hue of young rice plants and silvery water sparkling in the sunlight. The latter lasts from the middle of September to the beginning of October, when this Vietnam rice terrace is glorious with the giant waves of yellow ripe rice plants, spreading the aroma in the vast space.
You can refer to a couple of destinations below to admire the beautiful terraced fields:
Ta Phin village
The village is well-known for its rustic nature, breathtaking rice terrace, and rich culture.
Cat Cat village
Cat Cat village is a village of the Hmong people, about 2km from Sapa Town, appealing to visitors by the majestic scenery of forests and the rustic beauty of small wooden houses, narrow murmuring springs, and colorful brocade.
Muong Hoa valley
The valley is located about 10km southeast of Sapa Town. The highlight is yellow terraced rice fields, recognized as Vietnam’s largest terraced fields by the Vietnam Guinness Book.
IV - Y Ty rice terraces - top most charming rice terraces in Vietnam
Y Ty rice terrace - Source: VnExpress
Y Ty is a highland commune in Bat Xa District, Lao Cai Province, about 70km from Sapa Town and approximately 100km from Lao Cai city center. The commune is outstanding with the complex of terraced rice fields with an area of 223ha in The Pa village. Each season, the Y Ty field has its own beauty. In the water pouring season in May and June, it is simmering in the glorious sunlight together with the bright green color of young plants, making a tranquil and soothing scenery.
So when is the best time to explore these Vietnam terraced rice fields? The fields become more attractive in the harvest season from September to the beginning of October when the space is covered with the yellow hue of ripe rice spreading along the hillside. Y Ty rice terraces were recognized as a National Heritage Site by the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism in 2015.
Let’s consider the list of attractions near Y Ty rice terraces to discover the utmost beauty in this area:
Y Ty market
After visiting the rice terraces in Vietnam in Y Ty, you should move on to the Y Ty market. This market, held every Saturday, is situated in the middle of a magical sea of clouds. There is an array of products sold in the market from agricultural ones to housewares or sophisticated handicrafts, of which the highlights are colorful ethnic costumes and eye-catching brocade of the Dao’s girls.
Lao Than mountain peak
The peak is located at a height of 2,860m above sea level, considered as the rooftop of Y Ty Commune. This is an ideal place for cloud hunting and watching the sunset. The route to this peak is not too challenging, the terrain mainly is fields, forests, and colorful blossoms.
We have mentioned the four best rice terraces in Vietnam. It is an extremely unique natural landscape of Vietnam, glorious among lush forests in the North. Visiting the magnificent terraced rice fields, enjoying local specialties, and discovering the pace of life of locals will give you unforgettable memories on the way to conquering the precious gems of Vietnam.