The Northwest region has been attracting a significant number of domestic and international tourists in recent months: What is it about this region that draws so many visitors?

Sapa (Lao Cai), Moc Chau (Son La), and Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai) are drawing a substantial number of tourists to Northwest Vietnam from September to October.

Recent conversations in travel communities have been flooded with images shared by travelers who have explored these regions. These destinations have gained popularity due to their pleasant weather, rich indigenous cultures, and exceptional culinary offerings. However, the main allure for visitors lies in the natural landscapes.

So this September, what about the natural landscape in these lands makes so many tourists "heartbroken"?

The main answer is the stunning rice season in terraced fields.

In Northwest Vietnam, the late summer rice harvest typically occurs between late August and October each year. During this timeframe, tourists can witness the verdant green rice fields gradually transforming into a vivid, shimmering golden hue. Because of the rugged terrain, the locals in the Northwest cultivate rice using stepped terraces instead of the sprawling, endless fields typically seen in plain regions. These layered terraces cascade down the hillsides, forming a captivating panorama extending endlessly toward the horizon.

1. Sapa (Lao Cai)

When mentioning Sapa, many people often associate it with the name "misty city" due to its cold weather throughout the year. However, Sapa also has a stunning season of golden ripe rice fields.

The unique late summer rice crop in Sapa falls between late August and mid-September each year. Instead of the usual fog that blankets everything, visitors coming to Sapa during this time will be treated to the breathtaking sight of terraced rice fields, ranging from lush green to ripe gold, covering every hill and valley.

The weather in Sapa during this season is characterized by less rain, reduced fog, and clearer skies. Instead, you'll experience gentle sunshine and the crispness of early autumn. Under the soft sunlight, the terraced fields resemble cascading ribbons, stretching as far as the eye can see, creating an incredibly beautiful landscape.

It's because of this beauty that in 2009, Sapa's terraced fields were honored by the renowned travel magazine "Travel and Leisure" in 2009 as one of the most magnificent and beautiful terraced fields in Asia and the world.


Aside from capturing the picturesque scenes, visitors during the harvest season have the opportunity to witness the local people working in the fields. The sight of Hmong and Dao women donning traditional attire and carrying their babies on their backs, accompanied by children following their mothers, has become an iconic image often captured by international photographers.

To fully experience the rice season in Sapa, this is some ideal places to visit include Nậm Cang, Y Ty, Y Linh Ho, Ta Van, and Tả Giàng Phình.

2. Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai)

Similar to Sapa, the autumn season in Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai) is also known for its ripe rice fields. Additionally, when visiting Mu Cang Chai during this season, travelers can also admire the limited buckwheat flower fields, witness beautiful sunsets over the rice fields, or take part in adventurous sports like paragliding.

N.T.Huong, a traveler from Ha Noi, shared her thoughts after her trip to Mu Cang Chai in September 2022: "The ripe rice season in Mu Cang Chai is truly as beautiful as a dream, especially in the Móng Ngựa hill area. On beautiful sunny days and stunning sunsets, I heard people say there can be up to 100 photographers in the rice fields."

The-rice-terraces-of-Mu-Cang-Chai-pacifictravelLocated just 2 km from the town, in Sang Nhu Village, Mo De Commune, Móng Ngựa Hill is one of the most famous and picturesque spots to view the rice fields and beautiful sunsets in Mu Cang Chai. Most tourists who come here, especially during the autumn season, cannot miss visiting this place.

However, the road to Móng Ngựa Hill is quite challenging, with rough rocky terrain and steep slopes, making it a difficult journey. Travelers who want to reach here can either drive a motorcycle themselves or hire professional drivers to ensure safety.

3. Moc Chau (Son La)

The autumn season in Son La, as well as in Moc Chau specifically, provides favorable weather conditions for both farmers to harvest and tourists to enjoy the scenic rice fields.

In the early morning, there is a gentle mist, and by noon, there is mild, not too intense sunshine. Similar to Sapa, when tourists visit Moc Chau during the rice season, they can easily witness local farmers in the midst of the harvest.

In addition to manual harvesting, the local people have also adopted modern tools and equipment to make the rice harvesting process less labor-intensive. One notable example is the use of rice harvesting machines.

Unlike in Sapa or Mu Cang Chai, there aren't specific prominent "rice hunting" locations in Moc Chau. Simply arriving in Moc Chau, you will easily come across vast rice fields.

Tourists visiting Moc Chau can not only admire the rice fields but also participate in the hands-on experience of harvesting rice and having meals with ethnic communities such as the Thai people in Chiềng Đi Village, Áng Village, Vặt Village, Nà Pó Village, or Phụ Mẫu Village. During these meals, tourists can even savor the traditional “xôi cốm” dish (green sticky rice) of the Thai people in Moc Chau.

Besides the mentioned destinations, there are also other places in the Northwest and Northeast regions that will welcome the ripe rice season in the coming autumn. These include Hoang Su Phi (Ha Giang), Than Uyen (Lai Chau), Muong Than (Dien Bien), Trung Khanh (Cao Bang), and Bac Son (Lang Son).

If you're planning a trip for this autumn season, you can consider these Northwest and Northeast destinations to admire the golden ripe rice fields.

Indeed, what Northwest Vietnam has to offer during this season that attracts so many people is an intriguing question that piques curiosity. Contact us at Asia Pacific Travel ( right away to arrange a Northwest Vietnam tour and experience the enchanting beauty of the ripe rice paddies during this period!


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