Being a mountainous district of Yen Bai
Province, 300km northwest of Hanoi, Mu Cang Chai is famous for its winding rice
terraced fields, stretching over the mountainsides, offering a unique and
irresistible view. Mu Cang Chai district has more than 2,200 hectares of
terraced fields, of which 500 hectares in 3 communes La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and
Ze Xu Phinh were recognized as National Scenic Spots by the Ministry of Culture,
Sports and Tourism on November 18th, 2007.
Undeniably, Mu Cang Chai rice terraced field is very beautiful and
attractive especially at harvest time, but not everyone knows story behind it.
From the very beginning of this upland area, rice cultivation is not main
priority, they cultivated lots of other products, some communes even planted
opium and saw it as their main source of income. The locals were backward and
poor, so farming techniques were weak and rice varieties were low-quality, too.
In order to make the rice terraced fields beautiful as today, the local people
in Mu Cang Chai had to undergo really difficult reforms during many years. It
was the hardest time but worthy of today's achievement in Mu Cang Chai upland.
The land reclamation in the mountains is a difficult and complex process. For
the rice to grow well, the local people have to choose the mountains with
moderate slope, less rock, near water source, that people can create flat ground
then proceed to exploit, weeding, digging .... The land reclamation is conducted
in the first months of the year so that in April and May, the locals can bring
water into the fields to start cultivating then in September, October when rice
is ripe they will harvest. These jobs gradually tied up with the Mong people's
life, and from the hardships of the early days with the image of dry trees (Mu
Cang Chai in dialect means a village with lots of dry trees), over many
centuries with the hard work of the locals, Mu Cang Chai has become a
mountainous area full of vitality, including stunning rice terraced fields
providing high productivity, the locals' life here is also improved day by day.
At harvest time, the image of the gold rice terraced fields coveres the whole Mu
Cang Chai area, that is not only the beauty of the Northwest nature but also the
beauty in labor of ethnic minorities in the Northwest region of Vietnam.
Let admire rice terraced fields that are recognized as Vietnam National Scenic
La Pan Tan commune is located on the top of Khau Pha - one of the "four Great
Passes" of Northwestern Vietnam. La Pan Tan is the largest terraced field in Mu
Cang Chai with nearly 200 hectares of terraces recognized as National Scenic
Spots. The terraced fields in La Pan Tan spread throughout the hills,stack
layers like golden raspberries, which is often called the Golden Raspberries,
and the most famous is the raspberry field in Pu Nhu.
Rice terraced field Che Cu Nha is 7km from province centre, the way to Che Cu
Nha is quite steep and difficult to go. However, gorgeous rice terraces here are
definitely worthy of your trying passing difficult ways. Rice terraced fields in
Che Cu Nha are quite similar to those in La Pan Tan, all of which have overall
shapes as raspberries: quite round, big bottom and smaller toward the top. This
is considered a special lanscape that only Mu Cang Chai has. In addition to
these pictures of raspberries, it also stands out with shoe soles-shaped rice
terraces - a unique point of Che Cu Nha, you can visit Che Cu Nha to discover
this interesting thing.
Aforetime, Ze Xu Phinh was also a backward upland society, the rice terraces
were not as many and beautiful as today. Gradually, the local people have
changed in thinking and lifestyle; the new types of rice with higher quality
have been planted combining the new cultivation techniques. Ze Xu Phinh changed
the custom of rice cultivation from 1 crop per year into two rice crops instead.
Since that time, Ze Xu Phinh in harvest time has become more garish and bumper.