How to travel to Mu Cang Chai from Hanoi

Mu Cang Chai in Yen Bai Province is home to the most spectacular rice terraces in Vietnam. The best times to visit the rice terraces are when they are flooded with water during the rice planting season in late May-early June, and when the rice turns into golden yellow colors in September and early October. Mu Cang Chai is 300km northwest of Hanoi. Let’s find out how to travel to Mu Cang Chai from Hanoi and the means of transportation available between these two destinations.

By private car: the road trip by private car is the most convenient way to travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai. Route 32 is small but in fairly good conditions and the traffic is not busy. The one-way trip should take around 6-7 hours.

Mu Cang Chai rice terraces
Mu Cang Chai rice terraces

By local bus: There are some local buses and vans from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai and many buses from Hanoi to Lai Chau which stops at Mu Cang Chai. The pickup points in Hanoi are at My Dinh, Giap Bat and Gia Lam Bus Stations. The drop-off point is at the center of Mu Cang Chai Town or at the Kim T-Junction (Nga Ba Kim). All buses and vans have air-conditioning nowadays. A bus trip should take about 6-8 hours to get to Mu Cang Chai from Hanoi.

Unless you want to visit Yen Bai City, do not take the buses from Hanoi to Yen Bai which will take you to Yen Bai City which is 200km from Mu Cang Chai.

By motorbike: The road by motorbike from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai is Route 32 to Son Tay Town, then past through Phu Tho Province to Nghia Lo and Mu Cang Chai. Traveling to Mu Cang Chai by motorbike could be a fun experience as it allows you to visit several places on the way which are too far for a walk and the paths are too small for cars. Also, you can visit most rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai on a motorbike provided it is not on a wet day. A motorbike adventure to Mu Cang Chai could take a full day from Hanoi.

By bicycle: It is not convenient to travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai by bicycle but you can certainly do that. The route is like for motorbikes as above and the trip should take a couple of days for a really fit cyclist. There are steep gradients going up on the way but most can still be done by cycling. There are several places on the way which have accommodations in case you’d like to stay for the night.