April 28, 2010

Mu Cang Chai: charming and peaceful

Mu Cang Chai, lying at the foot of the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range in Yen Bai Province about 350 kilometers from Hanoi and 1,000 meters above sea level, is one of the poorest mountainous regions in Vietnam and is home to many terraced fields which have been recognized as a national heritage and as Asia’s most beautiful terraced fields.

Vietnam trekking toursA view of Mu Cang Chai's terraced fields.

The wonderful landscape is made of endless terraced fields lying together in the valleys of La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and Ze Xu Phinh and stretching to the horizon.

Dawn is a busy time, especially in the market.

Under the sun, the green and the gold of the fields create attractive curving lines that dazzle the eye. Clinging to the mountainsides, the fields mingle with the white and blue of the clouds and sky.

This is a place to breathe slowly and deeply to embrace the scents of the rice and the fertile earth and the clean air, driving away the smell of calculation so common in big cities.

The honest and innocent faces of the farmers who work the land here in their colorful costumes reveal a sense of simple happiness.

People often visit Mu Cang Chai in the post-harvest time and are sometimes asked by locals, “Why you come here at this time, nothing nice to take photos?”

However, Mu Cang Chai’s terraced fields after the harvest are not sad or deserted. They remain charming as each stalk, now yellow, is piled up nicely. Somewhere in the distance a house is visible against the yellow and green.

So peaceful! But people who nourish a dream of preserving nature worry that one day modern civilization will devour the land and replace the primitive beauty with company headquarters, factories and resorts.

Spending the night in this remote area where the Mong ethnic tribe lives is an experience worth the effort.


1 comment:

Steven said...

This looks like the rice terraces in the Philippines, i wonder what comes first.

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