Golden rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai
Golden rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai

Yen Bai: Travel Guide, Things to Do

Yen Bai is a mountainous province in the North West of Vietnam. The capital of the province is Yen Bai City, 182km from Hanoi. Yen Bai has a number of tourist attractions that are ideal for the adventure travellers including: Thac Ba Lake, Muong Lo Valley, Tu Le rice terraces, Mu Cang Chai rice terraces.

 Staggering rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai, Vietnam
Staggering rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai, Vietnam

How to get to Yen Bai

1/ From Hanoi to Yen Bai City via Vinh Phuc and Phu Tho following Road 2
This is the shortest route and the most used route between Hanoi and Yen Bai City. Local buses between two cities normally take this route. The road conditions are excellent; earlier Road 2 traveled through quite a few towns and cities in between, but nowadays there are detour roads which makes it much easier without having to pass through busy traffic.

The road is mostly flat and the landscape on the roadsides offer not much of a beauty. There is a chance though for you to go to Thac Ba Lake where you can have a boat trip visiting the scenic lake or take a hiking trip visiting ethnic communities inhabiting by the roadside.

Thac Ba Lake - Yen Bai - Vietnam
Thac Ba Lake

2/From Hanoi to Muong Lo Valley, Tram Tau and Mu Cang Chai via Phu Tho following Route 32
Route 32 is mostly in good conditions nowadays; it is flat in Hanoi and Phu Tho while it goes up all the way from Phu Tho to Van Chan Yen Bai, goes down into the Muong Lo Valley (Nghia Lo) and goes up steeply into Mu Cang Chai.

The landscapes by the roadside are really nice with rice fields, hills covered with green tea, scenic mountains at Phu Tho; sublime wild mountainscape and spectacular rice terraces at the Muong Lo Valley and Mu Cang Chai.

The Khau Pha Pass, Yen Bai, Vietnam
The Khau Pha Pass, Yen Bai, Vietnam

3/From Lao Cai to Yen Bai via Route 70
This route is deserted and the road is in degradation; there are hundreds of blind curves every few hundred meters which make it among the most dangerous roads in Vietnam nowadays. Once this was the main route between Hanoi and Sapa which is now replaced by the newly-built expressway between Hanoi and Lao Cai. The road is mostly flat and there are some scenic ethnic villages and rice fields along the way though.

Countryside at Yen Binh, Yen Bai
Countryside at Yen Binh, Yen Bai

4/From Lai Chau and Sapa to Mu Cang Chai following Route 4D and Route 32
The roads are fairly in good conditions and the landscape by the roadside are captivating: rice terraces, amazing rice valleys, evergreen forests, wild mountains, and ethnic villages. Those who take the trip from Sapa also has an opportunity to adore the sublime beauty of O Quy Ho Pass between Lao Cai and Lai Chau.

Mu Cang Chai
Mu Cang Chai

 

Kids after school at Mu Cang Chai
Kids after school at Mu Cang Chai

5/From Ha Giang to Pho Rang Town (Lao Cai) via Route 279 then to Yen Bai (via Route 70)
The dilapidated 279 in the territory of Ha Giang is horrendous and should be awarded the worst road in Vietnam. There are thousands of elephant holes on the road surface which make you wonder if it is called a road at all! The part of the road in Lao Cai is in fairly good conditions. The adventurers who take this route are awarded with idyllic countryside landscape and wild mountainscape just by the roadside. There are several ethnic villages on the way for you to visit and take a peep into local life.

Rice fields near Pho Rang, Lao Cai, on the way to Ha Giang
Rice fields near Pho Rang, Lao Cai, on the way to Ha Giang

AdventureGreen’s Tours and Accommodations in Yen Bai
AdventureGreen organizes boat trips and eco tours around Thac Ba Lake and the accommodation is at a lovely guesthouse by the lake side. At Muong Lo Valley, you can enjoy a cycling tours with our local team to Tram Tau and the accommodation is homestay at a Thai family. If you love trekking, then join AdventureGreen on hiking tours and trekking tours around Tu Le and Mu Cang Chai. The accommodations are either at local guest houses or homestay with ethnic families (Thai, Hmong). All these tours start and conclude in Hanoi of which the tour duration ranges from 2 to 4 days. You can also join us on an adventure tour of the North West of Vietnam which travels through the different provinces in the region.

Amazing rice terraces at Tu Le - Cao Pha Valley
Amazing rice terraces at Tu Le - Cao Pha Valley

 

A young Thai girl at a festival at Tu Le
A young Thai girl at a festival at Tu Le

 

Muong Lo Valley, Nghia Lo
Muong Lo Valley, Nghia Lo

If you love traveling by motorbike, then AdventureGreen arranges a motorcycle adventure to Mu Cang Chai from Hanoi. The tour is for 3 days which could be extended to visit Sapa, Lao Cai and Ha Giang if you request.

Tu Le Cao Pha Valley, Yen Bai, Vietnam
Tu Le Cao Pha Valley, Yen Bai, Vietnam

For fans of mountain climbing, then you may like to know that Yen Bai is home to those of the highest mountain peaks in Vietnam: Pu Luong (also called Cot Co Peak, 2,985m), Pu Song Sung (or Ta Chi Nhu, or Chung Chua Nha, 2,979m), Lung Cung (2,913m), Ta Xua (2,865m). AdventureGreen hosts a number of trekking tours to these mountains which take 3-4 days each. The accommodations are at mountain huts or camps. Do not hesitate to contact AdventureGreen for advice on any daunting adventure tours through Yen Bai.

Muong Lo Valley, Nghia Lo, Yen Bai, Vietnam
Muong Lo Valley, Nghia Lo, Yen Bai, Vietnam

Photos of major tourist attractions in Yen Bai

Mu Cang Chai - Yen Bai - Vietnam
Rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai

 

Tu Le - Yen Bai - Vietnam
Tu Le rice valley of Yen Bai from Khau Pha Pass

 

Khau Pha Pass - Yen Bai - Vietnam
Khau Pha Pass

 

Muong Lo Valley, Yen Bai, Vietnam
Muong Lo Valley, Yen Bai, Vietnam