One of the most Instagrammable scenery in your tour to Northern Vietnam is the golden rice fields during harvesting seasons in Northern Vietnam. During harvesting time, the rice fields are covered by mesmerizing yellow color. Tourists will be delighted by the yellow color in harmony with blue sky, white colors, green mountains and rustic ethnic houses. Here are some best places for you to enjoy beautiful rice fields during harvesting seasons in Northern Vietnam.

“Your face to the earth and your back to the sun” is our traditional proverb dedicated to the hard work of our farmers. Wetland rice farming is a prominent farming method in Vietnam. In Vietnam, much of the farm labor is done by water buffalo and seedlings are planted by hand.

Rice needs a lot of water to grow. The flatter the land is, the more rice farmers can grow. With terrace farming, peasants can prevent the water from flowing freely from the hillside. Soil improvement is involved in this farming method and usually done by men. It is crucial to make water flowing constantly in the rice terraces, especially when they transplant rice seedlings. That’s the reason why you see terraced rice fields in mountainous areas and paddy fields in Red River Delta.

See more: Terraced rice fields in Northern Vietnam

Vietnam Tours 2020

1. Northwestern area

Northeastern and Northwestern regions are two best places in Vietnam for you to enjoy unforgettable harvesting seasons and take photos of our mesmerizing terraced rice fields. Compared to other famous rice terraces in Southeast Asia such as Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Bali (Indonesia) and Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao (Philippines), rice terraces in Northern Vietnam have a distinctive feature that once you visit, you will never forget.

Consisting of six provinces (Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai and Yen Bai), the Northwestern region is the best place in Vietnam for you to see golden rice fields. Harvesting season at the end of autumn is the favorable time to travel to this region in your discovery tour to Vietnam.

1.1. Ta Leng (Lai Chau)

When to go?

September to October

What to see?

If you find Sapa is crowded in harvest season, Lai Chau is the place for you.
If you find Sapa is crowded in harvest season, Lai Chau is the place for you.

Ta Leng is beautiful in both harvesting seasons in September to October and ‘pour season’ in March and April.  From the distance, the rice terraces look like staircases to the heaven. These jaw-dropping rice fields attract thousands of domestic and international tourists every year. Besides the rice terraces, you can visit ethnic tribes belonging to Mong people.

Getting to Ta Leng

Lai Chau in harvest season
Lai Chau in harvest season

Ta Leng town is 8 kilometers away from Lai Chau City and near the 4D Highway. There are two ways to get to Ta Leng:

  • You can travel by bus directly from Hanoi to Lai Chau (390 kilometers). You can ask the bus driver to stop at the way to Ta Leng in the 4D Highway.
  • You can travel to Sapa, then rent a motorbike to Ta Leng. The journey is O Quy Ho Pass – Binh Lu – Tam Duong – Ta Leng (80 kilometers).

1.2. Y Ty (Lao Cai)

When to go?

From the end of August to the beginning of October

What to see?

You can find perfect tranquility in Y Ty
You can find perfect tranquility in Y Ty

Y Ty is 70 kilometers away from Sapa and you can visit this town on your trip to Sapa. It is said that travelers visit Y Ty for two main purposes: hunting the clouds and taking photos of stunning rice terraces. These rice fields are even more grandiose when being put in a background of white clouds, breathtaking mountains and pristine jungles. You can take photos of clouds moving over the fields, which you cannot find anywhere else in Vietnam.

Y Ty is the home to H’Mong and Ha Nhi ethnic people. You can visit Ha Nhi people in their unique ‘mushroom’ house. Unlike any stilted houses of other ethnic groups, this kind of architecture with a 40-centimeter-thick wall helps to protect people from severe weather.

Getting to Y Ty

Undulating rice terraces in Y Ty
Undulating rice terraces in Y Ty

You can take a night train or a bus to Lao Cai, and then take another bus to Y Ty. You can also rent a motorbike in Lao Cai to go to Y Ty. There are two routes you can choose:

  • Lao Cai – Bat Xat – Trinh Tuong – Lung Po – A Mu Sung – A Lu – Ngai Thau – Y Ty: The road condition for this route is relatively safe except the short one to Ngai Thau.
  • Lao Cai – Sapa – Muong Hum – Den Sang – Y Ty: This route is a little bit bumpy and uneven.

1.3. Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai)

When to go?

Mid-September to mid-October

What to see?

The rice terraces are the symbol of Hmong people's diligence.
The rice terraces are the symbol of Hmong people’s diligence.

Visiting Mu Cang Chai in harvesting seasons is a cannot-miss part of your tour in Vietnam. In 2015, the prestigious American magazine, National Geographic, listed the golden rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai to be one of the most magnificent landscapes in the world. Created by the diligence of Hmong people, terraced rice fields have become their cultural heritage and represented their creativity and indomitable spirit over unfavorable nature.

There are many other attractions for you in Yen Bai, for example, Khau Pha Pass, one of the most magnificent passes in Vietnam and Tu Le town which is well-known for its delicious cốm (young sticky rice).

Getting to Mu Cang Chai

Mu Cang Chai has 2500 hectares of rice terraces, mostly in La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha, De Xu Phinh communes, etc.
Mu Cang Chai has 2500 hectares of rice terraces, mostly in La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha, De Xu Phinh communes, etc.

You can choose some reputable bus brands such as Hai Van or Ngan Ha to travel from Hanoi to Than Uyen, then head to Mu Cang Chai. To be more flexible, we recommend that you rent a motorbike in Yen Bai so that you can travel around some attractions here.

1.4. Mai Chau (Hoa Binh)

When to go?

May and June

What to see?

Mai Chau - an alternative to Sapa
Mai Chau – an alternative to Sapa

There is a famous Vietnamese verse about Mai Chau ‘Her season of fragrance of glutinous rice in Mai Chau’ by poet Quang Dung, which perfectly described the beauty of this town during harvesting season. Mai Chau is an alternative to Sapa if you are short of time but still want to see our breathtaking rice fields.

Taking a short cycling tour to Mai Chau, tourists will be thrilled by its rice paddies cultivated by Tay and H’Mong ethnic tribes. Lac and Poom Coong villages are the places you can witness the attraction of this town in harvesting seasons. It is tempting to try colorful sticky rice (xôi nếp nương) made by fresh ripen rice and drink can wine with the locals in their stilted houses.

Getting to Mai Chau

Harvesting season in Mai Chau
Harvesting season in Mai Chau

It is easy to transfer to Mai Chau by a public bus. Mai Chau Ecolodge provides you a private car and shuttle bus from Hanoi.

2. Northeastern area

Two best destinations to relish harvesting seasons in the Northeastern area are Ha Giang and Lang Son.

2.1. Hoang Su Phi (Ha Giang)

When to go?

September until the end of October

What to see?

There is one crop a year in Hoang Su Phi. There is a ‘pour season’ in May and harvest season in September.

There are two best times to travel to Ha Giang – in May when the peasants start their crop and in October when it is the harvesting season. Besides Dong Van, Meo Vac and Yen Minh in this province, don’t forget to spend time enjoying breathtaking rice terraces in Hoang Su Phi. Hoang Su Phi is the home to many ethnic groups: Hmong, Red Zao, Nung and Tay. With their diligence and hard work, ethnic people here had transformed rocky land and dry cliff stones into fertile rice terraced fields 300 years ago.

The terraced rice fields in Hoang Su Phi were recognized as National Heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2012. Coming to Hoang Su Phi, tourists will be mesmerized by staircase-like and vibrant rice fields in yellow bloom.

Getting to Hoang Su Phi

Picturesque view of Hoang Su Phi
Picturesque view of Hoang Su Phi

From Hanoi, you can travel to Hoang Su Phi either by bus or motorbike.

  • By motorbike: You can follow this journey: Hanoi – Ha Giang – Bac Quang – Tan Quang – Hoang Su Phi – Xin Man – Coc Pai – Lao Cai – Hanoi. We do not recommend traveling by motorbike in this mountainous area, especially in rainy seasons (May – August).
  • By bus: From Hanoi, head to My Dinh Bus Station. The bus fare from Hanoi to Ha Giang is around VND 260,000 – 300,000 dong per person. When arriving to Bac Quang crossroads, tell the drive and change the bus to Vinh Quang – Hoang Su Phi, the distance is about 58 kilometers.

2.2. Bac Son (Lang Son)

When to go?

The end of July or the end of November

What to see?

Beautiful rice fields in Bac Son
Beautiful rice fields in Bac Son

Bac Son Town is located in Bac Son District, Lang Son Province. It is about 70 kilometers from Lang Son City and 160 kilometers from Hanoi. The whole town is nestled in the heart of a large valley, surrounded by charming mountains and beautiful sceneries. The first impression of visitors when coming to this town is a pleasant climate, combined with unspoiled nature and adventurous trails.

Bac Son Valley is the area where ethnic Tay people cultivate their crops. Due to the terrain and weather conditions, people cultivate two crops. The time at the end of July and mid-November were the harvesting seasons here.

The signature feature of Bac Son rice terraces is that the yellow ripen crops are dotted with green ones. The reason is that each crop is grown at different times.

Getting to Bac Son

Bac Son attracts a lot of travelers during harvesting seasons.
Bac Son attracts a lot of travelers during harvesting seasons.

You can come to many bus stations in Hanoi (My Dinh, Gia Lam and Luong Yen) to buy bus tickets to Lang Son. The bus fare ranges from VND 100,000 to 170,000 dong. When arriving at Lang Son Station, catch a taxi to Bac Son Valley; this journey will take 60 kilometers.

3. Red River Delta

Different from the mountainous area, rice terraces in Red River Delta have their own irresistible and alluring beauty.

Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)

When to go?

From the end of May to the beginning of June

What to see?

Tam Coc in harvesting season
Tam Coc in harvesting season

Tam Coc – Bich Dong is one of the most popular tourist attractions in a Ninh Binh tour, besides Bai Dinh Pagoda, Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, and Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. With its system of caves, limestone mountains, captivating rice paddies, this place is considered as a ‘Ha Long Bay on the land’ and is a famous place for an eco tour to Vietnam.

During harvesting seasons, rice fields in Tam Coc – Bich Dong are filled with the brilliant yellow color of ripening rice, highlighted by the green glimpse of mighty mountains and hills. Sitting on a wooden traditional rowboat is the best way to appreciate the beauty of this place. Along the river’s banks, you can see our hard-working peasants harvesting rice, which is the signature scenery of Red River Delta during the ripening rice season.

Getting to Tam Coc

Tam Coc - Ha Long Bay on land
Tam Coc – Ha Long Bay on land

There are train and bus to Ninh Binh. From Ninh Binh city, take a taxi to Tam Coc, which is 6 kilometers to the south of Ninh Binh. On your trip to Tam Coc, you can visit Mua Caves and Hoa Lu Ancient Capital as well.

Start planning your tailor-made Vietnam tour by contacting one of our specialists…

Chi Nguyen

My name is Linh Chi, a true beach lover. My passion is to explore off-the-beaten-track destinations in Vietnam and introduce our S-shaped country's culture and beautiful scenery to friends all around the world.


  1. You have so many good posts, I’ve spent hours reading! Thank you so much for this free info. I’m currently in the North (Hanoi), where would you recommend I go around this time (early July)? It’s been raining a bit, can I still see Pu Luong before it’s yellow? Sa Pa or Ha Giang worth a visit still? Thanks again!!

    1. Thank you for your comment.
      July is the perfect time for you to visit Sapa, one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Vietnam. It is also convenient to transit to Sapa from Hanoi, you can travel by train or sleeper bus (See more: Bus in Vietnam: Types, Important Routes & How to Book Tickets).
      Besides, Ha Giang is a gorgeous destination that worth a trip of a lifetime. Therefore, we recommend you visit both of these sites. If you have a plan to travel to Sapa or Ha Giang, do not hesitate to contact us.

    1. The best time for rice fields in Mu Cang Chai is from late September until end of October.
      Local farmers start planting rice in May, June every year. March is also a beautiful time but there is no sight of terraced rice fields

  2. Dear Chi Nguyen,
    thank you for your extremely informative post! 🙂 it was a wonderful read. Just wondering, I will be visiting Hanoi in march and im thinking of staying at Ninh Binh, and experiencing sailing through Tam Coc rice paddies! Would this be recommended in March since harvest season is during End of May?
    Thank you so much for your input! I look forward to hearing from you!

    Warmest Regards,

    1. Dear Sir/ Madam,

      Thank you very much for your lovely comment. March is the best time to visit Vietnam since the weather is pleasant throughout our country, not too hot nor too cold; and you can experience fresh air everywhere.

      Since the harvest season in Tam Coc last from May to June, I am afraid that you cannot capture golden rice fields here in March. However, you can have a chance to see emerald paddies at this time, which is a typical scenery of Northern Vietnam’s countryside.

      If you are looking for a tour to Vietnam in March, please take a look at this link:

      See you in Vietnam soon.


  3. Thank you for your blog! very useful. I will be going to Hanoi end of May. Will it be possible to see Tam Coc and Trang An in one day? If not, which is nicer around late May, Tom Coc or Trang An? Thank you.

    1. Dear Vanessa,

      Thank you for your comment. May is such a great time to see green paddy fields in Ninh Binh and you will find both places are beautiful at that time. However, since Tam Coc and Trang An are on different routes, it will be difficult for you to visit both of them on one day. For a day tour to Ninh Binh, we recommend 3 routes: 1. Hoa Lu – Tam Coc; 2. Bai Dinh – Trang An and 3. Mua Cave – Tam Coc. You can see our daily tours to Ninh Binh for your reference:

      If you can spend 2 days in Ninh Binh, you can be able to see both of them. This is the itinerary for 2 days 1 night in Ninh Binh:

      We wish you have a nice holiday in Vietnam and if you need any further assistance, please contact us.

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