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Yen Bai in Vietnam is an agricultural-based province located at the gateway to the Northwest of Vietnam. If looking for an off-the-beaten-track shelter to enjoy the authentic sense of highland life and the unspoiled nature, just head to Yen Bai.

Yen Bai is 183km away from Hanoi. The province has an area of 6899.5km2, and shares the borders with Lao Cai and Ha Giang Provinces in the North, Tuyen Quang Province in the East, Son La Province in the west, and Phu Tho Province in the South. The two big rivers in Yen Bai include Hong River and Chay River. As the agricultural-base land, the major economy of this province is about forestry and farming. Also, Yen Bai today remains attractive with several unbeatable highlights for tourism including the beautiful Thac Ba Lake, the Thac Ba Hydropower Plant, traditional ethnic villages in Nghia Lo, and especially is the stunning Mu Cang Chai Terraced Rice Field. Besides, Yen Bai gains fame for lots of festivals celebrated by the ethnic minorities such as Mong ethnic cultural festival or Muong Lo cultural week.

Tourist Attractions in Yen Bai – Vietnam

Nghia Lo Town with Thai’s Ethnic Village

Believably, the best tourist attraction in Yen Bai is Nghia Lo town, where owns the long-lasting Thai’s ethnic villages and the picturesque Muong Lo paddy field. Coming to Nghia Lo, you can enjoy the exciting activities of biking, walking, and homestay so that the local culture becomes the great subject to learn. As the real taste of highland life is preserved in Nghia Lo, the visit to this town lets you see the breathtaking pictures of the friendly highlanders, the poetic Muong Lo, and the grandiose mountain. Such pictures are also dotted with lots of stilted houses. What’s more, in the center of Nghia Lo Town, there stand out Muong Lo Market – was once the largest market in the whole northwestern region and is now the commercial hub of Yen Bai.

Nghia Lo is about 200km from Hanoi, which you can visit easily by coaches. Along the coach route, expect to feast the eyes on the marvelous view of the spellbinding nature.

Biking at Muong Lo Valley in Yan Bai

Mu Cang Chai–Nationally Recognized Terraced Rice Field

Mu Cang Chai is a renowned district of Yen Bai, winning praises for the creative and heavenly terraced rice field. The destination is nestled at the bottom of Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range and is 1000m above the sea level. To reach Mu Cang Chai, the tourists will go through Khau Pha Pass – one of the four leading passes in the Northwest of Vietnam. Therefore, it’s sure that the journey to Mu Cang Chai is full of the imposing landscape.

In particular, Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism did recognize the terraced rice fields in Che Cu Nha, La Pan Tan, and Ze Xu Phinh as the national landscapes. In any talk about Mu Cang Chai, the strength of this site lies in the bewitching nature of terraced paddy field, mountain, and ethnic people, rather than the sense of modern luxury. The unique mesmerizing beauty of Mu Cang Chai has been attracting every so-called nature lover all over the world. This creatively gorgeous terraced paddy field is the hard evidence to prove that human hand can create the masterpiece in harmony with nature, making Mu Cang Chai the outstanding attraction in Vietnam. The two best months for Mu Cang Chai photo tour should be September and October.

Mu Cang Chai Terraced Rice Fields in Yen Bai

Thac Ba Lake

This is the artificial lake built in 1970 for the first hydropower plant development. Thac Ba Lake has an area of 234km2 including 1.1331 islands and hills with the rich ecological conditions. The lake itself looks impressive with the blue & clear water, lots of hills, islands, and caves. Besides, Thac Ba Temple on the bank of the lake looks highly sacred. Coming to this ecotourism site, you enjoy the activities of sightseeing, mountain climbing, and hiking. Please note that Thac Ba Lake is one of three Vietnam’s biggest artificial lakes!

Talking a walk in Thac Ba Lake, you’ll be impressed by the reflections of the ancient forests on the blue, transparent water. There are also lots of fascinating sites to see in the area including Thuy Tien Cave, Xuan Long Cave, Trinh Nam Island, etc. Together with the ecotourism value, Thac Ba Lake is recognized as the historical and cultural vestige. This area is the home to dozens of ethnic minority groups who preserve their traditional life as well as the colorful traditional festivals. Without a doubt, Thac Ba has long been Yen Bai people’s pride.

Thac Ba Lake in Yen Bai

How to Get to Yen Bai

First, the great option is using a motorbike. Yen Bai is around 183km from Hanoi, so you can drive a motorbike to there if wanted. The National Highway No.32 links Lao Cai and National Highway No. 37 connecting to Tuyen Quang. Yen Bai is the transit point to aim.

Second, take a public bus from Hanoi to Yen Bai! It is a very long journey to go by bus. Instead of buses, it’s much better to use the coach service. Buy a coach ticket to arrive at Yen Bai in the good condition.

Third, there is a train from Hanoi to Yen Bai City. Such train often departs at night (such as 7:40PM, 8:35PM, 9:10PM, 9:50PM) so that you reach Yen Bai train station in the morning. The train might take 4-5 hours.

When you’re in Yen Bai, take it easy to take buses to visit the local highlights namely Mu Cang Chai Town, Thac Ba Lake, or Muong Lo Town. Besides, the good recommendation is to connect the Yen Bai Tour to Sapa Town of Lao Cai Province. The Sapa supplement perfects your trip to the Northwest of Vietnam.

The Best Time to Visit Yen Bai in Vietnam

The majority of Yen Bai is about rainforest, subtropical and mountainous, within tropical monsoon season.

  • December to January: They are winter months with the dry and cold condition, drizzles might come.
  • February to April: They are the best months to visit Yen Bai. The sky is very clear, and the temperature is comfortable (around 230C to 290C) that makes outdoor exploration of Yen Bai goes smooth.
  • May to August: They are the hot and rainy months (temperature can rise to 290C – 330C). The rain makes outdoor activities difficult and inconvenient.
  • September to October: They indicate the harvest season in Mu Cang Chai terraced rice field – the best time to see the yellow-coated and vast paddy field.
  • November to December: They are the transitional months when Yen Bai is going to enter the winter season. The weather is relatively cool, and the sky is very clear, which make them two of the best months to visit Yen Bai.

These are just the general interpretation of weather in Yen Bai. Of course, each month gives Yen Bai the different charming face to allure the tourists. For instance, if wanting to feast the eyes on the imposing yellow-coated and vast terraced paddy field, just come to Yen Bai in September or October, and then proceed to Mu Cang Chai! Otherwise, if you love to see some unspoiled parts of Yen Bai are covered in the winter vibe, come there from December from January. It is your choice!