A golden season in the rice paddies

Nga Do
Head north this fall to fill your memory cards with carpets of gold. Up in the mountains of northern Vietnam, terraced rice fields are reaching their glorious peak, drowning the whole area in shades of yellow that remind one of the golden vistas found in Van Gogh's masterpieces.

Starting this month, the communes of Y Ty and Muong Hum in Lao Cai Province will step into the harvest season, followed by Mu Cang Chai in the middle of the month and Hoang Su Phi next month. Jot them down so you don’t return home regretting having missed this stunning spectacle.

Muong Hum, Sang Ma Sao, Lao Cai Province

Sang Ma Sao is a remote commune 70 kilometers from Sa Pa. The terraced fields here have long been the main model for many landscape photographers. Rice in Sang Ma Sao ripens from September 5.

Y Ty, A Lu - Lao Cai Province

Lying 100 kilometers from Lao Cai City, Y Ty is a charming option for a glimpse of the golden paddy fields, though it's better-known for its clouds among  the backpacking community. Y Ty's pallette is made up of yellow paddies, the green jungle, white clouds and the cozy brown of the ethnic minorities’ clay houses.

Cat Cat, Ta Van - Sa Pa District

In Sa Pa, some fields have already turned yellow, ready to bear “fruit” in the middle of September. The villages of Ta Van and Ta Phin are two popular attractions perfect for those who love exploring by motorbike.

La Pan Tan, Mu Cang Chai - Yen Bai Province

Mu Cang Chai attracts its own fandom with terraced fields that fill the valleys with color. La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and De Xu Phinh have all been recognized as national monuments by Vietnam, further cementing their position as tourist attractions. This year, rice will ripen around September 15 and be ready for harvest a few days later.

Tu Le - Yen Bai Province

Tu Le Commune sits right next to the Khau Pha Pass, offering a prime view of the wooden houses that dot the paddies. The rice in Tu Le was still green at the time this article was written, but will be ready for photos come the end of September.

Hoang Su Phi - Ha Giang Province

The terraced fields in Hoang Su Phi District are agreed by many to be the perfect end to the “rice tour” of Vietnam's northern mountains. Rice here ripens later than other places and is at its beautiful best after October 10.

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