Rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai

Yen Bai

Yen Bai, a land of the rugged mountains that conceal so many records of history, of the breathtaking mountain passes which made many battles of Vietnam into legends, of the evergreen tea plantations which hypnotize the travelers passing by, of the golden rice terraces which have defined the standards of the wild beauty of north-western Vietnam, of the ethnic minorities whose life has remained unchanged for centuries, of the fresh hill stations whose climate remains almost unchanged all year round... is not yet on the tour itineraries or travel plans of most travellers to Vietnam.

Muong Lo Valley
Muong Lo Valley

Yen Bai is little-known to the traveler communities. Travelers started to know about Yen Bai through photos taken by some adventure photographers which showed the stunning beauty of the rice terraces, of the rugged mountains and of the green tea plantations.

Tu Le Cao Pha Valley
Rice terraces at Tu Le, yen Bai, Vietnam

Nowadays, with the upgrade of the road system and the economic developments in the area, Yen Bai is getting known more to the outside world and to the adventure travel communities. Still, there's little information about Yen Bai and due to lack of tourism infrastructure, that traveling through the province for the whole day, it's often that no other travelers caught in sight. Paradissa Travel has got a number of community-oriented adventure tours and photography tours through Yen Bai, if you need further information, please don't hesitate to contact our Vietnam travel experts.

Tu Le - Cao Pha Valley
Tu Le - Cao Pha Valley

Reading this article and planning to travel through Yen Bai, then be prepared to expect the unexpected, be planned that your travel plan be changed, be aware that local people are still curious about the outside world, be known that the unknown remains in the local culture...A trip through Yen Bai can be a challenge or a reward; it could help to accumulate many unforgettable memories of adventure travel or it could disappoint the tourists who are more used to amenities...all depends on individual travel tastes.

Khau Pha Pass, Mu Cang Chai
Khau Pha Pass, Yen Bai, Vietnam

Yen Bai is a mountainous province, located in the heart of the North West of Vietnam, 200km from Ha Noi.  The province is bordered to the north by Lao Cai Province, to the west by Son La Province, to the east by Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang Provinces, and to the south by Phu Tho Province.

Yen Bai has a very uneven terrain ranging from flat plains (the biggest one is Muong Lo Valley) to rugged mountains of over 2,500 m in altitude (the highest is the Hoang Lien Mountain Range of over 3,000 m in elevation).

Gia Hoi, Van Chan
Gia Hoi, Van Chan

Due to differences in altitude and terrain, the weather pattern of each district of Yen Bai tends to vary from one  to another. Generally, Yen Bai has a tropical monsoon climate with average temperature ranging from 20-22o C, with average annual rainfall of 1,500-2,200 mm and average humidity of 83-87%. It tends to rain a lot in the period from May through October while it remains dry for most other times of the year. During the summer, it may get up to 37-38oC in the low altitudes like Yen Bai City while it may go down to below Zero degree Celsius during the winter months in the mountains and hill stations.

Tourist Attractions and what to see in Yen Bai
Thac Ba Lake: 150 km from Ha Noi, the lake can be visited on a cruise by motor-boat.

Thac Ba Lake Yen Bai Vietnam
Thac Ba Lake, Yen Bai, Vietnam

Suoi Giang Hill Station: located about 1,400m above sea level with cool climate all year round, the commune is known for tea trees of over hundred years old which provide the famed Shan Tuyet tea.

Tea plantations at Suoi Giang, Van Chan
Tea plantations at Suoi Giang, Van Chan

Nghia Lo Town in Muong Lo Valley: 200 km from Ha Noi, 800 m above sea level. The town and the valley offers bike tours to nearby Thai ethnic villages.

Tu Le and Cao Pha Valley: known to photographers for the stunning rice terraces.

Khau Pha Pass: the pass is over 1,200m above sea level which provides breathtaking views of Tu Le and Cao Pha Valley. This is a must stop for photographers passing by.

Rice terraces at La Pan Tan, Mu Cang Chai
Rice terraces at La Pan Tan, Mu Cang Chai

Mu Cang Chai: 300km from Ha Noi, 900 m above sea level. The district is famed for stunning rice terraces and captivating mountains. Mu Cang Chai has more of a temperate climate with summer temperatures hardly above 30 Degrees Celsius.

Ta Chi Nhu (Phu Song Sung, 2,979m) and Ta Xua (2,865m) in Tram Tau District are the 6th and 10th highest mountain peaks in Vietnam respectively. Paradissa could organize trekking tours to these mountain peaks from Hanoi for 3 days, 2 nights each.

There are quite a few hotsprings in Yen Bai at Cat Thinh (Van Chan District), Nghia Lo Town, Tram Tau District, Tu Le… that you may like to combine with a homestay experience at a local Hmong or Thai family which could be a lovely relaxing holiday. On these tours, you can take part in activities such as cycling in the countryside, visiting ethnic villages, enjoying traditional dance, learning how to cook ethnic cuisine… The trips are suitable for both couples and families alike.

Travel & Tours and things to do in Yen Bai
Paradissa offers adventure holidays, trekking trips, photography tours and tailor-made motorbike tours, mountain-biking adventures to Yen Bai and the North West of Vietnam.

Harvesting in Muong Lo Valley
Harvesting in Muong Lo Valley

There are decent hotels and mid-range hotels in Yen Bai City and in Nghia Lo Town. Simple guest houses can be found in most townships in the province. Homestay is available in Nghia Lo, Tu Le and Mu Cang Chai.

Getting there and away
Yen Bai City, 170km from Hanoi, is the provincial capital. From Hanoi you can travel to Yen Bai by railroad or by road. By road, you can either travel via National Route 2 or National Route 32 depending on the destination.