Muong Hoa Valley in Sapa
- Location: Muong Hoa Valley, Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam
- Recommended reason: ideal place for trekking or excursion
- Recommended activity: trekking
Muong Hoa Valley, located about 10 kilometers southeast of Sapa Town, is Sapa’s most celebrated scenic spot for its breathtaking scenery, ancient stone sculptures, minority villages and vertiginous terraced fields.
What to See in Muong Hoa Valley
Terraced fields are the best-known scenic spot in Muong Hoa Valley, which have been recognized as Vietnam’s largest terraced fields by the Vietnam Guinness Book. The best time to visit yellow terraced fields is in September and October when is the rice harvest season. In September, when the bright yellow color of ripening rice is everywhere, it’s a paradise for photographers and artists. If you visit the valley between May and October, you have the chance to observe and experience how the local people plant and harvest rice.
The most special thing about Muong Hoa Valley is its ancient stone sculptures, which is in various shapes and scattered in the grass and terraces. The stone is engraved with strange marks, scripts and motifs, and until now it is impossible to determine the source of the stones and the meaning of the marks. These odd stone sculptures attract numerous researchers, archeologists as well as tourists to explore its meaning and significance. This unique heritage of the ancient Vietnamese has become a national relic site.
Muong Hoa valley is home to a few ethnic minority groups including the H’mong, Dao, Zay, Ban Ho, Lao Chai, Ta Van, Hau Thao, Ta Phin and Su Pa, differentiated by their styles of dress, language as well as customs. They have been working on the sloping land and living their own ways for a hundred years. The friendly villagers are used to tourists and are open to interaction. Some women even speak a little English, they are happy to communicate with tourists and share fascinating stories about life.
Hoa Stream or Flower Stream, a 15 km long stream, flows quietly across the middle of the Muong Hoa Valley, passing Lao Chai, Ta Van, Hau Thao and Ban Ho communes and nourishing the land and the people. The upper reaches of the Hoa stream is the famed Bac Waterfall. 22 streams from the forest and mountain creeks together flowing downhill to form Muong Hoa Stream. In order to cross the river, people living on the banks of the river built the vine bridges. These bridges add to the beauty of the valley and attract many visitors who want to take stunning photos.
What to Do in Muong Hoa Valley
Trekking Muong Hoa Valley
For those who enjoy outdoor activities, Muong Hoa Valley is the ideal place for trekking or excursion. Visiting Muong Hoa Valley, you will enjoy an easy walk downhill and along Muong Hoa River, through terraced fields passing some hamlets. Muong Hoa valley lies between two high ranges of mountains running in the parallel south-east of Sa Pa town. It usually takes about 5 hours for visitors to walk downhill to the valley.
There are countless paths off the main path. Some are narrow but paved. And some are little more than muddy trails. In the morning mist and during the rainy season, the paths can get very slippery. Please do remember to put on some comfortable shoes. Some may also find walking sticks helpful as the paths can be very slippery and muddy.
Visit the Local School
Besides, you can visit the local school and enjoy a lovely lunch at traditional black Hmong home. The valley is truly one for those that want to experience what the local culture is all about. The living standard amongst the hill tribes is generally low. We advise a home stay night with a family, it really gives you a sense of how the people live here.
Best Time to Visit Muong Hoa Valley
Muong Hoa Valley, Sapa is a beautiful place for shooting rice field terraces. According to experts, Muong Hoa rice Terraces is suitable for taking photograph all the year round. At different timing, there will be a different theme. The rice planting season begins in May and reaches its peak in September and October when it’s harvested. If you are likely to take photos of the yellow ripen rice terraces, blue sky and white cloud, September and October are a good time to go.