All you need to know to travel Muong Hoa Valley (Sapa)
Muong Hoa Valley Travel Guide 2019-2020: What to do, When to visit and more...
I. Where is Muong Hoa Valley? What makes Muong Hoa Valley special?
Located in Hau Thao Commune just about 10km from Sapa, owning a cool fresh climate with diverse nuances, the emerald green Muong Hoa Valley features some of the most breathtakingly picturesque landscapes in Vietnam. Home to Ban Ho, Lao Chai, Ta Van, Hau Thao, Ta Phin, and Su Pa ethnic minority populations, Muong Hoa Valley is the largest farmland in Sapa and a culture-rich place that can hardly found elsewhere.
However, what makes Muong Hoa special is that the terraced fields in the valley result from the combination of the water rice planting technique in the narrow valley terrain of the Giay people and ground-breaking techniques on the high mountains of the H’mong and Dao peoples. The natural beauty combining with the creativity of the human working on the paddy fields has created an enchanting venue full of attractive romantic scenery.
That is why Muong Hoa Valley is one of the most appealing tourist attractions in any Sapa tours that alluring a large number of both domestic and international tourists. Just get here, sit back and contemplate the scenes of Muong Hoa Valley, your stresses and worries will be gone.
II. What are the best things to do at Muong Hoa Valley?
- Capturing the gorgeous terraced fields in Lao Chai Village
Settled by nature (and also humans), the padding fields in Lao Chai appeared on the mountainside looking like stairs leading up to the summit. This scene becomes extremely interesting when coming in the ripping season, with a golden color filling Muong Hoa space that visitors can not help admiring. Get here and take some selfies, your Instagram page will look very special with the photos taken here.
- Living like a local in Ta Van Village
Booking a homestay and witness daily activities in Ta Van Village is a great idea to experience every aspect of a local’s life. In Ta Van Village, mostly Giay and Dao groups reside. They live in the stilted houses that are built along the slope of the rice terrace fields surrounding by the mighty mountains and are made out of wood entirely. When night falls, the locals in Ta Van Village would gather together and do their usual nightly musical show routine to celebrate a whole day of hard working. There will be traditional fan dancing, bamboo dancing, multi bamboo flute dancing… around a huge campfire.
- Visiting the ancient stone in Ban Pho Village
Spreading over more than 4km long, 2km wide, at least 159 rocks containing numerous mysterious patterns is the rendezvous of many research scientists at home and abroad. Today, the ancient carving area is ranked national relics, the unique heritage of the ancient Vietnamese people. Almost all of the populations of the ancient rock field with beautiful carvings have concentrated in Ban Pho Village. With the large rocks, there are many carvings on the surface expressing unique meanings. Most of the scientists evaluate that this is a great heritage of mankind, not only in terms of aesthetic value but also spiritual significance.
The journey of exploring the Sapa tour will be definitely much more memorable when tourists set foot on the wonderful valley.
The ancient stone area in Muong Hoa Valley does not only have great aesthetic value but also has many spiritual meanings. Consequently, Sapa ancient stone area was recognized as one of the national-level historical relics by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 1994.
- Joining the (Church) Singing Festival in Ta Phin Village
Ta Phin, a splendid brocade village, regularly holds the church singing festival for the first few weeks of spring. This is actually the traditional wedding as brides and grooms parading through the village while locals sing and dance around them. If you can catch the right time, you may have a unique experience witnessing the customs of the Red Dao people, and admiring the colorful outfits worn by the young lovers during the event. Enjoy, and take home some untold stories about the life in Muong Hoa Valley.
- Hiking along Hoa Stream
With 15km long, passing Lao Chai, Ta Van, Hau Thao, and Ban Ho communes, the lovely Hoa Stream is the lower section of the famous waterfall called Bac (Silver) Waterfall. Twenty-two streams running from forests and mountain creeks join together to make Hoa Stream and its lively flow.
In the ripe rice season, the yellow shade from the terraced rice fields shines down to the crystal clear Hoa Stream setting off the subtle beauty of Muong Hoa Valley. To cross the stream, local people living along the banks built rattan bridges, which add to the beauty of the valley and attract a lot of tourists to stop by and take unique memorable photos.
- Enjoying the view from a train across Muong Hoa Valley
Launched since 2018, the Muong Hoa Mountain Railway, connecting Sa Pa town with the Fansipan cable car station, has truly enriched tourists’ experiences. With a total length of approximately 2km, this is one of the longest mountain railways of Vietnam traveling through two tunnels and four viaducts. Having a panorama view from the cabin windows, passengers can enjoy the magnificent picture of nature, a perfect arts masterpiece by the earth and human beings of Muong Hoa Valley.
Also, when reaching the Fansipan cable car station, passengers will be able to explore the local market which boasts a wide variety of colorful brocade clothing and unique specialties. They can join cultural exchange activities with traditional music and dance program, and folk games (not to mention diverse night time activities for tourists such as campfires, traditional dances and impressive performances by European artists).
- Tasting local specialties
Don’t be afraid of making friends with locals along the way trekking Muong Hoa Valley. They are friendly and will be happy to invite you home and treat you with their favorite dishes, all are home-made, like Thang Co (made from horse meat, often used as hotpot), Lon Ban (small pig’s meat is used for roasting or grilled), Ga Ac (black chicken baked with honey), or Com Lam (baked rice in a bamboo tube)… Those foods are rich in flavor and should be the hard-to-forget dining experience.
III. The best time to travel Muong Hoa Valley
September-November / March-May: stable weather, dry sunny days, cold nights. Suitable for picnics and homestay.
April-May: is the time of transplanting rice on terraced fields, and also the flowering season. If you want to have great photos, travel to Mu9ng Hoa at this time.
September-October: is the rice crop season with golden scenery across the hills. With fresh and pleasant air, you can make long-distance trips.
December-February: it is very cold, ice can be found and sometimes it snows. This is also the bloom season of peach blossoms. However, traveling through the villages may be more or less difficult.
According to tourists’ experience, probably September is the most favorable time to visit Muong Hoa Valley. In September, when the bright yellow color of ripening rice is everywhere, Muong Hoa becomes more beautiful thanks to the combination of green forests and ivory-white clouds. Not to mention, at different times of the day, Muong Hoa Valley displays a distinctive beauty. In the honey-colored early morning sun, the valley is full of vitality, freshness, and radiance. At dusk, blue smoke from humble houses blends with drifting clouds, making the autumn picture more dreamlike.
IV. How to get to Muong Hoa Valley (from Sapa)
Since Muong Hoa is easily accessible from Sapa town, tourists can make a trek in an hour or so to get to the valley while enjoying the beautiful scenery en route.
Else, you can hail a taxi traveling from Sapa town to Muong Hoa at VND100,000 (~$5).
Alternatively, you may rent a motorbike, which costs around VND 20,000 (~$1) and ride it your own to Muong Hoa Valley. The road itself is not difficult – but beware of slipperiness during rainy days.
Reference: How to get to Sapa from Hanoi
Being more than 300km far away from Hanoi, Sapa can be reached by the following vehicles:
Train: With about 8 hours of traveling, the train is the most taken way many people choose to get to Sapa because it is safe and affordable. Fares range from $ 6- $ 12, depending on the facilities you prefer. However, the downside of taking the train is that it will not go straight to Sapa town but just stop at Lao Cai Station, which is 40km away from Sapa. You will need another forward bus.
Bus: With the same travel time, at a cost of about $12, you will go straight to Sapa town without the need for intermediaries (but in the rainy season can be hindered by many folding passes. rapid from Lao Cai to Sapa).
In addition, you can rent a motorbike to drive yourself from Hanoi to Sapa. Although renting a motorbike is not a big deal, but we do not encourage you to do this, especially when you first come to Vietnam. Ensure your safety first.