Coming to Mu Cang Chai district in the blooming season of Bauhinia variegata

Monday, January 21st, 2019 - 8:24 AM


The most beautiful road of Mu Cang Chai is from the Than Uyen district to Mu Cang Chai district and Nghia Lo town. This time I did not come to the rural Mu Cang Chai of Yen Bai province by the route that I’ve usually come; instead, I went from from Lai Chau province to Binh Lu and Tam Duong. From here I took a motorcycle taxi with a cost that is five times higher than regular bus service in order to get to this foggy town, which is located in Hoang Lien Son mountain range. Mu Cang Chai has a magnificent view. National Highway 32, which is operated by China, was named Huu Nghi, is 60 kilometers long. It is extended from Nam Phat to Kim 3-way Intersection, which was built in 1971. This highway is now paved and is surrounded by beautiful white Bauhinia flowers. Another wonderful sight on the highway is the presence of Nam Kim waterfall, which flows from 2985 meter- Pung Lung peak and passes by ten towns of Mu Cang Chai. This creates a beautiful and romantic scenery for Mu Cang Chai. It is foggy throughout the entire winter here at Mu Cang Chai. On average, fog surrounds Mu Cang Chai for about 40 to 60 days. Mu Cang Chai has two blooming seasons. During winter, we can see wild red peach flowers bloom all over the forest, which are called “hoa to day” by the native Hmong that live here. Winter is also the blooming season of white plum flowers, while March is the season of Bauhinia flowers. I am always amazed by the gorgeous white Bauhinia that bloom on several mountain passes such as Pha Din (Dien Bien Phu city), Son La, or Ma (entrance to Moc Chau plateau). But the breathtaking scenery that impresses me the most is the sight of white Bauhinia nearby Nam Kim waterfall. It is worth a trip to come here to see these beautiful flowers and be amazed by the wonder of nature. Another beautiful scenery of Mu Cang Chai, the district of Yen Bai province, which is on the north of Lao Cai and also on the south of Son La, is the sight of green terrace. The dry season begins from November to May while the rainy season (monsoon) begins from June. The native Hmong at Mu Cang Chai created terrace, a type of farming that is made up of many “steps”. Terrace is used to grow crops that need irrigation such as rice crops. The governor of Yen Bai province is now registering this wonderful type of farming to be the cultural heritage of Vietnam. In this 2150 hectare (5313 acre) of terrace, each paddy field is formed in a unique and spectacular way. Another thing that makes the terrace in Mu Cang Chai look magnificent is that it is formed on the slopes of high mountains, in which Nam Kim River flows by. On the opposite of Mo De town (2100-meter-high) is Lao Chai Son village (1776 meter high). A little farther away, there is Hang Gang hamlet. And a little farther down, there is Ta Dong (1900 meter high). Up to Che Tao is La Hang (2050-meter-high) and Phu Ba (2512 meter high). The key features of Mu Cang Chai Beside the beautiful green terrace, the forest here at Mu Cang Chai is also very impressive. There are 30,000 hectares (74132 acre) of old-growth or primary forest. In the old-growth forest, there is a natural reserve, which protects many wild plants and animals. The rarest animals at this natural reserve are the Rufous-necked Hornbill birds (Aceros nipalensis). There are only about 30 of them at Mu Cang Chai and Phu Nat National Park. Other rare animals are the Black Crested Gibbons, which are about 100 of them that live at Muong La (Mu Cang Chai) and they are currently protected by FFI (Fauna and Flora International). One famous local type of fruit is “tao Meo”, or rose apples, with scientific name Docynia indica. The native at Mu Cang Chai said these rose apples grow naturally. Rose apple trees will bear fruits in September. I have eaten rose apples at Sa Pa, a district at Lao Cai province in north-west Vietnam. These apples were so bitter that I had to eat them with salt. However, they have a very distinctive taste that makes me want to eat them again. The wine made from rose apples is delicious. At the love market in Sapa, I saw many native HMong and Dao girls were happy when their partners offered them rose apple wine. It would be pretty interesting to have a sip of wine while listening to “ken la”, an instrument made from leaves. One rose apple tree can produce 500 kilograms of apples each season while there are 2000 hectares (4942 acres) of rose apple trees at Mu Cang Chai. It is obvious to see how abundant rose apples are at this northern district of Vietnam.