The editors of American magazine Condé Nast Traveler have selected Mu Cang Chai and Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam among world’s 40 most colorful places “to brighten up winter days.”
Located in the northern highlands province of Yen Bai, Mu Cang Chai, home to ethnic minority groups, primarily the Hmong people, is around a seven hours drive northwest of Hanoi.
The remote rural district is famous for its terraced rice fields which change color depending on the time of the year, from green in late spring and summer to golden yellow in October during the harvest season.
“These rice paddies in Vietnam’s isolated northern reaches have gained Instagram fame for their impressive angles in a topographically challenging region,” Condé Nast Traveler said.
The magazine urged visitors to explore the rice paddies in early October when the rice harvest begins, and to stop by the fields twice in a day: once early in the morning before the crowds arrive, and a second time at sunset.
Around 500 kilometers from Mu Cang Chai, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay, in Quang Ninh Province, is well known for its “blue-green water, and spectacular limestone karst landforms.”
Limestone karst mountains rise from turquoise waters in Ha Long Bay. Photo by Meo Gia
The magazine advised tourists to rent a junk to cruise through thousands of small vegetation-covered islands and towering limestone cliffs that dot the mist-shrouded bay.
The most ideal time to visit the natural wonder is between March and April and September to November as there is very little rain and cruise conditions are near perfect.
Other Asian places featured in the list included Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, Kawachi Fuji Gardens and Hitachi Seaside Park in Japan and Zhangye National Geopark in China.
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