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8 Most Breathtaking Rice Terraces In Asia

From Mu Cang Chai of Vietnam to Tegalalang of Indonesia, rice terraces vary in sizes and colors, offering an endless list of breathtaking sights to whom want to tickle them off their bucket list.

1. Sapa Rice Terraces, Vietnam

308 kilometers northwest of Hanoi, Sapa is one of the most popular tourist attraction of Vietnam and once you are been there, don’t miss its amazing rice terrace fields.

308 kilometers northwest of Hanoi, Sapa is one of the most popular tourist attraction of Vietnam and once you are been there, don’t miss its amazing rice terrace fields.

Rice terraces have been cultivated in Sapa for hundreds of year by a number of ethnic minorities such as the H’mong, the Dao, the Tay, the Ha Nhi from generation to generation.

From the distance, the beautiful terraces look like a ladder with thousand steps toward the sky. The large rice fields are not only supplied food for the local, they also provide a breathtaking natural painting for travelers.

In summer, the whole fields are filled with bright green color like a carpet of the giant...

....and while you are still being astonished, the carpet turns to a brilliant yellow in late autumn creating a best-ever picture you have never seen in your life 

Not only terraced rice fields, there are many other things that can keep you busy all day like exploring the cultural diversity of its ethnic tribes in Sapa market 

Easy access from Hanoi by bus or train, you can explore the beauty of rice terraces in summer and autumn as well as other famous sites and local traditions. The best way to see the terraces is by hiking up the hills and valleys with a local tour guide.

Things to do:

Rice terrace fields aren’t the most interesting things to see in Sapa. There are many other things that can keep you busy all day.

-Explore the cultural diversity of its ethnic tribes through their festivals such as Gau Tao from the first to 15th January of the lunar calendar (the biggest festival of H’mong ethnic group in Sapa to celebrate New Year), Nao Cong festival in June of the lunar calendar.

- Shop at Sapa market: You can buy handmade products and admire the colorful clothing of the ethnic groups.

- Hike Fansipan mountains: 20 kilometers from Sapa, Fansipan is the most attraction for trekkers.

- Visit Silver waterfall: A trip to Silver waterfall which is less than 15 kilometers from the center of town, you will able to see the stunning scenery of the fall surrounding by the lush forest of Hoang Lien Son National park.

Featured tours including Sapa

Postcard of Vietnam is the best tour that includes Sapa in its journey. This tour covers all the beauty and the differences between the North and South of Vietnam. Discovering what makes this country so special and intriguing or contact our Travel Expert to design your own one.

2. Mu Cang Chai Rice Terraces, Vietnam

Situated in Yen Bai province of northern Vietnam, about 300 kilometers from Hanoi, Mu Cang Chai is located at the foot of Hoang Lien Son mountain ranges

To get to this place, travelers must conquer Khau Pha Pass, which is one of the most winding, dangerous and hair- rising passes of the country 

But the award for your bravery is worthy: Mu Cang Chai features the most stunning rice terraces in Vietnam.

Thanks to its pleasant climate, Mu Cang Chai is beautiful at any time of the year. But for best photos, there are two best times to visit: The first one is between April and June when the locals bring water to the fields to start a new rice season, the terraces then look like a big mirror reflecting sunbeam sparking on the water surface 

The second time is between mid - September and mid – October, also that Mu Cang Chai is the most sparkling 

At that time, the massive fields change from green to shining yellow color which allures every photography lover 

After 8 hour driving from Hanoi by bus, you get the chance to admire the impressive Mu Cang Chai rice terraces and explore the local ethnic cultures of Tay and H’mong people.

After 8 hour driving from Hanoi by bus, you get the chance to admire the impressive Mu Cang Chai rice terraces and explore the local ethnic cultures of Tay and H’mong people.

Trekking and home staying in the remote villages are interesting activities included.

 Things to do:

Once you get to Mu Cang Chai, make sure you can partake of the annual largest paragliding festival which happens from 22th - 24th of September at Khau Pha mountain pass. This festival attracts thousands of visitors and is the best way to view the breathtaking rice terraces from the height of 1,200 meters.

3. Yuanyang Rice Terraces, Yunnan, China

Yuanyang County Rice Terraces situated in the southern Ailao mountains is home to the Hami and Yi tribes. Their ancestors had created these stunning rice terraces more than 1,000 years ago for cultivation, but they might never know that one day their fields become famous worldwide.

The best time to visit is from January to March when the terraces have been irrigated after harvesting, the water reflects the sky and cloud are most likely. From late February to March, pink peach blossom and white pear blossom fill the vast land with beautiful color

It takes 8 hours journey by bus from Kunming to Xinjie town of Yuanyang county which is close to the terraces. Yuanyang terraces now are the World Heritage Site in China, only a few tourist facilities have been set up there so it is well preserved. 

The tribe villages are 1,600 meters above the sea level that makes it tough to access but highly worth it 

Things to do:

Yunnan Province covers an area of 394,000 square kilometers, offers many things for you to discover. You can visit Lijiang ancient town, experience the minority cultures of Bai, Dai, Naxi groups, hiking the Meili Snow Mountain and visit Songzanlin Lamasery - a Tibetan monastery.

4. Jiabang Rice Terraces, Guizhou, China

For an off the beaten path trip in Guizhou, China, Jiabang rice terraces is a trip must do. Not very far from Congjiang town (about 80 kilometers), these colorful fields here are among most beautiful ones in wide China. While Sapa and Mu Cang Chai terraces of Vietnam have only 1-time harvest per year, Jiabang has double.

The terraces extend over 40 kilometer square with hills and several villages of ethnic minority groups. It boasts a fascinating landscape all time of the year. When it is spring, the yellow rapeseed flowers set the tone. When the rice is planted, the terraces are changed gradually from green to yellow which provide great shots for nature lovers 

If you are planning to go, take note two best times to visit is from April to June to appreciate mirror-like terraces, and from September to October for gold terraces.

Driving 80 kilometers from Congjiang Town, you can meet many tribes live in Guizhou such as Miao, Zhuang, Dong, Yao, Shui, and Han. Their costumes, music, traditions, food, and architecture mark this area unique. Visiting the site can be challenging however it promises an unforgettable adventure for whom made the trip

Things to do:

With more than 15 minority groups settled in Guizhou, you can discover the rich culture of the land by visiting these famous sites: Qingyan Ancient Town, Hongfeng Lake, Huangguoshu Waterfall, Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village, and Zhaoxing Dong village

5. Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Ubud is famous all over the world as a beautiful holiday destination, and you likely to find your soul lost in remarkable Tegalalang rice terraces. It’s true deep green color is due to the tropical climate of Bali 

High palm trees enhance the beauty of the elegant fields. Not only being the pride of local people, this place is also one of the most tourist attractions in Indonesia 

It lures a large number of visitors, photographers and painters come here to capture the picturesque and exotic landscape of Tegalalang 

It’s only 10 minutes to access the location from downtown Ubud. The local people are friendly, they will ask you to buy a coconut drink and a traditional hat. From here, you can also visit other terraces in the neighboring villages of Pejeng and Campuhan as well.

 Things to do:

There are so many things to do and see in Ubud beside Tegalalang rice terraces if you have enough time. Here are some suggestions for your list: Ubud Monkey Forest which lies on the fringes of the Ubud main centre, Goa Gajah 'Elephant Cave' - a region famous for historical collectors, Campuhan Ridge Walk for an escape from the bustles of the main streets, Ubud Art Market where you can find beautiful silk scarves, lightweight shirts, handmade woven bags, and many other hand-crafted goods, and Pura Taman Saraswati Temple - is a great stopover along your leisure walks through Ubud town,

6. Banaue Rice Terraces, Ifugao, Philippines

Located over 1,500 meters above the sea, Banaue Rice Terraces is the steepest rice field of the world, it was hand carved into the mountain of Ifugao more than 2,000 years ago and still utilized by the Igorot people until today 

It’s better to hire a guide if you want to discover the location otherwise you might get lost. The mountain hike can take some hours but the breathtaking panorama view of the terraced valley is the reward for your persistence. Best time to visit is between February and March and between June and July, before the harvest.  

You can get to the terraces by bus from Manila by bus. The journey takes around 8 hours but the road is in good condition and the view is amazing 

These rice terraces are the pride of the Filipinos, it is featured on the 20 peso banknote and is a National Cultural Treasure of the country. 

The rice fields are seen the best from what is called the Sunrise Viewpoint, where local Igorot people pose for photographs and sell wood carvings 

Things to do:

Ifugao has many things to offer if you take time to find out. Visit Tam An native village to know the culture, eat Pinikpikan - a famous Ifugao dish which requires the cook to tap a chicken on the head with a stick until it dies, trek to the hills and take a ride on a wooden bike, whether you’re a nature lover, an avid trekker or a serious mountaineer, you will find something to your liking.

7. Hamanoura Rice Terraces, Saga Prefecture, Japan

Due to agriculture has been active for thousands of year in this country, the rice terraces are popular in Japan’s mountainous countryside. They are often called “Senmaida” means thousand rice fields, because the field is divided into many small sections. Hamanoura is one of the most famous among them. 

The terraced rice fields facing the Genkai Sea become filled up with water from mid-April and fully planted with rice by early May. During this period,  when the setting sun dyes the ocean surface and the rice paddies all orange, the geometric patterns formed by the reflection of the sunset and the paths between the paddies create a fantastic view. That is the reason why this has also been named as  “Lover’s Sanctuary.” 

Located along the coast of Saga Prefecture, the rice fields of Hamanoura have a total of 283 fields from small to big ones, make up more than 11 hectares of astonishing view for both local and travelers. 

 

Hamanoura rice terraces are easy to access by train or bus and it is only 1 minute walking from the bus stop to the rice fields. This place is impressive all year round but the best time to visit is in spring, from mid-April to mid-May 

Things to do:

Saga in Japan is located on the island of Kyushu and famous for its tradition. You will be surprised how much you can find and enjoy here. One of the things you can do is learn the history of Saga at the Saga Castle History Museum - the largest wooden reconstructions of Japan. After that, you can take a tour 8 Shrines at Saga Shrine or enjoy a picnic at Sagajo Park to see the cherry blossoms in March and April but don’t forget Yasaka Shrine. This shrine has a sanctuary with over a hundred lanterns that get lit at night.

8. Annapurna Rice Terraces, Nepal

In Nepal, 65 percent of the population is working in agriculture. You may see Nepal’s rice terraces as less breathtaking than other rice fields but the atmosphere remains pristine and exclusive. Particularly, on the stunning terraces, the locals are eager to show you the most beautiful side of Nepal and their kindness is worth the detour.

 Unlike Bali, high altitude and cold winter of Himalaya let the fields go fallow over the winter. But in late February, the fields are revived with women’s singing when they planning for the next season’s crop.

 The fields are filled with the light green color of wheat, dark green color of potatoes and lentil. And later, in the monsoon, it will be rice

Nepal rice terraces are among the most untouched in the world; most of them are out of massive tourism, remains rustic spirit and acts as the backdrop of daily local life. To get there, you can take the bus from either Kathmandu (6 hours) or Pokhara (5 hours).

Things to do:

The legendary Annapurna region is the most diverse and popular trekking area in Nepal with Great Himalaya Trails. You can also discover your inner peace in the famous holy places like Boudhanath or Swayambhunath, take to the sky on thermals over the snow-capped mountains and pristine lakes or press your hands together and say Namaste to watch the people of Nepal return your gesture with their most welcoming smiles.

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