Hoang Su Phi, a rural area in the remote province of Ha Giang, is regarded as one of the most beautiful areas in the whole of Vietnam. It is in the far north close to the border with China, a place of ethnic tribes who eke out a living in difficult terrain. There are just over 50,000 inhabitants and their rice terraces are extremely important to their survival. Terrace farming has existed for many centuries and there seems little that can improve the way that the locals grow their food.
If you really want to fully enjoy the natural environment during your Vietnam tour, then this is a place to consider. Few overseas tourists visit at this point but if you want to include Ha Giang in your Vietnam travel itinerary, talk to a Hanoi travel agent for more information. You won’t regret it. You may enjoy a homestay while in the region; after all, you should not expect 5-star hotels, but the things you will see will more than compensate for any slight discomfort you may suffer.
The obvious starting point for a visit to the north is the capital Hanoi. The infrastructure in the north has certainly improved and with good relations in place with China, it is obviously important that transport communications are good. Even so, Hoang Su Phi is still very remote because the terrain means that the roads are inevitably slow and winding.
Tourism has made an impact on many parts of Vietnam, but to date, Hoang Su Phi and Ha Giang in general has changed little. The ethnic tribes live as they always have done and that means growing their food to survive. There are several ethnic tribes, distinguishable by their clothing but all need to grow their crops.
The need for terraces is obvious. This limestone region is above 1,000 metres and the slopes need to be adapted to agriculture. It is important to stop soil erosion and during the rainy season, it would be difficult to retain the soil without the construction of terraces, barriers to retain the goodness in the land.
The rice is sown in rows at the start of the summer and is harvested before winter returns. The fact that the rice is sown in rows in itself helps to limit the flow of water away from the terrace. When the rice is first sown, the water within each terrace glistens in the sun, but as the weeks go by, shoots begin to appear. They grow to create a different sight; green that thickens and darkens towards harvest time. When the rice is ready for harvest, they appear golden to the eye. When it comes to the best time to visit Hoang Su Phi Terraces, you can decide for yourself. The height of summer is hot and humid but the sight of the green terraces on your Vietnam holiday more than compensates and you will be before the high season for the locals which tends to be October and November.