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How to Travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai

Hanoi-to-Mu-Cang-Chai Valleys and terraced rice fields in Mu Cang Chai

With mesmerizing terraced fields and diverse local culture, Mu Cang Chai can imprint on your mind in the blink of an eye. If you are planning to witness its miraculous beauty, check out these 4 ways to travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai.

An Overview about Mu Cang Chai

Distance from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai: 300 km

  • Mu Cang Chai is a suburban district of Yen Bai Province, lies in the foot of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range - the largest and highest mountain range in Vietnam.
  • Mu Cang Chai is one of the amazing landscapes in Vietnam, thanks to the heart-throbbing mountain passes, panoramic terraced rice fields, and thrilling trekking trails.
  • Mu Cang Chai is also home to some of Vietnam's ethnic minorities such as the H'mong and the Thai people, offering an insight into the lives of the ethnic groups in Vietnam.

Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai original bike2

The rural scene in Mu Cang Chai is unforgettable

See Where to Stay in Mu Cang Chai

  • Best time to travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai: September - October
  • The most popular transports to travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai: motorbike, train, bus, taxi

4 Ways to Travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai

Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai by Motorbike

What is a Vietnam trip without riding on a motorbike? Daunting yet exciting, this transport offers you an authentic adventure from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai. Rent a motorbike in Hanoi and start the journey in the early morning, spare some time to rest on the road. Also, carefully map out your directions and follow motorbike-riding precautions strictly. If you are not accustomed to riding a motorbike for long hours, traveling in two days is not a bad idea. 

Duration for the motorbike trip: 8 - 9 hours

Bike rental price: VND 150,000 - VND 300,000/bike/day (depending on the type of motorbike)

Recommended routes:

  • Option 1: Hanoi - Son Tay - Trung Ha Bridge – Thanh Son – Thu Cuc – Deo Khe – Nghia Lo – Tu Le – Khau Pha – Mu Cang Chai.
  • Option 2: Hanoi - Thang Long Bridge - Route 2 - Phuc Yen - Viet Tri - Doan Hung - Route 70 - Yen Bai - Mu Cang Chai.
  • Option 3: Hanoi - Thang Long Bridge - Phuc Yen - Vinh Yen - Lap Thach - Son Duong - Route 37 - Tuyen Quang - Yen Bai - Mu Cang Chai.


  • Carefully check the treading on the tires, side mirrors, last oil maintenance, brake pads, and gears before renting
  • Rental bike usually does not have enough gas, so make sure you start your journey with a full tank
  • While riding, keep an even distance from other vehicles; be careful of trucks and containers on the mountain turns
  • Put your identification papers (passports, visa, etc.) in a plastic bag to avoid sudden rain
  • Prioritize going on the national highway (marked as QL on Google Maps) instead of the provincial road (marked as DT)
  • Plan your gas and time for the day (we would recommend double the time suggested on Google Maps)
  • Have sufficient mobile data plan; download some offline apps (maps, translations, etc.) just in case there is no mobile signal in a certain area

Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai riding motorbike

Riding a motorbike - one of the experiences you can't miss in Vietnam

Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai original bike1

The rough and winding roads will challenge any riders

Bike rentals' requirements:

  • Driver's license
  • ID/passport
  • Deposit (which will be returned to you when you return the bike) from VND 2,000,000 - 3,000,000

Note: some rental places will require just a passport as collateral for the motorbike. If this is the case, you don't need to leave a deposit - just your passport and rental fees upfront.

Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai by Train

Since Vietnam Railways do not offer you direct trains from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai, you must first take a train to Yen Bai City in Yen Bai Province or Sapa in Lao Cai Province, then catch a bus to this wonderland. Needless to say, switching vehicles is complicated and can take up to 2 - 3 days to arrive at Mu Cang Chai. But why not grab this chance to have a tour in the marvelous nature of Northern Vietnam. Instead of leaving for Mu Cang Chai upon arrival, spend some time discovering the transit destinations.

Information for Taking the Trains in Hanoi

Where to Stay in Sapa


The train provides you soft/hard seats and bunk beds. Bunk beds are not that much more expensive compared to the cheaper seats considering you will have a more comfortable journey.


Transit town

Yen Bai


Hanoi - Yen Bai (about 154 km)

Yen Bai - Mu Cang Chai (about 170 km) Hanoi - Sapa (about 316 km) Sapa - Mu Cang Chai (about 137 km)


Bus Train Bus

4 - 5 hours

5 - 7 hours 7 - 8 hours 3 - 4  hours
Price (per ticket)

VND 200,00 - 500,00

VND 100,00 - 150,000 VND 400,000 - 600,000 VND 150,000 - 250,000


 Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai original train1

As railways go across hidden neighborhoods, you will see different facets of Vietnamese daily life

Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai original train

Have a sightseeing tour through the train window

Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai by Bus

Going by bus might sound uncomfortable, but it is the most prevalent and inexpensive option. Unlike the train, it will take you directly to Mu Cang Chai without further transit so take your time and admire beautiful sceneries along the way. The only minus point is that once you come to Mu Cang Chai, the bus will not bring you to each tourist spot or the hotel. That is when you should think about a taxi.


Departure: My Dinh Station or Giap Bat Station
Destination: Yen Bai Station
Note: Some bus lines from Hanoi to Lai Chau also have stops at Mu Cang Chai

Duration: 7 hours - 7 hours 30 minutes

Price: VND 200,000 - VND 350,000/ticket


  • Avoid any random drivers inviting you to get in their bus; always pre-book the train and bus tickets
  • The seats of sleeper buses are more comfortable than traditional ones if you're traveling overnight to Mu Cang Chai
  • Look out for your belongings
  • Packing some earplugs are recommended

Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai bus

Seeking more comfortable seats? Opt for the sleeper buses

Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai original bus1

Striking mountains along the way to Mu Cang Chai

For train and bus tickets, the best way is to look for tickets online to avoid scams and plan your itineraries accordingly

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Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai by Taxi

What can be easier than jumping in a taxi and going straight to your destination? It costs more than any other transports and secondly, taxi drivers might take advantage of you. Thus, consider your budget and note down these tips to avoid taxi scams. Book through the Grab or Mai Linh taxi app.

Duration: 7 hours

Estimated cost: VND 2,500,000 - VND 3,500,000

Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai taxi1

Vinasun and Mai Linh are the most famous taxi brands in Vietnam

Summary of How to Travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai

Going from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai requires you much effort but what you get is totally worthwhile. Once you have decided to go for it, arm yourself with an exciting spirit, good physical health, and a detailed itinerary. We hope that after reading this blog, you have got a suitable vehicle in your mind.

Got a question? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!


© Written by Uyen Ho for

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Thursday, 01 June 2023

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