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Like a kaleidoscope spun by nature, the majestic terraced rice fields of Mu Cang Chai in Yen Bai Province take on distinctive colors depending on the season’s moods. In April and May, when the fields are filled with water to prepare for the planting of a new crop, they shimmer in reflections of the reddish brown of the soil, the deep blue of the sky, and the emerald neighboring forests. In June and July, the fields transform into an avocado green with the fully-grown rice paddies, that display pulsating life to the fullest. In September and October, the rice fields are ripe with rich autumn colors, resembling soft layers of angel’s hair that flirts incessantly with the wind.
From above, the terraced fields and its surrounding structures bring to mind the famous Machu Picchu – the Mayan and Incan ruins in Peru. Mu Cang Chai terraced fields spread out more than 23 km2, and 1,000 m above the sea level in the foot of Hoang Lien Son Mountain. The vibrant Mong ethnic group serves as the focal anchor to this magnificent landscape. Together and using elements from nature, they paint everyday beautiful creations of diligence farmers at work, unconditional love between a mother and her baby, and affectionate innocence mirrored in the eyes of the beholder; all of which breathe life into spellbinding terraced masterpieces that are often called the stairway to heaven.
Sometimes, all it takes is just a few courageous steps into the unfamiliar.