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Cloud hunting on Khau Pha pass

Visiting Mu Cang Chai district, Yen Bai province is a great opportunity for backpacking tourists and photographers during the cloudy season on Khau Pha pass.
Khau Pha mountain pass is a magnet for visitors with stunning terraced fields in the seasons of rain and ripening rice. It looks even more gorgeous when the clouds come creeping the forest, the terraced fields and surrounding hamlets. 
The cloudy season in Mu Cang Chai lasts from October to March.

People always recommend popular destinations in the north such as Ta Xua, Moc Chau (Son La province), Hoang Lien Son and Y Ty (Lao Cao province) but the charming cloudy season on Khau Pha pass still has few visitors. We have gone twice a year in the last ten years to spend time in the area. This was the first time during those ten years that we saw the clouds enveloping the hamlets and the terraced fields in Khau Pha. 

We arrived in Mu Cang Chai on a rainy day. Our car was driven very carefully on Khau Pha pass. We worried about the next routes to La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and Khau Pha valley because of the heavy rain. The rain though, brought happiness to the Mong and Thai because water from the rain is very good for the new rice transplanting season.

Cloudy valley of Cao Pha seen from Khau Pha pass. Photo: Phong Thu / VNP

Running through Khau Pha mountain range and linking Lai Chau and
Yen Bai provinces, highway 32 looms through the clouds. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

A cloudy hamlet of the Mong on Khau Pha pass. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

The Mong in Lim Mong hamlet, Cao Pha commune, plough on the cloudy terraced field. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

 A Mong family’s house on Khau Pha pass.  Photo: Cong Dat/VNP

Daily life of the Mong on Khau Pha pass. Photo: Phong Thu / VNP
Early the next morning we woke in, Mu Cang Chai town located on Khau Pha pass that was sunk in the mist. We took highway 32 down to Cao Pha valley. We saw the amazing scenery of the clouds crawling from Khau Pha mountain to the terraced fields during the rainy season. 
Located at an altitude of 1,200 -1,500m above sea level, Khau Pha pass runs through famous well known destinations to see the terraced fields, including La Pan Tan, Tu Le, Che Cu Nha, Cao Pha, and Nam Co.

We saw wonderful images of the clouds on Khau Pha pass. The images that we took have been unique presents for our friends. From our images, many photographers have travelled to the area to see the clouds on terraced fields in Khau Pha.

By Cong Dat, Phong Thu        Translated by Nguyen Tuoi

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