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Paragliders and runners heading to northwest

Released at: 12:55, 19/09/2017

Paragliders and runners heading to northwest

Photo: PYS Travel

Yen Bai ready to host paragliding festival while Sapa will welcome marathon runners from September 22 to 24.

by Le Diem

Known for their beautiful mountainous areas and terraced rice fields, Mu Cang Chai in northern Yen Bai province and Sapa in nearby Lao Cai province are becoming even more attractive thanks to festivals and sport activities promoting the local tourism sectors.

Vietnam’s largest paragliding festival will take place from September 22 to 24 at Khau Pha Mountain Pass in Mu Cang Chai. With the theme “Flying Over Ripening Rice Fields”, the festival is expected to attract thousands of visitors.

The festival will feature paragliding and competitions. Lessons from experienced pilots will be given to tourists who wish to try the sport. There will be 50 paired flights provided to visitors during the three days of the festival. Registrations are needed in advance, with a fee of VND2 million ($88) applying.

Khau Pha Mountain Pass, about 1,200 meters above sea level, provides breathtaking views of stunning natural scenery and is considered one of the four most beautiful paragliding sites in Vietnam and among the Top 5 in the world.

About 1,000 meters above sea level, Mu Cang Chai has 500 ha of beautiful terraced rice fields all year round in La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha, and De Xu Phinh communes, which have been cultivated by the H’mong people for centuries. The terraced rice fields are among the 2,500 ha recognized as national heritage sites in 2007 by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Visitors in March can take in the sights of glittering ponds before local people transplant rice seedlings from April to May. After May, the hills are covered in green until the fields start to turn yellow with ripened rice in early September. During the harvest in October, the golden rice fields stand out amid a background of lush green forests.

Meanwhile, on the same days, September 22 to 24, the Vietnam Mountain Marathon (VMM) 2017, one of the biggest trail running events in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, will take place in Sapa.

The event is expected to attract nearly 2,500 runners from 50 countries and territories, who will take part in one of five runs along distances of 100 km, 70 km, 42 km, 21 km, and 10 km.

Routes will pass through the most beautiful parts of Sapa and surrounding areas, including terraced rice fields, valleys, villages such as Muong Hoa, Ta Van, Cat Cat, and Ta Phin, and magnificent mountains and forests. Sapa is also famous for its Saturday night “Love Market”, its Gothic stone church in the town center that serves as a reminder of the French missionary influence, and many Vietnamese and European restaurants downtown.

The VMM is an opportunity for the runners to compete along challenging climbs, explore popular tourist destinations and ethnic minorities in Sapa, and also help to promote Sapa as an ideal destination for sports activities.

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