Mai Chau- The rustic charm in the North of Vietnam

If you are wondering which should be your next outback area to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the cool breeze in the middle of magnificent mountains, Mai Chau valley will be your great answer.

Mai Chau Valley – a spectacular valley in the midst of the mighty Northwest Mountains is currently landing in tourists’ radar as an attractive option appealing travellers who only have limited time-frame apart from Ha Noi and Ha Long bay. Just 130km far from Hanoi, this spot destination will definitely suit ones who eagerly experience such majestic nature, peaceful rice terraces and enthusiasm of the Thai minority ethnic group.

There are many reasons for you to come to Mai Chau. But I want to pick up three major ones of its: to marvel at various breathtaking sights and sceneries, to experience truthful pace of life of local minorities and to join in natural activities such as hiking, kayaking outing. That’s sound truly intrigued!

Mai Chau Valley

When should I visit Mai Chau?

As a valley surrounded by mountains, Mai Chau is generally dry and comfortable most of a year . Let’s have a look about the beauty in each season!• Spring the temperature fluctuates around 18 – 25 ° C. Specially, in March, there are many typical flower blossom of the mountainous areas in the north.

• In the summer, the atmosphere is a bit cooler and agreeable than its of plain. It’s when native residents work in their vast green fields. However, there is a noticeable thing for you is that it is able to have flood or some unexpectedly weather situation.

• If you would love to take photos with immense ripe rice fields, autumn time is highly recommended to you.

• In winter period, Mai Chau is widely covered with a white coat of blooming plum flower and peach blossom, thus attracting a large number of visitors.

How to get to Mai Chau?

Being the last mountainous district of Hoa Binh province, it is about 130km in the west of Hanoi , adjacent to Moc Chau and Pu Luong. It takes you 3 hours by car or 4 hours by motorbike. Thus, Mai Chau is suitable for short Hanoi tours.
The path to Mai Chau is relatively steep but not too difficult and harsh for driving so if you want to come over the top of the pass by yourself, let’s give it a try!
But the best convenient way for you is taking daily buses ( in My Dinh and Yen Nghia station) or taxis or just booking an fully authentic package tour in order to enthusiastically relax your own trip.

Where I should stay?

Recently, Mai Chau offers tourists a fairly range of basic accommodations:
 Thai stilt houses : this is the most popular form of staying overnight. Guests will be supplied a large space complete with fan and mosquito nets. There is a western toilet and shower. It is such a local experience out of the touristic crowd. Additionally, the local owners are extremely welcoming and approached.

Inside Thai stilt house in Mai Chau
Inside Thai stilt house in Mai Chau

 Guest house and hotel: most of them could be found in the central town of Mai Chau with reasonable price.
 Resort and bungalow: The top-choice private accommodation for one who would like to relax and unwind their tension with full of high-grade amenities. Overlooking the emerald lush rice paddies, spectacular mountains and bamboo gardens from the window and good quality service will definitely ease customers’ mind. Each bungalow is a guest room which is decorated with contemporary touches of Thai brocade and handicraft that give each living space a soothing Thai ambiance.

 Typical resort in Mai Chau with spectacular view
Typical resort in Mai Chau with spectacular view


Bungalow surrounded by greats mountain
Bungalow surrounded by great mountains

You are able to refer some of prestigious accommodation such as Sol Bungalow Mai Chau hotel and resort , Mai Chau Riverside Bungalow, Mai Chau Ecolodge, which had good feedback in Tripadvisor.

Mai Chau and absolutely unresisting sceneries

  • Thung Khe Pass

Thung Khe Pass is about 1,000 meters above sea level. Here, visitors can enjoy the street food is sold along the road as: boiled typical corn and grilled sugar crane, boiled bamboo-tube with salt sesame,etc. It is the top choice place to catch fantastic wild sights of Mai Chau.

Thung Ke Pass in cloudy morning
Thung Ke Pass in cloudy morning
  • Lac village

The 700-year-old village is home to the Thai minority people who settle down by growing traditional upland rice and creating brocade weaving. This place is considered as a gift of mountains and forests for those who love tranquility to join in the richness of the green mountains of Hoa Binh. Set a few hundred meters back from the main roadside, the village offers a rustic experience in traditional Thai stilt houses. Villagers will sometimes organize traditional song and uniquely dance performances in the evenings and anyone is free to join in the fun.

A glimpse of Lac village, Mai Chau
A glimpse of Lac village, Mai Chau
  •  Pom Coong Village

The village which is surrounded by bright-green paddies are undoubtedly must-visit community famous spots of tourists when traveling to Mai Chau apart from Lac village. The most impressive feature of Pom Coong Village is the extremely fresh “pure Thai” space. Tourists are able to soak in the peaceful and glamorous natural panorama, and experience the poetic life of the welcoming locals there. In the poetic melody and enthusiastic “Can” wine, tourists can engage in dancing and singing performances with native people by the flickering firelight and enjoy the local cuisine of Mai Chau. Therefore, going to the Pom Coong Village to mingle in the tranquil nature and the friendly locals, temporarily forget the worries and the chaos of humming urban life.

Pom Coong village in sunny day
Pom Coong village in sunny day
  • Imposing Caves

Mai Chau Valley is also home to numerous well known monuments and scenic beauty, namely Mo Luong Cave, Chieu Cave, Pieng Kem Cave. The most famous cave is Mo Luong cave which is a natural cave in the limestone blocks with magnificent stalactites. It also retains 2 entrances overlooking stretching paddy fields and villages in the valley. And tourists can explore it easily to find the strange feeling aside from a immense green paddies. Tourists will go hiking to access those cave as well as marvel stunning scenery .

A part of Mo Luong cave
A part of Mo Luong cave
  • Mai Hich

Mai Hich is a commune located in the southwest of Mai Chau district, 13 km from the center of the district, with 96% of Thai ethnicity living scattered along Xia stream and primary forest, palm hill. Unlike Ban Lac, which is a popular tourist destination, Mai Hich is a new spot, newly discovered and supported by the COHED Research Center for Public Health and Development. This is a village of the Thai still retain the wild features soothing visitors. Come to Mai Hich and be welcomed by the village in ethnic costumes with cool water and cold towels. Then, a indigenous guide will take tourists to visit the cave, stroll around to see the vivid picture which depict the culture and lifestyle of the villagers. This village is an ideal place for visitors to join in practical activities namely going bicycle through vast rice paddies or hidden ways inside the rural town and  take the bamboo rafting through crystal stream. All will leave such adventurous and interesting feeling in travelers.

riding bike through ripe rice field
Riding bike through ripe rice field
A bamboo rafting in secluded stream
A bamboo rafting in secluded stream
  • Pa Co Market

Pa Co fair usually occurs on Sunday every week, which is busy and crowded as Tet holidays in the delta region. The ‘living museum” combines the characteristics of customs and habits of Hmong ethnic people. The influx of people down from the mountains, Hmong ethnic people in Moc Chau and Thai people in Mai Chau bring their characteristic products (mostly colorful brocade) to Pa Co Market to bring vitality to the area which is usually tranquil on weekdays.

Pa Co Market fair at weekend in Mai Chau
Pa Co Market fair at weekend in Mai Chau

Aditionally, as mentioned above, from Mai Chau tourists could easily get to Pu Luong (only 35km). Therefore, If tourists have 3 days for spare time, they possibly lengthen their Mai Chau tour by visiting Pu Luong Nature Reserve or any rural villages surrounding there.

The fact is the blog writer is unable to wrap every single specificitiy of majestic Mai Chau in a paper page. Hence, if you are really keen on admiring the real grandiose nature, amazing scenery, rich velvety green, along with poetic beauty of the highlander, let’s head for that region immediately! Mai Chau is the must-visit spot in your Vietnam tour.

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