Mai Chau belongs to Hoa Binh province, is a little valley surrounded by green mountains and dotted with lakes, paddy fields, rivers and houses on stilts of the local Thai people. Driving from Ha Noi to Son La or Mai Chau, most tourists would stop at the entrance to Mai Chau which offers the breathtaking panoramic view of the area.
From above Mai Chau looks like a huge green stadium with green mountain slopes and terraces. The main road snakes its away amid rice paddies, lakes and houses leading to the Ma River further in the background. Many travelers who have been to Mai Chau never realize that they'd missed a cruise on the Ma River. Upstream and downstream Ma river cruises offer spectacular sceneries of a different world that's like no others: bamboo forests, secret valleys with criss-crossing pipes bringing drinking water to different households and all encircled by evergreen mountains.
There's not much noise in Mai Chau except for some cock crows and bird chirpings. It's all so quiet and tranquil here that most travelers from the moments entering the valley can smell a different world and a relaxing getaway holiday. Many artist travelers would come to Mai Chau only to get lost among the peaceful nature for the whole day and come back with their complacency of the newly-painted arts. Photographers would keep wandering in the valley until they've run out of films and/or memory cards... and when they realize that they don't know how to get back!
The majority of the population of Mai Chau Valley is the White Thai. They are among the friendliest to the foreign travelers in Vietnam. The security is excellent and there's no hassle with people selling souvenirs as they are all gentle and warm-hearted.
Mai Chau Tourist Attractions
The main draw cards of Mai Chau Valley are the pristine fresh nature and the colorful culture of the Thai People. There are many villages that attract Vietnamese tourists, foreign tourists and expats from Ha Noi such as Lac Village, Pom Koong Village, Sam Khoe, Xo...to name a few. There's electricity in the center of Mai Chau Valley and conditions are fairly good.
There's also another heavenly valley in Mai Chau area called Hang Kia - Pa Ko which can only be accessed on foot or by motorbike. The road conditions are not that good, but the reward is no doubt worth it. To travel to Hang Kia, you'll have to drive 50 km further from Mai Chau on the same way to Son La. Buses and cars can only travel to Pa Ko where the rest journey has to be done on foot or by motorbike.
The Ma River and the communities inhabiting on the river banks are well worth a trip if you have time. From Mai Chau Town, you continue further 12 km to the bank of the Ma River where you'll see a lot of long-tailed boats or bamboo rafts used by the locals for navigating up and downstream the river. Not many travelers cover this area by far though.
Mai Chau Travel and Tours
Mai Chau is ideal for sightseeing relaxing tours, nature tours, culture tours, adventure tours such as trekking or cycling or white-water rafting...
From Ha Noi, you can join Hanoi Travel Expert on a relaxing tour, discovery tour or adventure tour to explore Mai Chau Valley areas and the surroundings for 2-5 days.
The highlights of a trip to Mai Chau include the trekking in the wild with breathtaking scenery, staying with a Thai family in a house on stilts, sharing the traditional dance with the Thai people.
Staying overnight with a local Thai ethnic family in their simple but elegant house on stilts is the only choice and this is also part of a reason you travel to Mai Chau.
Conditions are limited and poor in most villages except for Lac and Pom Koong Villages where you'll get clean places, but the experience is unmatched.
Getting there and away
Mai Chau can be accessed by road from Ha Noi. The journey by road would take 4 hours. The roads are fairly good and offer stunning fresh scenery. Don't miss the stunning view at Thung Khe Pass!
Some professional bikers and motor bikers have joined Hanoi Travel Expert on the challenging adventure expediting into the mountains of this area. You may like to contact Hanoi Travel Experts for further details on the most up-to-date conditions for doing an adventure tour in Mai Chau area.
By foot: Mai Chau Valley can easily be explored on foot. There are different clean footpaths as well as village roads in Mai Chau. There's no traffic and no car or motorbike horn.
Xe Om (motorbike taxi): There are many Russian-Minsk Xe Oms with driver in front of the market in Mai Chau Town. Otherwise you may like to hire a motorbike from a family and discover Mai Chau at your own pace.
By boat: Having a boat cruise on the Ma River is recommended. Be sure you know where you are heading to before setting out.
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