Mai Chau, Hoa Binh has been appealing a larger number of tourists recently as it’s a small valley lying under Thung Khe pass where proposing travelers chances to explore the authentic and original culture of the White Tai People settling down here. Unlike Moc Chau, Mai Chau is 60 km nearer from Hanoi and which is easier to access by virtue of less dangerous or meandering roads. Furthermore, tourists visiting Mai Chau should count themselves lucky considering the beauty of imposing valley with verdurous green rice paddy fields and stunning mountains.
A diversified range of activities available for tourists to take part in which consist of trekking, sightseeing in daytime, wandering around villages, participating in cultural performances of local people and dancing with campfire all night long. Down here is the list of must-see locations for tourists when visiting Mai Chau:
A trek or a journey on foot through Thung Khe Pass exploring swathes of rice paddies, imposing mountains cannot be resisted by any visitors coming to Mai Chau. Caves and grottoes around the area are also worth a visit, tourists are advised to do trekking to explore these majestic locations, some good examples can be listed as Chieu Cave which can be reached by taking a 1200-step way up; Mo Luong Cave- a marvelous limestone cave which will definitely make your jaw drop; Lang Cave or Pieng Kem Grotto are also outstanding ones which should be considered to approach and discover, etc. Another option exist are hiring a bike to bike around some villages and earn an opportunity to lose yourself in the daily life of local ethnic groups, observing and learning how local residents make their own brocade clothing items, skillful handicrafts and tasting delicious food. These villages such as Lac, Pom Coong, Van Village are tourist attractions themselves where ethnic minorities offer travelers homestay service in stilt houses and delectable traditional cuisine. If you are an independent traveler, you also can check out Mai Chau Lodge for more diversified activities such as kayaking, climbing, cycling and trekking. Pa Luong Nature Reserve – a new and safe home of a huge number of endangered animals stretching from Mai Chau to Cuc Phuong National Pak will also give you precious time in your trip.
Shopping in Mai Chau
Mai Chau town doesn’t offer as much in the way of shopping as Sa Pa; however, Mai Chau alternatively proposes pretty active markets on Sunday morning such as Muong and Pa Co markets where gathering many different ethnic groups coming down to Mai Chau to purchase diversified goods from agricultural products to brocade made by Thai women . Or else, tourist can walk to Ban Lac 1 or Ban Lac 2 which are more developed regions of the villages with a few shops for souvenirs and more packed with people at nighttime. In addition, Ban Lac also showcases a wide range of souvenirs and products uniquely designed for travelers to choose from. What’s more, travelers even have the opportunity to watch the local residents weaving clothes on the loom with their own eyes and tourists are welcomed to have a go for that.
Mai Chau’s food
The best way to enjoy Mai Chau’s cuisine is either in a hotel or homestay. Tourists can check out the Lodge Restaurant and The Veranda Restaurant where to serve both international dish and traditional Vietnamese food such as Tai’s cuisine
Best time to visit Mai Chau
With the valley’s characteristics, the weather in Mai Chau tends to be cool and moderate all year round, therefore, there is truly no such a bad time of the year to head to this beautiful area. In other words, Mai Chau is unique in every season, the lush and verdant scenery in spring will turn into golden rice paddy fields in harvest season. If you want to have the best trip, you should take note of two periods: from October to December when Mai Chau is ready to welcome the winter; the refreshing atmosphere will be dominant at this time; especially tourists will definitely be wowed by the magnificent scenery of peach and plum blossom strikingly flourishing and whitening throughout every single corner of the valley. An alternative time will be given to the period from March to April – the season of blooming Ban flowers and a numerous of local festivals.
How to get to Mai Chau
Two best and convenient ways exist to take tourists to Mai Chau are by motorbikes and cars. A growing number of visitors have been choosing motorbike as their transport to reach this imposing valley as a result of the short distance from Hanoi to Mai Chau. Additionally, driving a motorbike will give tourists chances to do sightseeing and discover several interesting locations on their way to the valley. A passenger car is, on the other hand, a perfect choice for those who are not really into taking risk and adventuring that can be taken in My Dinh or Giap Bat station. Nevertheless, if tourists choose cars, then after get off, they have to take a Xe om (a motorbike taxi) to approach the center of Mai Chau which takes around 5 km from the last car station. Either way are both utterly contributive but if you drive a motorbike then make sure that you bring along a bottle of gas in case you cannot find a gas station on the way. When you make it to Mai Chau, the best transport to get around this valley is, certainly, riding a bike or taking a walk because of the narrow, sloping and bumpy sometimes. Luckily, almost every homestay and motel in Mai Chau all offer a bike for hiring so you should not too worried about that.