Located in the Northwest of Hanoi, Mai Chau is the last district of Hoa Binh, adjacent to Moc Chau, Son La. It is about 150 km from Hanoi and it took you 3 hours traveling by car or 4 hours traveling by motorbike. Mai Chau is suitable for short trips at weekend. If you are a foreigner, booking a tour is the best way because most foreigners do not have a motorcycle. So every weekend or holiday, Mai Chau is extremely bustling.
Mai Chau is a valley surrounded by mountains so the weather in Mai Chau is generally dry all year round. So, you can travel to Mai Chau whenever you want. Spring is probably the most beautiful season with peach blossom, Ban flowers, and plum blossom. Summer in Mai Chau has a blue color which is typical of the mountains and forests, and yellow color of the cooked rice. Especially, the evening in Mai Chau is often so cold so you should prepare warm clothes if you come to Mai Chau in the winter season and early spring.
The beauty of Mai Chau is very unique. These are just some of the places in the mountains, forests that are not known. Ban Lac is the example. Like the Thai villages in Mai Chau, Ban Lac is characterized by the traditional stilted roofs and the green bamboo stripes surrounded by paddy fields.
Ban Lac also attracts tourists by its colorful brocade booths. The residents are very hospitable. Moreover, they make much delicious and clean food. So, Ban Lac is always crowded with young people in the village and another countryside.
Hang Chieu is a national vestige located in Mai Chau. The road leading to the cave is about 1200 stone steps with the height of 700m. Every afternoon, when the sun shines into the cave, it makes the emulsion be extremely spellbinding. The price is about 0.4$/person.
Mo Luong Cave is another place. It is about 1 kilometer from Ban Lac. It is not as high as Hang Chieu but Mo Luong Cave also has beautiful and unique stalactites. Tickets are quite high. It is about 1.7$/person and it is only free for guests hiring the room at Mai Chau Lodge.
Van Mai Chau village is a small village near Mai Chau town. It is not as busy as Ban Lac but Van Mai Chau impressed tourists with the terraced fields along the road to the village. The villagers are quite friendly and hospitable. In addition, the village also has an area for growing broccoli, white cabbage, and other flowers. If you have a chance to stay here, you will enjoy the morning sunrise over the beautiful terraces.
Thai Museum is the next place. The museum retains the ancient Thai artifacts and it has been collected by a resident for 10 years to express his love for his dead wife. Now, artifacts are stored at Ban Van cultural house. You will admire the ancient objects of the Thai people throughout the hundreds of years. They are carefully collected and preserved.
Go La waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Mai Chau. It locates about 15 km from Mai Chau. From Tong Dau intersection to Moc Chau, you will easily find the way to waterfall. If you travel in the rainy season, it will be quite slippery.
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There are many options for you when coming to Mai Chau
Trekking or renting a bicycle to visit the Thai villages. The price is about $0.8 one bicycle and the couple bicycle is always available. Trekking in Ban Lac 1, Ban Lac 2, PomCoong village, Van village, Nhot village, Naphon village is extremely great. In the evening, you can see traditional and drink wine with the long straw. It was really fun!
When hiring accommodation in Mai Chau, the most popular way is to rent a house on stilts. You must sleep on the floor once to feel the Northwest’s atmosphere in Vietnam. The traditional Thai stilt house is characterized by bamboo stilts and bamboo flooring, which is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Ban Lac has stilt houses most. If you want more facilities, you can choose to stay at the motel or hotel in Mai Chau town.
The food here is extremely special. Lam Mai Chau rice is one of them. Many visitors would like to try it. The raw materials are to make this dish include rice, Lua tube, and banana leaves. coconut rice or coconut milk can also be added. Fried stream fish is very typical. It is a small fish like goby and they live in a pond or a stream. You do not always have an opportunity to enjoy this dish because these fishes are not sold in the market. Fishes are fried or grilled and their taste is very sweet, aromatic and attractive. Besides, there are also many other dishes such as grilled pork, sticky rice or Mai Ha wine.
Mai Chau is definitely a beautiful valley in the midst of the Northwest Mountains. It has a hidden beauty that many visitors would like to arrive and they do not want to return!!