In the heart of an idyllic valley, a world away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, the Mai Chau region is a very tranquil place to spend a few days. The small town os Mai Chau is unappearing, but close by are Thai villages that enjoy a delightlully rustic setting surrounded by paddy fields. The lush countryside could not be traffic to contend with and the rural soundtrack is defined by gurgling irrigation streams and birdsong. Even the dogs seem mellow.
The villagers are mostly white Thai, distantly retated to tribes in Thailand, Laos and China. Most no longer wear traditional dress, but the Thai women are masterful weavers who ensure that there is plenty of traditional style clothing to buy in the village centre. You'll see women weaving on looms under or inside their houses. Locals do not employ strong-arm sale tacics here: polite bargaining is the norm.
Mai Chau is a very succesful grassroots tourism profect, though some might find the experience a little too sanitised, and the villages are on the tour-group agenda. If you're looking for hard-core exploration, this not thr place; but as useful base for some hiking and relaxation Mai Chau could fit the bill nicely.
What to Do ?
Highlights of Mai Chau journeys are staying overnight in Thai stilt house, walking across the beautiful valley through rice fields and light or hard trekking to nearby villages.
When to go ?
It is possible to come to Mai Chau all year round, but the best period is from September to April of next year when it doesn't rain much and this weather is perfect for trekking.
Homestay condition is basic. Mattresses and mosquito nets are provided. Before tour, bring along with you good walking shoes, raincoats, jackets, torch, insect repellent and sunscreen. In the evening, communicate with villagers and they can help to organize traditional dance performance at a reasonable price.