I. GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT MAI CHAU YOU NEED TO KNOW
Mai Chau is a highland district, located in the northwest of Hoa Binh province. The locals and foreigners are attracted by its untouched beauty and pure air, particularly its diverse culture and unique food. Looking down from a high pass, Mai Chau valley is as beautiful as a painting with Thai village hiding in green leaves. This destination helps tourists find out their peace of mind in a tranquil atmosphere.
If you are a fan of the hustle and bustle, please do not travel to Mai Chau. Many tourists shared that if someday, the dirt and noise of the big cities make me tired, Mai Chau will be the first attraction we dream about. Leaving the worries behind, just enjoying Mai Chau is an extremely enjoyable experience.
II. THE WEATHER IN MAI CHAU AND THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MAI CHAU
1. The weather in Mai Chau
The climate in Mai Chau is relatively moderate all year round.
- From November to February: During the winter, the climate here is quite cold with an average temperature of 16ºC. You are advised to wear a jacket if necessary.
- From March to May and from September to October: The ideal periods to visit Mai Chau. The temperature ranges from 18ºC to 25ºC. Mai Chau is a can’t-miss destination in March and April due to the fact that there are a lot of cherry blossoms and white plum blossoms here. They are typical of the mountainous areas in the North. Many people have flocked to Mai Chau to indulge in its beauty. Especially, there are many festivals of ethnic minorities in March and April.
- From June to August: the temperature reaches from 25 to 35 degrees. There may have rain. Therefore, if you travel to Mai Chau at this time, you should bring sunglasses, hats, sunscreen creams, umbrellas or raincoats.
In addition, it is suggested that visitors bring hiking shoes as well as insect repellent.
Here is the average monthly temperature in Mai Chau
2. The best time to visit Mai Chau
III. HOW TO TRAVEL TO MAI CHAU AND MEANS OF TRANSPORT HERE
There are two common ways to travel to Mai Chau which are by car or by motorbike. It is recommended that you should use the second option because this valley is 140 kilometers from Hanoi and 60 kilometers from Hoa Binh to the northwest.
If you travel by motorbike, you can follow the route map from Xuan Mai – Luong Son – Hoa Binh – Muong Khen – Mai Chau and National Road 6 is the shortest and fastest road to Mai Chau. On the way to Mai Chau, the landscapes are charming. As a result, you can both go sightseeing and stop at the White Pass for a rest. There is a small market along the road where local villagers buy corn, vegetables, wild pork and honeybee. Additionally, remember to bring your lunch along. In general, it is certain that traveling to Mai Chau by motorbike will be an unforgettable experience in your life. You continue to reach the flagpole stop and look down the valley below. It is Mai Chau valley. This T-conjunction has a lot of trucks passing by and the corner of the cave is hidden from our vision; therefore, visitors are warned to go slowly and observe carefully. The cost of gasoline varies from 70,000 to 100,000 dong.
In case you go by coach or bus, you can go to My Dinh or Giap Bat bus station. When reaching Tong Dau crossroad, please catch a motorbike or a taxi for about 5 kilometers to the center of Mai Chau valley. The ticket price is about 90,000 to 110,000 dong per person. It can be varied in some cases.
Here are some contacts you can note as follows:
- Hoang Thao coach
Itinerary: Mai Chau – My Dinh
Depart from My Dinh Bus Station at 14:30 p.m – from Mai Chau at 8:45 p.m
Phone: (+84) 914 688 533
- Ha Loan coach
Arrive in Mai Chau at 13:30 p.m
Return to My Dinh bus station at about 7:50 a.m
Address: 20 Pham Hung, My Dinh, Tu Liem, Ha Noi
Tel: (+84) 912 490 679
Means of transport in Mai Chau: This valley is quite small, the attractions and villages are also close together, so the most convenient way to discover Mai Chau is the bicycle. The hotels and homestays offer bikes available to rent at a price of 20,000 to 50,000 dong for one so do not worry.
IV. ACCOMMODATION IN MAI CHAU
There are many lodgings for visitors including hostels and homestay services, especially in two villages (Ban Lac and Poom Coong), so do not worry about accommodation here. The average price of a room in a house on stilts is about 50,000 dong per person for a night. If you eat at the guesthouse, it will range from 80,000 to 100,000.
Here are some nice hotels with affordable accommodations in Mai Chau:
1. Sol Bungalows Hotel
This hotel is situated in Chieng Chau Village. The rates are from $105 – $138. With a nice location near the center, you can move to the sightseeing places without any difficulties. In addition to good service, each room has a private balcony with a view of the surrounding pool, bar. It also has a good connection to the motorbike or bicycle rental service.
Tel: (+84) 218 654 8709
2. Mai Chau Villas
Mai Chau Villas belongs to Cha Lang Village, Mai Hich. The room rates range from $57 to $94. Its location allows you to visit other attractions. The hotel offers many services to make your travel more attractive. You can visit the cave or the waterfall, Ban Lac village, and enjoy the native cultural exchange, and many other activities basing on the demands of tourists. Moreover, this hotel has a swimming pool, restaurant, cafeteria, bicycle rental, laundry service, kid-friendly and more.
Tel: (+84) 283 867 868
3. Mai Chau Lodge
This 3-star hotel lies in Mai Chau Town. With the room rates is about $40 to $43, Mai Chau Lodge makes your trip more ideal. It is ranked as a spot with excellent services, beautiful view, and convenient location to the city so that you may go sightseeing. Its services include swimming pool, massage, hot tub, airport pick-up, bicycle rental, and so on.
Tel: (+84) 128 386 8959
4. Mai Chau Valley View Hotel
Situated on District 4 in Mai Chau Town, Mai Chau Valley View Hotel offers room service with the price from $29 to $39. There are also many other services here such as bicycle rental, restaurant service, and cafe.
Tel: (+84) 097 205 8696
5. 20th Stilt House in Ban Lac village
The rates here are quite reasonable ranging from $5 to $15. It provides a lot of services such as bicycle rental, karaoke, mountaineering, and cafe. This hostel will be a smart choice for travelers.
Tel: (+84) 097 205 8696
6. Mai Chau Ecolodge
This hotel resting on a hill surrounded by paddy fields and mountains. It is approximately 20 minutes walking from Ban Lac and 2 kilometers from Chieu Cave. Its offer consists of folk dancing, cooking classes, hiking and gardening. It also let the guests enjoy an outdoor pool with a modern and busy bar and message service.
V. WHERE TO VISIT IN MAI CHAU, VIETNAM
1. Ban Lac – The Subtle Blend of Tradition & Modernity
Ban Lac which is the most well-known place in Mai Chau is a subtle blend of tradition and modernity. This site has so far existed for more than 700 years with mysterious and charming beauty. Ban Lac gains its fame as a bright spot and key to tourism in Hoa Binh. It is characterized by the cultural identity of Thai locals with their conventional stilt houses and green bamboo stripes surrounded by emerald green paddies.
Ban Lac is described in the eyes of visitors as a peaceful place with friendly and hospitable people. Ban Lac is also loved by the colorful brocade booths. Brocade is truly the essence of Vietnamese handicraft. Brocade fabric, dresses, bags, and wallets are displayed. The image of a Thai girl in ethnic dresses with skillful hands has drawn the eyes and hold the steps of travelers.
Travelers can be a part of daily activities with the host family as a way of experiencing local life, enjoying specialties, weaving cloths and renting bicycles or scooters to move around the village. Renting ethnic costumes is also a favorite activity when visiting Ban Lac. Besides, you can enjoy bamboo-tube rice, sticky rice, and etc.
2. Thung Khe Pass – Best Place to View Mai Chau, Vietnam
Thung Khe Pass belonging to Highway 6 in Hoa Binh Province lies between Tan Lac and Mai Chau. It is not only beautiful but also quite dangerous due to steep slopes and dizzy bends.
The peak of Thung Khe Pass is at about 1,000 meters above sea level. You can stop to enjoy the boiled corn, sugar cane, enjoy sesame rice. This peak is a place where tourists can feel the fresh atmosphere of Mai Chau. From the top, you can admire the whole valley at the foot of the pass. This is one of the most beautiful places in Hoa Binh. You can rest here before reaching to Mai Chau. Thung Khe is noted for its various weather. It may be cool and cloudy in the mornings. On the afternoons, the sun is warmer and the evenings put a refreshing chill in the air.
There are some small cottages selling bamboo cooked rice and grilled corn. Therefore, you can rest and eat on the pass. It is also a good idea to buy some souvenirs such as forest orchid pots or pineapple.
3. Mo Luong Cave and Chieu Cave
When mentioning the beautiful tourist attractions in Mai Chau, we can not miss Mo Luong Cave and Chieu Cave. Exploring the caves of Mai Chau is a very interesting experience. The common point of Mo Luong Cave and Chieu Cave is that they existed a thousand years ago. These two spots are not far from Mai Chau town so you can easily transport here.
3. Van Village – The Beautiful and Colorful Terrace
This is a quite small village near Mai Chau town. Although this village is not as busy as the Lac Village it impresses the visitors with terraced fields along the road heading to the village. The villagers are very friendly and hospitable. Moreover, the village also has a park for growing groundsel, white cabbage, and many other flowers. If you have a chance to stay here, you will enjoy the morning sunrise over the beautiful terraces.
4. Thai Museum – Best Place to Explore the Culture
This museum exhibits the ancient Thai artifacts which have been collected by a man named Kien for 10 years to express his love for his late wife. All the artifacts are transferred and stored at the Van cultural house. Coming to Thai Museum, you will have an opportunity to admire the ancient objects of the Thai people throughout the hundreds of years of development with a priceless, carefully collected and preserved collection. Other tourist attractions are Nhot, Go Lao Village, Ba Khan, rice paddies, vegetable fields.
VI. WHAT TO EAT IN MAI CHAU
1. Bamboo cooked rice
The most famous dish of Mai Chau is bamboo cooked rice. This dish is not too fussy with young bamboo shoots, filled with rice and baked on fire. It is often served with sesame salt and roasted pork. However, this dish requires much skill. Rice is an important ingredient. The natives often select the rice whose is small and elongated with aromatic flavor.
2. Glutinous rice
If you travel to Mai Chau, it is a must to enjoy the sticky rice by Thai women to feel its delicious taste. This is the kind of Thai sticky rice grown on terraced fields in Mai Chau valley. Glutinous rice is soaked for several hours before softening. The rice is steamed rather than cooked. The processing is very skillful and requires skill. After the scent is removed, take out the sticky, put into a basket. However, this is not cooked yet. Grate them all in a basket for a while then put on the wood and the next until cooked. Grapefruit seeds are now nine ball trap, scented to nose diners.
3. Grilled pork skewers
This dish is made of the wild pork are marinated in salt, ginger, anise, galangal, lemongrass, and etc. Then it is stuck to the skewer and directly roasted under the fire.
VII. SOME POINTS TO BEAR IN MIND WHEN TRAVELING TO MAI CHAU
- When visiting Thai people’s house, you have to ask for permission before entering their home. If your permission is accepted, please pay attention to Thai ancestors’ altars to avoid turning their backs or feet into their altars.
- Bring comfortable clothes along.
You are advised to prepare the neat and convenient clothes for movement. If you go here in summer, remember to bring a long-sleeved shirt to avoid dew and cold weather at night. You also should bring insect repellent and some other personal items.