Located less than four hours by car from the capital Hanoi, Mai Chau sets in an idyllic valley and is hemmed in by limestone mountains. The valley is speckled with villages of the White Thai people, where traditional stilt houses are surrounded with rice paddy fields, fish ponds and green bamboo ranges. It is a world away from Hanoi’s hustle with fascinating tribal culture, an ideal destination for cycling and walking.


In this article, I am writing about my recent three-day trip to Mai Chau, which can be tailor made to two day or longer itinerary Mai Chau combines nicely with other destinations such as Ninh Binh and Halong Bay.



After a scenic drive to the southwest Hanoi, I arrived in Mai Chau at noon to be impressed with its splendid vista of mountains and rice fields covered by lush green foliage. I checked in at Mai Chau Ecolodge to stay for two nights before heading out to Mr. Sem’s family, a tradition home of Thai people at the nearby village, for lunch.


Sitting atop a private hill in Na Phon Village, Mai Chau Ecolodge features a stunning backdrop of lush rice paddies and emerald mountains. Their 19 charming bungalows built in traditional stilt house style, which looks like an ancient Thai village if viewed from a distance. The absence of television and other entertainment facilities keep the lodges true to what it was built for – a place to get back to nature. 


In the afternoon, we cycled a loop around Mai Chau valley, along the way we met and interacted with people in Van Village, Lac Village, Poom Coong Village and Chieng Village. Many locals are herding water buffalos, cutting the bamboo to build house.


On the second day, we drove 45 minutes to Pa Co valley which is inhabited by the H’mong hill tribe. We enjoyed the cool breeze brushing against our face while hiking on the mountain trails passing through plum and tea farms. There is a lively market on Sundays to visit, otherwise it is fun the visit the primary school.



Return to Mai Chau for lunch then I decided to spend the rest of the day by the pool. But you can walk back to Lac and Pom Coong villages to meet the local people and see their souvenir, the Thai women are masterful weavers producing plenty of tradition-style textiles.


On the third day, we drove 30 minutes to Sam Khoe village where we spent the morning walking through the remote villages setting against the backdrop of the Tonkinese Alps. Local villagers looked happy seeing us, some even greet us with their waves and smiles.


Contact Incense Travel to start customizing your Vietnam tours with careful planning and expertise of our professionals. Incense Travel is a luxury travel operator in Vietnam, offering private luxury tailor-made tours to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.


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