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deedles Mai Chau - A travel report by Deedles
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Mai Chau,  Vietnam - flag Vietnam
6325 readers

deedles's travel reports

MAI CHAU - A pleasant surprise!

  9 votes
Page: 1 2
Mai Chau is located in the mountainous Hoa Binh province located in the North of Vietnam, 135kms from Hanoi. I came here to experience life with the Thai people.

Mai Chau
Mai Chau
I went to Mai Chau for 2days to stay with local people in a Homestay.

It takes about 31/2hours to reach Mai Chau, with the journey passing through some lovely scenery. We wêre so high up, that the mountains were in fog. From the top of Cun Mountain, the view into the valley where Mai Chau is was fantastic! Many minorities, including the Thai ethnic group, live in Mai Chau in Stilt houses. The houses are quite large with palm leaf roofs and windows with decorated pattern's, the floors are polished bamboo-slat floors. The kitchen is located in the center of the house. Each house also has a pond to breed fish.

Favourite spots:
Journey along the river
Journey along the river
We had a choice of what we wanted to do, so my group decided on the river/trekking option. We were taken up a beautiful scenic valley full of rice paddies to the river. Here, we boarded a long boat for our river trip which took us through some tiny rapids. We pulled up at a sand bank, and here we began our trek through the countryside and local villages. The people were very friendly and they didn't mind us taking photos. At a high point, we looked down over the river. We saw a boat like we were in, taking people and their motorbikes across the river. On the longboat again, and back to our starting point, and a drive back to our village. Really nice, and included in the price of my trip.

What's really great:
Cultural Dance
Cultural Dance
As I was staying here on a weekend, on the Saturday night, I went to another homestay where there were other tourists to see a cultural dance performance put on by the locals for us. It was interesting. The last dance, we joined in, it was good fun. We then shared there traditional drink, about six people suck on straws from the one pot. We gave them a tip for their lovely performance.

Looking down into Mai Chau Valley
Looking down into Mai Chau Valley
I would recommend anybody to go to Mai Chau. Not many tourists come here. The scenery is fantastic, and the homestay very good. People are friendly. It is about 3 hours from Hanoi, a long drive, but nice scenery to look at on the way.

Where I slept
Where I slept
Mai Chau homestay was a great way for me to experience living as the Vietnamese Thai people do.

Right from the start, I was made to feel very welcome. I was taken upstairs into their stilt home, and then offered a cup of tea.

Our meal's were excellent, and there always was too much food.

Bedding was a pretty thin mattress laid out on the floor with Mosquito netting hanging from the roof.

We were able to have a shower, but you may want to bring your own towel, as the towels you are given to dry yourself with, are hand - towels.

Power does often go off in this neighbourhood, it really doesn't matter that much, as it is nice to sit around and talk.

I would like to return, either here or at another homestay elsewhere, a great experience!

Home-stay food
Home-stay food
Not a Restaurant, but I can say, if you stay at the Home-stay where I did, then you can expect excellent meals and plenty of food!

Other recommendations:
Ducks for sale
Ducks for sale
The local market was where I saw my first ducks, pigs and dogs in bamboo cages for sale. The market is a typical one with all kinds of food and clothing for sale.

Just a warning.......

Mai Chau seems nice enough, but even here, you have to have your wits about you!

Why? Read on................

I was walking back from the markets facing the oncoming traffic. The road was quiet, even though it was the main road. I happened to notice some locals glance behind me, and to my amazement, there were two motorbikes very close to me. they had crept up very quietly. Once I turned, and looked at them, they moved to the correct side of the road. Obviously, I was to be a victim of a bag snatch. I was very lucky, the locals gave them away. I was told by my tour guide that it was quite safe here, and he sent me to the markets on my own.

Published on Monday April 11th, 2011

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Sun, Jul 22 2012 - 03:18 AM rating by louis

After your report I would like to try homestay. Nice report

Sat, Apr 30 2011 - 05:05 PM rating by mistybleu

Great pictures; yet again an enjoyable read.

Mon, Apr 25 2011 - 11:54 AM rating by el2995

Nice report! If I ever make it back to Vietnam, I would like to do a homestay in Mai Chau, and also a homestay in the Sapa region. I'm wondering if you stayed at the same place that Anthony Bourdain stayed at for his 'No Reservations' episode on Northern Vietnam? Thanks!

Tue, Apr 12 2011 - 12:12 PM rating by eirekay

Vietnam is on my list of places to go next! Thanks for sharing your experience! BTW, Homestays Rock!

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