You are planning a trip to Mai Chau valley & wondering what to do there in your coming Mai Chau trip? This Mai Chau travel guide is really what you need for.Let’s have it read for for the details and well prepare for your life-time experiences in Mai Chau……..
Mai Chau, a pristine valley of authentic rural villages, gorgeous mountains & friendly people.
Just 150km from Hanoi capital, the idyllic, rural valley of Mai Chau is like a completely different world.The valley is evergreen with rice & corn fields and surrounded by gorgeous mountains.
The paddies and fields of the valley provides the main food for the people living there and elegantly change colour up to the seasons. In Spring, the fields are bursting with the bright, vivid green of the young plants. Over the Summer this gradually changes, the paddies turning into a sea of gold in the Autumn ( harvest time)
Pristine Mai Chau in green rice time & mountain view
Mai Chau valley are populated by the White Thai ethnic groups but there are also some other ethnics in the region such as H’mong, Black Thai, Muong, Viet…. The villages are normally small and blend seamlessly with the environment. People mostly live in traditional houses on stilts, which are skillfully built using a combination of bamboo and timber with thatched roofs.The main trades in this undisturbed settling, weaving and farming, are now complemented by the tourism that the area attracts. The hospitality of the local families is one of the main charms of the area. The laid-back atmosphere of the environment seems to be an extension of the warm, easy going people that live there.
The view of Mai Chau valley
Trips to Mai Chau, you’ll find yourself getting lost in this natural & rural landscapes with green forests, gentle hills, and stilt-house villages; be a part of a culture, a way of life so different from where you’re from. Mai Chau is indeed the place for those who seek peace of mind, an escape from the bustling urban noises and come back to what are basic to human’s happiness – beautiful nature and people’s friendliness.
Things to do & place to visit in Mai Chau valley?
1. Homestay overnight with a local Thai family.
Homestay is an absolute must-experienced thing to do in Mai Chau valley.You can find homestay service in different villages ( Lac, Pom Coong, Van, Mai Hich villages) in Mai Chau valley.In those villages, White Thai families offer simple accommodation on stilt houses right on the edge of vibrant rice fields, with a setting so idyllic that it’s almost unreal, surrounded by verdant jungle, limestone outcrops, and tall mountain tops.Homestaying with a local family & tasting their home-cooked meals can save you up some money, and, at the same time, you will have a good chance to interact with local Thai family, therefore getting to know their culture & daily life.
Happy water & home-cooked meals with local Thai family
The houses of Thai people are traditional stilt houses with 2-storey structure, the first floor for keeping livestock and the second floor is the family’s living space.Sleeping condition will be the exact same as that of the host family. Futon, blanket, mosquito net and fan will be prepared. Toilet and shower are up to western standards.
If the idea of a homestay doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll also find lodges in Mai Chau, offering more comfort and beautiful bungalows with pools and private terraces.
2. Take a bike ride around Mai Chau valley
Mai Chau is a rural & pictureque valley with beautiful background of green rice fields, mountains & local villages – a really ideal place for cycling activitiy.You can rent a bike from the homestay or the hotel for your exploration around Mai Chau valley at your own paces, leisurely hanging around local villages & interact with the locals or stop for the places with nice photos you love for.The bike allows you to go to the beautiful but more remote area of Mai Chau valley such as Mai Hich, Te & Buoc villages
Biking along paddy fields & mountains
3. Hiking in Mai Chau countryside
Mai Chau and its surroundings are particularly beautiful for hiking trips. From a simple walk to a multi-day hike with homestays, there is something for everyone and for all levels. As a couple or with your family, let’s discover this superb rice valley surrounded by beautiful limestone mountains covered with vegetation. Hiking is an opportunity to observe the country life. Depending on the season, you can observe the farmers plowing with a buffalo, transplanting or harvesting the rice.For a long hiking trip of adventure, we recommend you to do with a local tourguide who know well about the routes and show you interesting features of the region : local cultures, their way of life & their customs…..
4. Stop at Thung Khe Pass for a parnoramic view of Mai Chau valley.
To mention about the best things to do in Mai Chau, it would be a mistake to not include Thung Khe Pass – a famous site to enjoy the view of Mai Chau valley.It is a winding pass at altitude of about 1,000 metters above the sea level, cutting through mountain cliffs with a perfect curve.Travelling by private car or private Mai Chau tour package, you can request your private driver to stop at Thung Khe Pass and have a great overview of Mai Chau valley & its towering mountains.
The scenic view down Mai Chau town & valley from Thung Khe pass
5. Enjoy the traditional show of dancing & singing performed by local ethnics.
The traditional show of dancing & singing in Mai Chau is an interesting activity at night.The show is performed by local girls & boys in the village.By the show, they will happily share you stories about local ethnics, their life, love & beautiful landscapes in the region thru their songs and dances.In addition, you can take part in the show, dancing, singing and drinking fermented rice alcohol with them – A great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and end a beautiful day in a friendly atmosphere.
Traditinal dancing & singing by locals
6. Attend a weekly Pa Co market of local tribes on Sunday
Pa Co market is a special local market of local hill tribes, 30km from Mai Chau.Pa Co market is the meeting point where local ethnics of Hang Kia, Pa Co and Long Luong communes come to trade.Every Sunday,local tribes of Hmong, Muong and Thai on their own colorful dresses come to exchange their self-made or self-grown products or just to meet eachother.Nobody knows exactly the history of the Pa Co market, but it still attracts visitors by providing them with an introduction to the daily life of some typical ethnic groups in Mai Chau, Vietnam.
Weekly market of Pa Co on Sunday
7. Taste authentic local foods.
While homestaying with a local Thai family, you can order their home-cooked meals with them.The dishes are normally very local: sticky rice, grilled meat, bamboo shoots and ‘Can’ wine.Tasting the dishes with the locals, like the locals will make your trip to Mai Chau even more special and meaningful.
Meals of local dishes with the lacal host
8. Explore the hidden caves in Mai Chau.
If you are interested in cave exploration, Mai Chau offers you some choices such as Mo Luong cave & Chieu cave which are just near Mai Chau town area.
+ Mo Luong cave is under management by Mai Chau lodge ( in front of the cave).To visit this cave, you need to buy an entrance ticket there, then the door will be opened, the light will be turned on.In the past, during French colonial time, this cave was a special hiding place of Vietnamese solders, then it got another name “Soldier Cave”.Mo Luon cave have 4 main parts with beautiful stalagmites & stalagtites, it will be an adventure to explore all of those parts.If you try this adventure, remember to bring a torch along, you need to climb up and crawl down in slipery & uneven trails…..
+ Chieu cave is another cave nearby Mo Luong cave.This cave is located on the high mountain slope and you need to conquer around 1,250 steps up the mountains.The hiking journey is hard but offer you a scenic view over Mai Chau valley, its town & surrounding mountains.The cave is hidden under a big tree and abundant with numerous mossy stalagmites & stalagtites.The atmosphere seems mysterious due to dark environment, bats flying around & insense smells burned to pray by locals.
Chieu cave – Mai Chau
9. Shop handicraft products made by Thai people
Like every women of the any hill tribe on the mountains of Vietnam,Thai women are famous for their weaving skills. Buying their handicraft is not only worth your money but also helps the local community prosper without abandoning their traditional practice
In each family in Mai Chau,there is a loom where a women works on her fabrics for all her life. Thai brocade fabrics has been known for the rich colors, raised patterns and recent years, very stylish and fashionable. Silk brocade and hemp brocade are made and dyed meticulously and entirely from natural elements. You can rest assure that the fabrics are not toxic to your skin at all.
Handicraft making by local Thai in Mai Chau
10. Visit Pu Luong nature reserve
Pu Luong nature reserve is only 40 kilometers away from Mai Chau and offers you more exposal to magnificent mountainscapes, stunning rice terrace fields, scenic rivers, waterfalls and remote traditional villages. You can extend your exploration to Pu Luong nature reserve experiencing off-the-beaten path trekking routes, homestaying in local Black Thai families & admiring typical landscapes only have in the region.
Pu Luong rice terraces & mountainscapes
Suggested Mai Chau tour itineraries from Hanoi.
1.Hanoi- Mai Chau day trip – Hanoi.
- Start the trip from your hotel around 7h30 a.m and 4 hour driving along countryside & mountain view to Mai Chau valley.Stop to take photos in Thung Khe Pass.
- 12h00, Lunch at a local family in Pom Coong village.
- 13h00 – 15h00Then, cycling or hiking along the valleys & local vallages.
- Some shopping of local brocades in Lac village before driving back to Hanoi city.
- 20h00 finish the trip in Hanoi old quarter
2. Hanoi- Mai Chau 2 days – Hanoi.
If more time you have, a night in Mai Chau will be great, you will have more time to relax & enjoy more fun things to do in Mai Chau valley.
Day 1. The same as the first day of Mai Chau day trip.
Day 2. You can do the following options :
- Exploring Chieu cave & Mai Chau market, lunch & back to Hanoi.
- More trekking to less touristic Mai Hich commune, lunch there & back to Hanoi.
- A visit to Pa Co market (if Sunday) & some hiking in Pa Co & Xa Linh villages.
- Further exploration to Pu Luong nature reserve with hiking in Don villages, lunch & back to Hanoi.
Hiking around the villages of Mai Chau valley
3. Multi -day Mai Chau – Pu Luong trekking tour
If you really would stay intensively with trekking fun & cultural exploration, we recommend you this trip for reference at 4 day interesting escape tour to Mai Chau, Pu Luong nature reserve.
When is the ideal time to visit Mai Chau valley?
The climate in Mai Chau is temperate & pleasant all year around thanks to the mountainous area so you can visit Mai Chau at any time of the year. However, March to May and September to November are the best times to visit Mai Chau. October is perhaps the most ideal month because harvest takes place and the rice takes on a glorious golden hue.
How to get to Mai Chau valley?
Travelling Hanoi to Mai Chau is quite convenient now thanks to its good road condition.You can easily explore Mai Chau by joining our Mai Chau Tour Packages including tourguide, transportation, accommodation, meals & sightseeing fun.
If you plan the trip on your own, in adventure way, you can rent a motorbike in Hanoi & journey to Mai Chau valley but make sure of your driving skills on mountain roads.Cheaper way but some waiting for the orther travellers, you can take a local bus at My Dinh bus station or shuttle bus service Hanoi to Mai Chau valley.For your comfort & flexibility among your family, you can request a private car rental Hanoi to Mai Chau.
We hope this article about things to do in Mai Chau is helpful for you.In need of travel support, feel free to drop us an email to email@example.com or whatsapp us + 84.988451530