Mai Chau Travel Guide
Posted Date: 6/25/20139:35 AM
The Thai of Mai Chau are less likely to employ strong-arm sales tactics than their H’mong counterparts in Sapa: polite bargaining is the norm rather than endless haggling.
Sights & Activities
This is one of the closest places to Hanoi where you can experience a “real” Montagnard village. Other attractions here include staying overnight in one of the Thai stilt houses, walking through the beautiful valley through the rice fields and trekking to minority villages. A typical trek further covers 7km to 8km.
There is a popular 18km trek from Lac village (Ban Lac) in Mai Chau to Xa Linh village, near a mountain pass (elevation 1000m) on Hwy 6. Lac village is home to the White Thai people, while the inhabitants of Xa Linh are H’momg. The trek is quite strenuous to undertake in a day, so most people spend the night in a village along the way. Arrange a local guide and a car to meet you at the mountain pass for the journey back to Mai Chau. Be warned that there is a 600m climb in altitude and the trail can be slippery in the rain.
Longer treks of three to seven days are possible. Ask around in the Mai Chau villages of Lac or Pom Coong. Many cafes and travel agencies in Hanoi run expensive trips to Mai Chau. These include all transport, food and accommodation.
There are two accommodation centres in Mai Chau: the village of Lac and the village of Pom Coong. Pom Coong is slightly more rural and less developed than Lac.
Set a few hundred metres back from the main roadside, both villages offer a rustics experience in traditional Thai Stilts houses. The villagers will sometimes organize traditional song and dance performances in the evenings and anyone is free to join in the fun. A mild word of warning about the showers: the doors may have fairly large gaps between the walls and the occasional opportunists guide or driver has taken the chance to observe the proceedings. Use your towel to good effect.
Getting There & Away
Mai Chau is 135km from Hanoi and just 5km south of Tong Dau junction on Hwy6. There’s no direct public transport to Mai Chau from Hanoi; however, buses to nearby Hoa Binh are plentiful. From Hoa Binh there are several scheduled buses to Mai Chau daily. Usually these stop at Tong Dau junction; then reach to Mai Chau by xe om (motorbike taxi).