Mai Chau, Vietnam - My Idyllic Holiday

Mai Chau is a quiet, rustic, idyllic valley surrounded by lush paddy fields. It is suitable for a leisurely holiday with biking along the banks inside the paddy fields. Some hiking up the hill is also available.

It is nice to get away from the hustle bustle of Hanoi city for tranquility. Mai Chau is a rural district on the Northwest of Vietnam of about 135 KM from Hanoi. It is well known for its stilt houses or pile dwellings. The houses are built elevated about 10-12 feet above the ground to avoid water damage and shelter animals. 

The women are masterful weavers producing traditional cloths, bags and souvenirs. The laid back way of life of the people is a big welcome change from the commercialised tourist area. Here, there is no hard selling of any sort. 

There are two types of package tours available: a full day tour or a 2 days one night tour. A full day tour costs about  US 45 per pax. The cost of 2 days one night tour varies according to the type of accommodation we choose from such as bungalows, hostels, guesthouses or mixed dormitories. 
Getting there takes about 4 hours drive with one stop at Hoa Binh City for refreshments. In the van on the way up, I found out most of us paid different tour prices since we all bought from different agent. Therefore, I suppose we have to really haggle the price before buying tours in Hanoi.

The lodge is clean, peaceful, rustic and traditional with walls lined with bamboo. This is the inside of a bungalow for two.

Night view of the main building. Upstairs are the guesthouse, downstairs serves as a dining cum lounge. All meals are provided inclusive of the tour. 

Biking is one of the interesting itinerary which should not be missed.

There are plenty of bicycles available in the shed.  

I had fun biking around the village with my tour mate Laura, from Ireland. 

The villagers are so smitten by her beauty that they started to crowd round her taking her photo. She has become an instant celebrity in Mai Chau! Wow!

The next morning, its an early morning breakfast, then hiking up the hills and later to the village market.

The air is cool and fresh! From the hills the early morning view down the valley is fantastic. Local women has already done their daily harvesting from the hill top and is making their way down. Caught them taking a short breather on the steps.

Our tour guide took us to the local morning market. It's a real local village market! Why? Because we can see what is actually being sold in their market.

Well, what is this? It is barbequed straped up in sticks. 

This caught Laura's attention! I saw the locals buying the meat. Well, this world made up of different cultures. Therefore, different people of different cultures eat different types of animal meat. So, no offense is intended in any way to any group.

Lastly, I couldn't resist taking a photo of these ducks. Quak! Quak! Quak! They are making so much noise walking home! 

When Visiting Hanoi, it will be worth while to allocate a few extra days for some out of town tours. 

My other post in North Vietnam tour series includes:
Third Part: Perfume Pagoda:  

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