Mai Chau Vietnam best things to do & travel guide 2024

Situated in the west of Hoa Binh province, next to Moc Chau and Quan Hoa dist., Mai Chau Vietnam annually welcomes hundreds of thousands of domestic and foreign tourists who come to immerse themselves in nature and have a chance to look into the life of indigenous Thai people. Despite not having an abundance of attractions as its neighbor Moc Chau, Mai Chau valley manages to draw many travelers and globetrotters due to its photogenic beauty, refreshing cool weather, diverse cultural mixture, and unique culinary features. Let’s explore these experiences that BM Travel Adventure has gathered to share with our dear tourists.

When is the ideal period to visit Mai Chau Vietnam?

When is the ideal period to visit Mai Chau Vietnam?

Regarding the climate, Mai Chau consists of two distinct phases. The rainy season lasts from May to October, with the main rainfall from July to September. The dry season is from November to April, with arid weather, cold fog, and chilling drizzle. 

Within the dry period from November to April, there would be less risk of encountering landslides that frequently occur on National Road 6 in the North’s flood season. January to February is the ideal time for visitors to catch the sight of plum and peach blossoms. 

When heat waves sweep over the North around July and August, spending your weekend in Mai Chau, Vietnam, would be an ideal plan to escape the oppressive heat of Hanoi.

How to go to Mai Chau by motorbike

Travel from Hanoi to Mai Chau

Mai Chau is about 140 kilometers from Hanoi and 60 kilometers northwest of Hoa Binh city. Motorbike is highly recommended only for experienced drivers.

Travel in Mai Chau Vietnam

If you plan to explore the town center and some places like Lac village or Poom Coong, trust me, a motorbike is not the best idea. However, you will need one when your itinerary includes some faraway destinations, such as Thung Khe Pass and Ba Khan.

Accommodation in Mai Chau

Mai Chau Ecolodge

How to go to Mai Chau by motorbike

If you want to experience the rhyme of life in a splendid Mai Chau with the traditional stilt houses hidden behind the deep mist, you should consider Mai Chau Ecolodge. With a private space with high-class services, this place will help you have a remarkable journey in Mai Chau. Coming to the ecolodge, you will feel like stepping into another world with stunning scenery of lush rice paddies and emerald mountains embraced by clouds. Built entirely from natural materials with thatched roofs, bamboo interiors, wooden furniture, and outdoor jungle showers, Mai Chau Ecolodge is an ideal choice if you want to escape bustling and crowded cities.

Based on ecological principles, Mai Chau Ecolodge has made endless efforts to reduce the direct impact on the natural and social environment. A full range of services such as swimming pools, spas, and well-decorated restaurants will make you feel satisfied. Besides, you will have a chance to enjoy traditional music performances, sightseeing and tour guiding, or cooking class. Mai Chau Ecolodge truly opens the door to getting insights into the charming Thai tribal style.

Traditional stilt houses

Traditional stilt houses

You can find numerous homestays in Lac and Poom Coong villages. The traditional stilt houses as the rustic yet gracious accommodations contribute to bringing the breath of local life to visitors. You will see that each house comes with a particular number and the owner’s name. Staying there, you will find yourself pleasantly overwhelmed by the special Thai cultural show with unique dances or the interesting campfire. The local dishes with delicious tastes will be served in your meals. When traveling with a group, each of you will be given a blanket, curtain, pillow, and cushion and choose an appropriate location to sleep in the stilt house. It will be best if your group seeks an airy space to stay in Mai Chau.

Hotels and resorts

If you are a couple or have young children, a private space like a hostel, a resort, or a bungalow is more suitable. You will find several hostels along the main road from the town, while almost all resorts are located outside the village. But don’t worry! By choosing this accommodation type, you can enjoy Thai cuisine, explore the fascinating culture, share your stories with friendly locals, and return to your hostels at night.

Check out: Top Hotels, Resorts, Homestays in North Vietnam selected by BM Travel Adventure [Part 1]

What to explore in Mai Chau Vietnam

Being endowed with favorable conditions by nature and beautiful landscapes, Mai Chau takes pride in its magnificent range of mountains and greenery-protected forests. Moreover, Mai Chau is widely famous for local relics and freaking landscapes such as Khoai cave, Lang cave, Chieu cave, Soldier Cave, Lac village (Chieng Chau), Buoc village (Xam Khoe), Hang Kia hamlet, and so on.

What to explore in Mai Chau Vietnam

Local activities worth enjoying 

In Mai Chau, visitors have a chance to explore the places listed below. Meanwhile, after the sun goes down, you can stroll around the Lac village area, take part in cultural activities, fire camping or immerse yourself in the local music performed by Thai girls and boys. 

Riding motorbike around the village

Riding along Lac village, then crossing Poom Coong village, is an interesting experience that you should not miss out on in the early morning.

Drinking coffee and capturing Mai Chau’s beauty

Poom Coong village is ideal for you to savor a cup of coffee and gather with your family and friends. A cafe shop inside the hotel has a gorgeous view of the surroundings.

Thung Khe Mountain Pass

Located on Highway 6, Hoa Binh province, Thung Khe Mountain Pass is about 1000 meters above sea level. On the journey to Mai Chau, tourists will take the chance to taste much local food along the road. Besides, at the peak of Thung Khe, a perfect location to contemplate nature in Hoa Binh province, tourists can capture the stunning view of the valley at the foot of the mountain pass.

Thung Khe Mountain Pass

Lac Village

Lac Village has existed for more than 700 years. The locals here are almost Thai people who live from generation to generation in the village and mainly earn a living from rice cultivation and brocade garment. Lac village is a precious gift of nature for those who seek tranquility and inner peace when immersing in the mountainous greenery space.

Until now, nearly 30 homestays have been opened to meet the demand of tourists with comfortable and clean spaces.

One thing blowing your mind is that all stilt houses are built based on natural primitive architecture. All daily items in each house, such as blankets, mattresses, and pillows, are neatly and fully equipped.

Another thing making Lac village different from other places is that visitors are not afraid of being disturbed by impolite vendors who try to insist on buying their products. The local people are truly friendly and easy-going, so tourists feel free to take photos of a wide range of local items such as scarves, flare skirts, bamboo flutes, gongs, and horns available in front of the door of each house.

Poom Coong village

Similar to other Muong and Thai villages, residents in Poom Coong mainly live near streams and rivers. Their houses often lean on mountains or hills and have rice fields ahead.

The key factor of the tourist services here is the sanity of accommodation, such as a refined atmosphere, clean water supply, and well-constructed sanitary system. In addition, rubbish is also categorized, put in the right place, and treated appropriately. The pure nature and the peace of life easily make you fall in love with this place.

Poom Coong village

Buoc village

Buoc Village, located in Xam Khoe commune and 30 kilometers from the center to the southwest, is on a hill entirely covered by a palm forest. This spot retains its new features and is imbued with nationally cultural identity. Thai ethnic minority in Buoc village inherits an extremely rich physical and spiritual cultural heritage, particularly the practices of wet rice cultivation, upland cultivation, traditional stilt houses made of wooden floors, thatched roofs, and specific production labor tools such as water pickets, baskets, and pots.

Mo Luong Cave

Located in the Pu Pa mountain range system of Mai Chau town, Mo Luong Cave is about 2 km from Lac village. It is widely known as an ideal destination for those who love to explore and seek strange feelings when coming to Mai Chau. Mo Luong cave also has another name given by the Thai White people. It’s Bo Luong, meaning huge water storage. Mo Luong consists of 4 main caves, which stand out for their stalactite system and unique shapes. During the Indochina War, this place used to be a secret place for assembling the Vietnamese army and people. At the end of the journey to explore Mo Luong cave, visitors can seize an opportunity to contemplate an underground stream flowing to a nearby lake.

Chieu Cave

The local people named Chieu Cave at the top of the Pu Kha mountain range. “Chieu” means “afternoon”. Whenever the sun goes down, the light of gorgeous sunset shining straight into the cave reflects the magnificent beauty of stalactites. For that reason, residents living here came up with the name.

Chieu Cave is quite large and divided into two floors. The paths inside the cave are relatively flat. Coming inside the cave, tourists will be overwhelmed by the unique and splendid features of the cave. Numerous stalactites in various shapes appear in every corner of the cave, creating the stunning natural scenery for Mai Chau.

Hanoi To Mai Chau by Motorcycle

Pa Co Market

Pa Co Market, located nearly 40 kilometers from the center of Mai Chau District, is the meeting point of 3 communes, including Hang Kia, Pa Co (Mai Chau), and Loong Luong (Moc Chau, Son La). Every Sunday, when the deep mist still covers the green forest and the old roof of stilt houses, the villagers from the hills and valleys flock to the market. This upland market is not only a place for trading and exchanging goods but also an emotional bridge to connect people.

Pa Co market takes place once a week, but it is always crowded and busy. The market is covered with the unique color of the different traditional costumes from several ethnic groups. The items people bring to the market are very diverse, from agricultural products, livestock, cloth, brocade, farm tools, household appliances, electronics, and so on.

You should take a motorbike trip to reach this highland market in Pa Co commune, Mai Chau district. You must follow Highway 6 to approach Pa Co and fulfill your dream of discovery here!

What to eat in Mai Chau

Bamboo-tube rice

This is a typical dish of ethnic minorities in the mountainous areas of Northwest Vietnam, especially Mai Chau. The only ingredient is sticky rice which was put into a bamboo tube. The locals will bake the tube over low heat and eat this dish with salted sesame or grilled pork. Bamboo-tube rice requires carefulness and skillfulness. The cooked rice is grown in the high mountains, thus being white, soft, and sweet-smelling.

Bamboo-tube rice

Sticky rice

For locals, glutinous rice is essential to Mai Chau’s cuisine. Thai people always choose fragrant sticky rice to make the most delicious dishes. Hard-working farmers grow this type of rice in the terraced paddy fields of Mai Chau valley. With the complicated making process, glutinous rice will bring an unforgettable flavor to you.

Muong pork

The local people let the pigs with pointed noses, thin legs, and small ears find food by themselves and grow naturally in the forest. Therefore, they have crunchy sweet skin and fresh thick meat. As one of the unique dishes of the mountainous area, Muong pork is representative of this land’s ingenuity and cultural beauty.

Muong pork

Bitter bamboo shoots 

Bitter bamboo shoots are the favorite food of many people and one of Mai Chau’s specialties in the Northwest forests. The locals collect and store them in their houses to soak or dry up. When enjoying this dish, you will feel the bitterness first, but then the slight sweetness comes to all your senses. Therefore, visitors call bitter bamboo shoots a “love dish”.

Stir-fried bees with bamboo shoots

If you wish to taste the special dish of bees fried with bamboo shoots, visiting Mai Chau at the end of summer is advisable. This is the only time you can find the rare jungle bee. The dwellers will collect big beehives to make drugs or food. The old and brown bees are soaked into the wine bottle, while the young and white bees are chosen to cook this dish. Instead of lemon leaves, Mai Chau people often roast jungle bees with sour bamboo shoots. This perfect combination is a precious gift of the deep forests of Mother Nature here.

Hill chicken

Chickens in Mai Chau are not raised by industrial methods. These chickens often run up the hill to find food by themselves. Despite being smaller than normal chickens, their meat is firm and fragrant, creating a striking feature for Mai Chau cuisine. The special spice with lemon leaves will bring this dish a memorable taste.

Hill chicken

Phao leave water

As a special beverage of Mai Chau, this water is made from forest leaves. The locals collect, dry, cut, and cook them. When sipping a cup of leaf water, you will feel the acrid flavor, the unique taste of forest leaves, and the traditional Chinese medicine. You should not skip this drink because it is delicious and beneficial for your health. Particularly, it helps improve your digestive system and immunity.

Check out : Top 6 Exotic Foods in Northwest Vietnam You Must Try Once in Your Life

Suggested Mai Chau Tour Itineraries

One hundred sixty kilometers far from Hanoi, Mai Chau is a peaceful valley sheltered by the outside world by majestic hills.

BM Travel Adventure suggests the suitable itinerary below to help you have a memorable trip to Mai Chau. Scroll down and check it!

Contact us for more interesting information​

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