We recently opened up 4 amazing new multiday tours that take you through beautiful, rural areas of Northern Vietnam, including the Mai Chau Valley. Mai Chau is well known for its gorgeous natural scenery, the White and Black Thai communities who live in the picturesque villages and for having plenty of outdoor activities close by.
We wanted to showcase this destination today – which is one of our team favourites – and help you learn all the best things to do in Mai Chau!
Stay with a local family
While there a few lovely hotels and lodges in the Mai Chau valley, we recommend staying in a homestay while in the area. Almost every house in the various villages has a few extra beds to house visitors and many have a separate building just for guests. Sleeping is usually communal but the beds are very cosy, the food is fantastic and you’ll have an insight into how local Thai families live.
Strap on your hiking shoes and head up into the hills surrounding Mai Chau. There are plenty of more remote villages dotted across the valley and you can spend a day walking between them. You’ll take in the scenery, witness first-hand the agricultural lifestyle and experience the hospitality of the Thai people you meet along the way.
Cycle through the villages
Most homestays offer bicycles for rent for a few dollars a day and there is no better way to explore the area. Cycle from one pretty hamlet to the next, between the rice paddies and wandering buffalo and ducks – make sure to have a camera ready!
Shop for local handicrafts
Mai Chau is one of the best places to go shopping in Vietnam as the range of local handicrafts is amazing. You’ll notice a lot of the same things on offer in the streets of Hanoi but this is the source of all that creativity! Buy from the ladies here and you’ll get fairer prices while giving directly to the artisans and weavers themselves.
Learn to weave
You can also go one step further and request a weaving lesson! The locals are happy to show you the ropes and you’ll quickly realise just how much work goes into those beautiful scarves and tapestries!
Try the local cuisine
A totally different culture means a whole new host of foods to try! If you are staying in a homestay in Mai Chau, then you’ll be able to try plenty of local home cooking. We love the grilled meats and there are always plenty of fresh vegetable dishes alongside the rice. You should also head to one of the local BBQ restaurants and try some grilled chicken and pork. One final specialty that makes for a great hiking or biking snack is the bamboo rice which comes with a tasty mix of salt and peanuts for dipping.
Visit the Thac Go Lao Waterfall
A short 30-minute motorbike ride out of town brings you to a winding road towards the Hoa Binh Dam that is fed by a stunning waterfall. There is a rather small sign beside a local home that signals the way and then you must hike down a steep path to get there. It’s worth the potential for getting lost and you can take a refreshing swim in the pools to cool you down from your journey!
Tour the Mu Luong Cave
Opposite the Mai Chau Lodge is a cave system that runs deep into the mountain. A guide from the hotel can unlock the door and give you a short tour for a small fee and it is well worth a visit. The cave was once used as an arms depo in the Vietnam war.
This is a short list of 8 things to do in Mai Chau to guide your trip but the joy in visiting these rural parts of Northern Vietnam is to simply wander and soak in the atmosphere.
Get in touch today to book your own trip to Mai Chau to experience all this and more.