Mai Chau is located in Hoa Binh province, about 135km (83 miles) from Hanoi and 60km (37 miles) from Hoa Binh. Mai Chau is well known for its natural beauty. The valley is home to many ethnic minorities, including the white Thai. From the top of Cun Mountain, the panorama of the lush green valley with its stilt houses is laid out before you.
Everywhere, the stilt houses border both sides of the roads. The houses are quite large with palm leaf roofs and bamboo-slat floors. The kitchen is located in the center of the house; the cooking as well as the making of the colorful “tho cam” takes place in the kitchen. This material is used by the Thai minority to make their clothes. The windows are large and decorated with patterns. Each house also has a pond to breed fish.
The Sunday market brings a lot of people into town. It is full of l ocal products and a mass of color, sights and sounds. People from different minorities living in the nearby mountains come to Mai Chau market to sell their specific products: honey, bananas, corn, and “tho cam” made by skilled Thai women. As important as the commercial aspect of the Sunday market, it is also a social occasion for people whose remote mountain homes isolate them for the remainder of the week.
Attractions in Mai Chau
Hoa Binh has an invaluable treasure of folk arts of ethnic groups. Hundreds and thousands of traditional songs and dances have been developed and nourished into precious property of cultural life of Hoa Binh ethnic groups.
There are three types of art performance: music instrumental performance, folk singing and folk dance. Instrumental performance includes drumming (Muong ethnic group), Cong Chieng playing (Muong ethnic group); chorus of flute and musical instrument (Thai ethnic group); Vi dim folk song (Muong style); khap singing (Thai style), doi singing (Tay style); song of calling lovers (H’Mong), effervescent dances: keng long dance (Muong), Cha Chieng dance (Thai), Chuong dance (Dao), Khen dance (H’Mong), etc …
Visitors will be attracted by special rhythm of Chieng, Drum and castanets, infatuated with ardent Can wine, and seductive smile of mountain girls in their flexible and graceful dances. This will be the most enjoyable moment during your stay in Hoa Binh. Performances may be served in any place at your optinon.
Muong minority hamlet
Situated in Binh Thanh commune, at the foot of the Mo mountain and 12 km away from Hoa Binh town . Giang Mo village has got 100 houses in their original form with daily activities, hand-made water conducting system, water rice mortars, bows and Cross-bows, farming and traditional festivals and practices of Muong ethnic group.
You can visit any families you wish to, where you will be warmly welcomed. You ca also watch folk arts and culture, buy souvenirs made by Muong people themselves. Even more interesting is listening to the host’s fluting, playing their traditional musical instruments next to the most fragrant “can wine” jar ( pine wine). The most distinguished is its peaceful and dreamlike atmosphere, which will bring you to a safe and casting world, 1 km far from Muong village is Red Dzao – A tourist destination that has usually been reached by visitors for many years.
Kim Boi hot mineral spring
Kim boi Spa is 30 km away from Hoa Binh town. Crossing the zigzagging Cun slope. visitors will have the opportunity to view the panorama of Hoa Binh town from top down and freely admire the picturesque and charming mountainous landscape all the way during the journey.
Kim Boi Spa is built on a mineral water spring that streams out from the ground with a temperature of 34 degree centigrade containing many essential minerals for heath. Here, visitors can bath or swim in private or public swimming pools.
Hoa Binh Reservoir
Have you ever heard the name “Ha long bay in Mountain “? This is Hoa Binh reservoir. This is the biggest man-made reservoir in Vietnam that not only supplies water for the Hydro-electric power plant in Hoa Binh but also an attractive tourist destination. With the length of 230 km, the surface area is 230 km 2 between numorous mountains and forests around cloud-covered and hundred islands spread just like Ha long bay. Apart from that, there are many villages of ethnic minorities such as Muong Thai ,Dzao… along two river sides still preserve traditional life styles .
Tourist may stay over night on board to admire romantic moon-nights and enjoy locally typical food or relax yourself in houses on stilts to listen to folk songs, to dink pine wine or to take part in traditional dances of local inhabitants.
You can feel the imposing beauty of Hoa Binh reservoir area as first sun rays emerge though clouds to lighten reservoir surface or dye it violet at nightfall.
By bus: available at Ha Dong station
Hotels & accommodation in Mai Chau
Below is a list of hotels in Mai Chau sorted by price range (highest first). If you wish to telephone a hotel the area code for Mai Chau is 018 (+8418 from outside Vietnam).
- Mai Chau Guesthouse
Price Range: Up to $25 per night
- An alternative to a hotel is to stay at one of the Thai stilt houses. This type of accommodation can be included in the price of a tour. They are cheap but still have clean and hygienic facilities.
What to eat
The hosts are great chef! they cook excellent Vietnamese food for tourists , breakfast is western style with bread, butter, cheese, egg ..(homestay in house on stilt)