Mai Chau, a small district of Hoa Binh province, is an ideal choice for a day trip from Hanoi. With a total area of 564.54km2, this district has 16 administrative units, including Mai Chau Town and 22 communes of Bao La, Chieng Chau, Cun Pheo, Dong Bang, Hang Kia, Mai Ha, Mai Hich, Na Meo, Na Phon, Noong Luong, Pa Co, Phuc San, Pieng Ve, Pu Bin, Tan Dan, Tan Mai, Tan Son, Ba Khan, Thung Khe, Tong Dau, Van Mai and Xam Khoe.
Source: Patrick McGregor
I - How to get from Hanoi to Mai Chau?
The distance between the 2 destinations is about 135km and traveling by limousine seems to be the most ideal choice.
1 - Traveling by motorbike
It will take you about 3.5 - 4 hour to travel by motorbike and the routes are not too difficult. Some motorbike rental shops in Hanoi:
- Motogo: https://motogo.vn
- Phung motorbike: http://www.phungmotorbike.com
- Hanoi motorbike rental: https://hanoimotorbikerental.com
2 - Traveling by bus from Hanoi to Mai Chau
You can go to Yen Nghia bus station or My Dinh bus station for suitable buses. Another choice is that you can rent a limousine if you are traveling with a group of friends or family. Travel time is about 3 - 4 hour and the drop-off point is usually Mai Chau town.
Ha Loan bus
- Pick-up point: My Dinh Bus Station - No.20 Pham Hung Street, My Dinh Ward, Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi at 7:50am and 2pm.
- Price: 80,000 - 100,000 VND / person ($3.5 - 4.4)
- Contact: 098 271 2418 - 091 2490 679
Quang Minh bus
- Pick-up point: My Dinh Bus Station - No.20 Pham Hung Street, My Dinh Ward, Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi at 1:30pm.
- Price: 100,000 - 120,000 VND / person ($4.4 - 5.27)
- Contact: 0987 851 858
Eco Travel Limousine
- Pick-up point: Hanoi Old Quarter
- Drop-off point: your accommodation in Mai Chau town
- Price: 200,000 VND / person ($8.6)
- Contact: 024 3932 3323
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ecotravelgogreenvietnam
Hung Thanh bus
- Pick-up point: No.162B Tran Quang Khai Street, Dong Da District at 10am and 7pm.
- Price: 100,000 - 140,000 VND / person ($4.4 - 6.15)
- Contact: 1900 636 512 - 024 3633 7575 - 024 3633 7614
- Website: http://hungthanhtravel.com.vn
Hoa Dung Limousine
- Pick-up point: Hanoi Old Quarter
- Price: 150,000 - 200,000 VND / person ($6.6 - 8.75)
- Contact: 1900 6975 - 0935 959 858
Tuan Dung Limousine
- Pick-up point: My Dinh Bus Station at 2pm
- Price: 80,000 - 100,000 VND / person ($3.5 - 4.4)
- Contact: 097 88 333 38
3 - Renting a private car with a driver from Hanoi to Mai Chau
- Price: 1,390,000 - 1,500,000 VND / day ($60 - 65)
- Contact: 0981 553 226
- Website: https://vietrapro.com/
- Price: 1,850,000 - 1,970,000 VND / day ($80 - 85)
- Contact: 0982 358 282
- Website: https://www.hanoitransferservice.com
Auto Hoang Viet Car
- Price: 1,000,000 - 1,500,000 VND /day ($43.7 - 65.6)
- Contact: 093 689 26 99
- Website: https://thuexehoangviet.vn
Nang Vang - TravelCar
- Price: 3,000,000 VND / 4-seat car / full trip ($131)
- Contact: 0989 567 299
- Website: https://travelcar.vn
II - Top places to visit & things to do in Mai Chau Vietnam?
1 - Lac Village
Lac Village - Source: Maichautourist
Lac Village is a 700-year-old village. Coming here, appearing before your eyes is a village with golden rice fields, green bamboo groves, and traditional stilt-roofs of the Thai ethnic group. Going deep into Lac village, you see colorful and delicate brocade stalls gradually appearing, where young people in the village are enthusiastic about dancing and singing traditional music.
Location: Chieng Chau commune
2 - Thung Khe Pass
Thung Khe Pass - Source: Vnexpress
Thung Khe Pass is located on the way from Hanoi to Mai Chau - National Highway 6 and is known as one of the most beautiful places to see in Hoa Binh Province. You can enjoy very rustic dishes on the roadside such as boiled corn, boiled sugarcane, and sesame green rice. If you have a longer time to visit, smoking pipes while contemplating the entire valley at the foot of the pass must be an interesting experience that you should try once.
3 - Pom Coong village
This is a village with a strong Thai character that you should not miss in your Mai Chau trekking tour. It is famous for its poetic natural scenery, rolling hills, and vast rice fields, promising to bring you a great experience. Visiting Pom Coong village in any season of the year, you can feel the peace emanating from the scene of clusters of stilt houses, under which are looms for Thai girls to weave brocade. Coming here, you can also immerse yourself in the unique culture of ethnic minorities with activities such as Xoe dancing, Gong festival, sleeping in stilts houses, drinking can wine,...
Location: 300m from Lac Village
4 - Chieu Cave - top attractions in Mai Chau
Chieu Cave is a famous tourist attraction that possesses a mysterious and wild beauty. You have to go through 1200 stone steps to reach the entrance of the cave, which is about 10-15m wide and about 30m high. Next to the cave is an ancient Xa Pung tree, covering the entrance and helping to make the way down to the cave more convenient for visitors. The space in the cave is airy, surrounded by beautiful stalactites of all shapes and sizes that light up and sparkle every afternoon when the sun shines on.
- Location: Mai Chau Town - 1.3km from Pom Coong Village
- Ticket: 10,000 VND / person ($0.44)
5 - Mo Luong Cave
In addition, those who are passionate and interested in trekking can visit Mo Luong Cave as the way up is relatively convenient and not too difficult. Located in the heart of Pu Kha mountain, this is a natural cave in the limestone mountains, undergoing the process of water erosion to form beautiful stalactites. The cave has two entrances and four main caves with various and unique-shaped stalactites, water fountains, and small streams flowing in the mountain, creating a strange charm.
- Ticket: 90,000 VND / person ($3.95)
- Location: 600m from Lac Village
It may amaze you: Top stunning caves in Vietnam
6 - Buoc Tourist Hamlet in Mai Chau
Lying on a hill covered with green palm forest, Buoc hamlet still retains its pristine features, imbued with national cultural identity, which is why this place was chosen to build the project "Thai village associated with tourism”. An interesting and different point when traveling in Buoc hamlet is that visitors can come and stay for a long time, for a period of 2-3 months. During that time, you can visit the custom of wet rice cultivation, upland farming, or participate in production labor with the ethnic people here if you want.
- Address: Buoc Village, Sam Khoe Commune - 20km from Lac Village
III - Where to stay in Mai Chau?
A stilt house - Source: Patrick McGregor
This district is a popular community tourism destination in Vietnam with a variety of accommodation types, the most famous being stilt homestays, which are easy to find in Lac Village, Pom Coong Village,… You can also contact the host to ask them to cook and to request to participate in their daily activities. There are also some other prominent places to stay such as:
Ba Khan Village Resort
Set on verdant grounds and overlooking Hoa Binh Lake, this Mai Chau resort offers a relaxing atmosphere with a variety of rooms from regulars, suites to thatched roof bungalows.
- Address: Ba Khan Commune - 25km from Lac Village
- Room rate: 1,300,000 - 1,635,000 / room / night ($56.86 - 71.5)
- Contact: 0218 3832 666
- Website: https://www.bakhan.com
Mai Chau Ecolodge
This famous 4-star resort has 21 separate bungalows and 43 high-class rooms, with a hill restaurant, a private swimming pool on the balcony and excellent service.
- Address: Na Chieng Village, Na Phon Commune - 1.2km from Lac Village
- Room rate: 1,260,000 - 5,180,000 / room / night ($55 - 226.6)
- Contact: 0218 3819 888
- Website: https://maichau.ecolodge.asia
Mai Chau Riverside Bungalow
This Mai Chau accommodation is a 3-star resort with high-class rooms divided into 3 types: garden view bungalow, river view bungalow and family suite, which are inspired by the traditional Thai stilt houses.
- Address: Chieng Chau Commune - 750m from Lac Village
- Room rate: 860,000 - 1,500,000 / room / night ($37.6 - 65.6)
- Contact: 094 179 65 56
Mai Chau Villas
Besides 10 elegant and fully equipped villas, it also provides you with unique services such as picnic and sightseeing tours, cultural exchanges, harvesting rice, cooking, fishing,...
- Address: Mai Hich Commune - 9km from Lac Village
- Room rate: 1,300,000 - 1,670,000 / room / night ($57 - 73)
- Contact: 0379 508 659
- Website: https://maichauvillas.vn
Mai Chau HideAway
This Mai Chau resort is located in the heart of Hoa Binh Lake. Staying here, you have the chance to be immersed in nature, enjoying fresh and cool air in a space designed in a very traditional style.
- Address: Suoi Lon Village, Son Thuy Commune - 18km from Lac Village
- Room rate: 1,600,000 - 2,600,000 / room / night ($70 - 113.7)
- Contact: 098 669 98 66
- Website: https://maichauhideaway.com
IV - Other essential information
1 - What is the weather in Mai Chau like?
Spring in Mai Chau - Source: Msquare
Surrounded by numerous hills, this small district is influenced by the Northwest monsoon, showing characteristics of the tropical high mountain climate. The number of hot hours in a day in the summer is 5-6 hours, in the winter is 3-4 hours, the annual average humidity reaches 82%. There are 2 distinct seasons: the rainy season lasts from May to October, and the dry season lasts from November to April next year. Rainfall is most concentrated from July to September. There are about 122 rainy days / year with the average annual rainfall in the rainy season reaching 1,700 - 2,500mm.
Season of ripe paddle fields is the best time to visit Mai Chau Vietnam - Source: Lythanhco
This destination is probably the most beautiful in the ripe rice season, which falls around September - October. This destination would turn into a valley gilded with gold with fields stretching to the horizon, making you impossible to forget.
2 - Local specialties that should not be missed
It will be an interesting experience for you to enjoy local cuisine such as Bamboo-tube rice, sticky rice, pork loin, grilled fish, bitter bamboo shoots, Mai Ha wine,...
Com lam (Bamboo-tube rice)
This Mai Chau food is made from high-quality fragrant sticky rice. After being soaked for a certain time, the rice is mixed with fresh coconut and stuffed all into the bamboo tube, adding a little coconut water to make the rice taste greasy.
The fragrant sticky rice is skillfully processed by Thai ethnic people into many eye-catching colors from natural ingredients such as the red color of gac, beetroot, green color of pandan leaves... This dish often appears on Tet holidays and festivals of the Thai ethnic group, but nowadays, to meet the needs of tourists to experience the culinary culture, the dish is processed more often.
Bitter bamboo shoots
In your Mai Chau tours, you should not miss Bitter bamboo shoots - a specialty dish of the Northwest mountainous areas in Vietnam. After choosing fresh bamboo shoots, locals then bake them to shrivel up and then peel them to get the sprouts. The bamboo shoots are crispy and have a characteristic bitter taste, dotted with a mixture of salt, chili, mac Khen, garlic and crushed garlic leaves, giving you an unforgettable impression.
Stir-fried wild bees with bamboo shoots
The locals choose young white bees with greasy bee pupae, and stir-fry with thinly sliced bamboo shoots, making an easy-to-eat dish, even addictive. Wild bees are not always available or raised, so to enjoy this dish you should travel to Mai Chau around the summertime or late summer - the breeding season of the bees.
Mai Ha Wine
Not just a drink, Mai Ha Wine is a specialty of cultural and historical value with extremely special recipes. The wine is distilled from yeast leaves, completely made from the skillful hands of the industrious, tolerant and hardworking local people. This wine is easy to drink but also quite easy to get drunk, so you need to have a good alcohol tolerance.
3 - Where to eat in Mai Chau?
There are a lot of ethnic restaurants in Lac Village and Van Village offering famous local dishes at good prices.
Hop Thuy Restaurant
With a professional, classy and luxurious scale, Hop Thuy Restaurant gives you the opportunity to taste local specialties at super cheap prices. The shop has a unique architectural space and attentive, considerate service.
- Address: Sub-zone 2, Mai Chau Town
- Opening hours: 6am - 10pm
- Price: 150,000 - 300,000 VND / serving ($6.56 - 13.12)
Thuy Nga Restaurant
The restaurant sells everything from snacks to rice and noodle, all quality dishes but at extremely affordable prices. The staff is very enthusiastic and welcoming, the food is arranged very quickly and delicious.
- Address: Dong Bang Commune
- Opening hours: 7am - 10pm
- Price: 50,000 - 200,000 VND / serving ($2.2 - 8.75)
3 Chi Em Restaurant (three sisters)
This Mai Chau restaurant is trusted by many tourists for the quality of food and the enthusiastic service of the staff. The restaurant's dishes are characterized by mountains and forests at a reasonable price.
- Address: Chieng Sai Village - 1.7km from Lac Village
- Opening hours: 6am - 10pm
- Price: 5,000 - 300,000 VND / serving ($0.22 - 13.12)
Besides the above-mentioned restaurants, you can also order meals at the homestay where you live.
4 - Some recommended tour operators
Mai Chau tours
- Address: No.3, Ai Mo Alley, Ai Mo Street, Hanoi
- Contact: 0961 911 094 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Booking: https://www.maichautours.net/
- Tour price: 2,850,000 - 17,070,000 VND / person ($125 - 750)
- Address: No.83 Ma May Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
- Tour price: $132 / person / 2 days 1 night tour
- Contact: (+84) 243 6425 420 - (+84) 989587400
Overall, Mai Chau Vietnam never lacks its attractiveness and appeal to all tourists coming to visit. Being located in a convenient location which is easy for you to travel combined with unique and diverse features in tourism, it is always one of the most ideal tourist attractions in Vietnam for you to flee from the chaos and worries of life.