Thai village at Mai Chau
Thai village at Mai Chau

Mai Chau - Hoa Binh: Travel Guide, Things to Do

Mai Chau is the name of a lovely district of Hoa Binh Province with secret valleys, untouched forest, Thai villages… Mai Chau is also a name of the capital town of Mai Chau District.

1/ Mai Chau Town – Mai Chau Valley
Mai Chau Town is in a scenic valley with peaceful Thai villages. The valley is home to the White Thai People who live in houses on stilts. Traveling to Mai Chau, you can discover the untouched life of the local people and the idyllic landscape of a heavenly valley with surrounding mountains and rivers.

Mai Chau - VietnamMai Chau Valley from above

Most visitors make easy sightseeing trips to Mai Chau for 2 days and 1 night from Hanoi. At Mai Chau, you can explore the valley with visits to the Lac Village and Pom Coong Village, have a leisurely stroll on the endless paths in the valley taking in the fresh air as well as observing locals going about their daily life.

Mai Chau - VietnamA White Thai Village in Mai Chau, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

In the evening, there is an option of camp fire or sampling a traditional performance of local Thai tribe. The show is for one hour and you can take part in it yourself. Thai ladies have very graceful traditional attires which include a headdress, a shirt which covers the body gracefully and a skirt. Thai brocades including traditional clothes, headdresses, bags… which are manually made in the village are available for sales in several households.

Local food includes steamed rice in bamboo pipe, steamed sticky rice, grilled pork topped with roasted sesame seeds, grilled pork-paste wrapped in grapefruit leaves, stirred fried bamboo shoots, grilled river fish.

Mai Chau - VietnamRice field in Mai Chau, Hoa Binh

For those who love biking, then Mai Chau is a great place for either leisurely cycling or mountain biking depending on your interest. Easy cycling is done on flat village roads teeming with activities. Hard mountain biking brings you to less-seen villages of Mai Chau. The roads are all hilly and the trip requires at least 2 nights in Mai Chau.

 2/Mai Chau District and far-flung ethnic villages
Mai Chau District is home to sublime mountains, secret valleys with of blossoms, untouched forests… you name it. The best way for exploring the area is on a hard trekking adventure. You’ll need to get to Pa Co which is 40km from Mai Chau Town (on Route 6). From Pa Co you trek up hill to Hang Kia Valley, home to a Hmong community and untouched forest. From Hang Kia, you’ll trek down hill through patches of forest to a valley at Cun Pheo. From here the road is quite flat through different Thai villages. This trek requires at least 2 nights at different villages on the way.

Trekking in Hang Kia - Mai Chau
Trekking in Hang Kia - Mai Chau

3/Roads in Mai Chau District
Mai Chau District is not a spot but a vast mountainous area. You must move from one spot to another to take in the full beauty of Mai Chau.
- The road from Hanoi to Mai Chau is via Route 6 which goes up mostly at the Thung Khe Pass as you enter Mai Chau. You’ll want to stop to take in the sublime mountains below you here!

Mai Chau - Vietnam
The mountain town of Mai Chau in Hoa Binh Province, Vietnam

- From Son La, Route 6 via Moc Chau Plateau to Mai Chau goes down mostly. By the roadsides, you’ll get untouched forests, sublime mountains and ethnic villages. The road is in excellent conditions but it may be flooded temporarily during the rainy season (August-October).

The scenic Route 6 from Moc Chau Plateau (Son La) to Mai Chau - Hoa Binh
The scenic Route 6 from Moc Chau Plateau (Son La) to Mai Chau - Hoa Binh

- Route 15 from Pu Luong Nature Reserve (Thanh Hoa) to Mai Chau Town is flat mostly and in fairly good conditions. The road is flat mostly and it travels through the scenic Mai Chau Valley. There are lots of secret valleys and hidden villages if you are willing to stray off the main road and take the side paths...

Route 15 from Pu Luong Nature Reserve (Thanh Hoa) to Mai Chau - Hoa Binh
Route 15 from Pu Luong Nature Reserve (Thanh Hoa) to Mai Chau - Hoa Binh offers series of adventure tours through Mai Chau ranging from trekking tours, motorcycle tours, homestay experiences to bicycle tours and boat tours around the area of Mai Chau. Mai Chau can be combined with an adventure tour to the Northwest of Vietnam or with a trip to the Pu Luong Nature Reserve.