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Mai Chau

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Surface: 520 km2
Population: 50,000 inhabitants
Position: Hoa Binh Province, North Vietnam 
Get to Mai Chau: Located about 150 kilometers west of Hanoi, Mai Chau is accessible by direct buses or cars from the capital city. However, there is no Airport in Hoa Binh Province or Train connection.
Weather: Weather in Mai Chau is almost same as in Hanoi, tropical climate with 4 seasons of hot and wet. Mai Chau town is in the lowlands, just about 150 meters above the sea, in the summer there are high temperatures up to 35 °C, but very suitable temperatures to 25 °C in the autumn. In the winter months it can be quite humid and foggy in the hilly area, so be careful when traveling. 
Mai Chau is a district in Hoa Binh Province, located in the West of Hanoi. Nested between two towering cliffs and surrounded by emerald green rice paddies, Mai Chau is an eco-destination welcoming thousands of visitors annually. 
Driving from Ha Noi to Son La or Mai Chau, most tourists would stop at the entrance to Mai Chau where the breathtaking panoramic view of the area is exposed. From above Mai Chau looks like a huge green stadium with emerald mountain slopes and terraces. Cycling along the main road is an excellent way to enjoy the charming of lively rice paddies, spectacular lakes and local stilt houses .
Apart from the busy life from cities, Mai Chau offer visitors a true relaxing get-away holiday. There's not much noise in Mai Chau except for some cock crows and bird chirpings. It's all so quiet and tranquil here that most travellers from the moments entering the valley can smell a different world. Many artist travellers would come to Mai Chau only to get lost among the peaceful nature for the whole day and come back with their complacency of the newly-painted arts. Photographers would keep wandering in the valley as they are really lost in an art paradise.
Mai Chau is charming not beacause of only the inspring picturesque landscape but the local ethnic culture also. The Thai ethnic people are divided into White Thai and Black Thai, all rooted from Thailand, account for the largest portion in Mai Chau, besides some other groups such as Hmong, Dao, Muong, Tay, Hoa . These people live in stilt houses built by there special structure to protect themselves from water and attacks by wild dangerous animals. As an attractive destination welcoming many visitors a year, the locals here also offer homestays for demanding guests. During your stay, you can observe the daily lives, customs and traditions of your hosts, enjoy the traditional dance or drink the local rice wine "ruou Can". With this kind of lodging, tourists can themselves experience the real idyllic rural life and enjoy being a part of the gorgeous nature here. The majority of the population of Mai Chau Valley is the White Thai. They are among the most friendly to the foreign travellers in Vietnam. The security is excellent and there's no hassle with people selling souvenirs as they are all gentle and warm-hearted.
MAI CHAU TRAVEL EXPERIENCE:
1.Best time to visit:
Being a low valley covered by high mountains, the weather in Mai Chau is mild and pleasant, not too hot or too cold. That endowed condition encourages tourists to visit in any seasons. For the best experience, travellers are recommended to come in between October and April when the weather is most favoured and Mai Chau itself is in the most beautiful time.
From October to December is Mai Chau's winter time. The tranquil atmosphere and some fog with very cool temperature all will bring you the most relaxation and charm you into a longer stay. Coming to Mai Chau in this time, tourists will be overwhelmed by its picuresque enchanting sight of blooming white cherries, white plums covering the whole valley. This impressive charming blossoms  in a pure, fresh valley always captivate people from the first glance. 
In March and April, when Ban flower (Bauhinia variegata) blooms every where in the valley, ethnic minority groups here hold many traditional festivals. If you are interested in exploring culture, this period is the most suitable for you to learn the customs and traditions here.
2. What to discover:
As there is no train or plane here, travellers can access this paradise by cars or motobikes. When moving in Mai Chau, the recommended transportation is bicycle, very environment-friendly and suitable with narrow roads here. Please do not worry about the transportation because guest houses and homestays all offer bikes for rent with a very cheap price of 20.000-25.000 VND per one. 
Below are some suggested places that you should visit in Mai Chau:
Lac and Pom Coong villages:
If you want to join in homestay, rent a place in guest houses, enjoy the local dishes, buy souvenirs or experience life, culture and festival of ethnic minority people here, these two villages are the best choice that you cannot miss. They are the biggest tourism spots in Mai Chau where you can have all you need for a real escape holiday. Mo Luong and Chieu Caves:These two caves owns for itself a mistical beauty with a spectacular system of stalactites and stalagmites with different forms and shapes after thousands of years. Discovering those one will makes your treks perfect and unforgettable.
Pu Luong:
Taking one day trip from Mai Chau to Pu Luong Natural Reserve is a smart choice for travellers as these two destinations are not so far away. This breathtaking place offers an excellent opportunity for trekkers and explorers to be involved in nature, perhaps see wild animals in their own habitat. Ethnic villages, rivers, mountains and valleys are big attractions in Pu Luong that you should experience yourself.
Moc Chau Tea Plantations:
Located approximately 40 km from Mai Chau town, it is easy for travellers to visit the land of tea plantations and fruit trees. Here immense tea plantations are exhibited to visitors, always so vivid and verdurous.
3. Tasting local cuisines:
Local food in mountainous area is always famous for is fresh and special taste. Visitors can have meals in guest houses or Mai Chau Market. The suggested here is guest houses, especially homestays as meals are cooked by the hosts. Family-style Vietnamese cooking is generally far superior to restaurant fare, and you wouldn't want to miss out on the nightly group meals. They provided true local dishes, true local taste with a very reasonable price. Lam rice, upland glutinous sticky rice (sticky color), Muong pork, bitter bamboo shoots , hill chicken, grilled spring fish , wine Mai Ha, sour marinated meat, sour fish ... are specialties that you should try during your stay. 
SOME ORIENTATIONS:
1.ATMs:
There is no ATM in town or bank options for travellers here, just one Agribank where you can change Dollars into local currency Vietnam Dong. Some electronics shop also can be some help of you when asking for Dong.
Agribank: Tieu Khu II, Mai Chau town.
Tel: (0218) 386 7258 F: (0218) 386 7372.
Hours: 07:00 to 11:30 and 13:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday
2.Internet:
Internet is available at the Post Office for 3,000VND per hour, along with long distance telephone services .
Mai Chau Post Office: Tieu Khu II, Mai Chau town.
Tel: (0218) 386 7091.
Hours: 07:00 to 11:00, 13:30 to 17:00. Every day except public holidays
3.Hospital
For any minor ailments there is a small hospital in Mai Chau along the main road, but for anything remotely serious, head to Hanoi.
Mai Chau Hospital: Khu IV, Mai Chau town.
Tel: (0218) 386 7397
SOME RECOMMENDED ACCOMMODATIONS:
1.Mai Chau Ecolodge
The hotel offers an experience of unique luxury & ecological accommodation in Mai Chau Valley for travellers to have the best relaxation.
Address: Na Thia Village, Na Phon Commune, Mai Chau, Vietnam
Website: maichau.ecolodge.asia
2.Mai Chau Family Homestay
This is not a 5 star hotel, but the feeling it brings to tourist is just exactly its name. Family Home Stay is an ideal place for people who love to explore the nature and the culture among a local community.
Adress: Long village (Kha Ngoc Luyen),Cont. Van Mai, Mai Chau, Vietnam
Website: maichaufamilyhomestay.com
3.Mai Chau Lodge
Mai Chau Lodge is a unique well-located place, offering the paramount in natural relaxation and cultural exploration. Staying here, visitors experience a blend of history, culture and nature meshed with luxury and modern amenities create beautiful and lasting memories. A full range of exciting activities, from swimming to kayaking, to cycling and rock climbing is also suggested to give you the best memory of Mai Chau.
Adress: Mai Chau Town, Mai Chau District, Hoa Binh Province, Viet Nam.
Website: maichaulodge.com
4.Mai Chau Villas:
Located in the beautiful Cha Lang Valley, Mai Chau Villas is a boutique villa that can accommodate 30 guests. Here, guests are able to relax in the tranquility of the surroundings, as well as explore the natural landscape by walking, trekking, and rafting. The staffs are so sweet and cannot be more welcoming that make guests feel the best relaxation here.
Address: Cha Lang Valley, Mai Hich Commune, Mai Chau, Vietnam
Website: maichauvillas.info
5.Sol Bungalows
Ideally located in the heart of Mai Chau valley, Sol Bungalows is the most exquisite and tranquil place in the area, surrounded by lush rice paddies, emerald mountains and bamboo trees.This secluded resort offers valley view with rice fields in front and mountains in the distance.Sol Bungalows also offers guest a series of activities like join cooking class or get pampered with some treatments. For outdoor activities,there are mountain bikes available for guests to discover beautiful Mai Chau.
Address: Chieng Chau Village, Mai Chau, Vietnam.
Website: solbungalows.com
6. Homestays
Lac and Pom Coong villages provide stilt houses for homestay with reasonable price. Come to these two villages for the best local experience!

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