The district is located at about 165 km from Ha Noi. The verdant mountainous scenery and tribal culture of Mai Châu attracts many visitors every year.
In 2003 the district had a population of 48,570. The district covers an area of 520 km². The district capital is the city of Mai Châu.
Mai Châu is a mountainous region located in Hòa Bình Province, approximately 135 km from Hanoi (3.5 hour drive)and 65 km from Hòa Bình town. This idyllic valley is embraced by emerald mountains and clouds, making it an retreat centre in North Vietnam.
There is an estimated 48,570 inhabitants including 7 Ethnic Minority groups. ‘White Thai’, ‘H’Mong’, ’Zao’, ’Muong’, ’Tay’, ’Hoa’, and ‘Viet’. Mai Chau consists mainly of the ‘White Thai’ people. The Ban Lac People have Thai ancestors that settled in the North-Western area of Vietnam. The two tribes, White Thai and Black Thai, settled in the same area and make up the largest ethnic population of the region.
The Mai Châu area is well known for its stilt houses. The type of stilt houses, or pile dwellings, they construct are called Thai stilt houses and are made of bamboo and timber. These houses are elevated 10–12 feet off the ground in order to avoid water damage and shelter animals from the elements.
Mai Châu faces several environmental concerns;
There is a possibility to arrive from Hanoi with a public bus for around 100k Dong. You can take a public bus from My Ding bus station for 90k dong. It is said that Mai Chau Ecolodge can provide a private transfer (source) for about 100 USD.
From Ninh Binh
There are at least two public buses that go directly from Ninh Binh to Mai Chau, but please note that the both places are transfer only. The morning bus passes Ninh Binh at around 8:30 and reaches Mai Chau at around 12pm. The other bus is on the late afternoon.
Mai Chau is famous for its stunning beauty as well as a home to Thai ethnic group. There's a number of activities to do in Mai Chau.
Activities : Walking tour around Lac village, you could see farmers working on the field, water buffallos on the field, biking around the town, seeing Thai ethnic museum, 1000 steps cave, enjoy local foods. You could also hire a car to enjoy a scenic drive along Hoa Binh Lake, another Halong Bay in North Vietnam.Kayaking or boat rip is available.
Muong pork - A specialty of Mai Chau, Hoa Binh. There are many delicious dishes made from Muong pigs such as leaf tray, grilled pork, boiled pork, fried pork, blood pudding, rua man and loong soup. Besides these dishes, Muong pork is also processed into other strange and delicious dishes such as Vietnamese curry leaf mixed pork balls, grapefruit leaf wrapped pork rolls, lolot leaf wrapped pork rolls, pork steamed with lemongrass, rotated pork, etc
Some guesthouses can be found on the main street as you arrive to Mai chau, prices start from 200,000dong for a big room with two beds and a fan.
Home stays are better and cheaper, you get there by turning right as you approach the small lake on the main road. Prices range between 50,000 to 70,00 depending on location. Most home stays has WIFI, electricity and fans