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Mai Chau

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Mai Châu is a district of Hòa Bình Province in the Northwest region of Vietnam.


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.

Environmental pressures[edit]

Mai Châu faces several environmental concerns;

  • Deforestation - Land continues to be cleared in order to produce more crops
  • Trash - Mai Châu faces a garbage disposal problem and this is evident in the diminishing quality of their water courses.
  • Tourism - A gradual influx of tourists puts strain on the local environment

Get in[edit]

From Hanoi[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

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.

Eat[edit][add listing]

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

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Homestay: Staying overnight in a homestay with locals is a true experience to learn more about its culture, history and people. The Lac and Pom Coong villages are backpacker centre, you should go to Van Village for more authentic homestay. For something more comfortable and private, the 4-star Mai Chau Ecolodge is the choice.

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

  • Mai Chua Valley View Hotel: A modern hotel situated on the main road of Mai Chau with views across the rice fields to the mountains .The rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable with balconies to enjoy the view . The en suites are well set out with plentiful hot water. A breakfast is included and comes with an extensive choose of options . The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner for a reasonable price. The manager Mr Ha Van Duong is a charming host and is a wealth of knowledge about the local area and places to see.
  • Mai Chau Sunset Boutique Hotel: This is the first and only hotel owned by local minority ethnic family (Ha Hien Family). Sunset Boutique is located in a quiet, clean place, close to the nature. Therefore, you can easily behold the beauty of peaceful hamlets, green lakes, romantic hillsides and the ever stretching rice fields swaying in the fresh mountain breeze from the windows of the rooms.
  • Mai Chau Ecohouse: In Poom Coong Village close to the Sunset Bar. Turn right just before the small lake when going south along the main road in Mai Chau. 150,000VND for a single bed in a large shared space including dinner and breakfast. Has 3 hammocks and a nicer 4-5 story hotel attached to it. Beautiful view over the river paddies onto the mountains. Can rent mountain bikes for 50,000VND. Woman who owns the place speaks English pretty well.
  • Mai Chau Family Homestay, Near 15 Huyen Mai, Mai Chau, +84 (0) 915921915, [1]. checkin: 24 hrs.; checkout: 24 hrs.. Homestay in a stilt house with White Thai ethnic minority family. Prices include all meals and accommodation. House has western toilet and shower. Beautiful rural setting near waterfalls, hot springs, rice paddies, mountains... with very friendly family. $.  edit
  • Little Mai Chau Home Stay, [2]. Located in Mai Châu, Little Mai Chau Home Stay has free WiFi, and guests can enjoy a garden, a shared lounge and a terrace. Some units have a patio and/or a balcony with garden or mountain views. Guests at the family stay can enjoy a buffet or a à la carte breakfast  edit

Get out[edit]