Mai Chau travel reviews

Have you stayed overnight in a homestay with the locals? I would like to introduce to you to Northwest of Vietnam. It was Mai Chau which was lovely the green mountain area, the rice paddies where all of the locals worked, very hard.

This is a diary of my trip to Mai Chau. I caught a motorbike taxi from home to bus station. From city centre, the bus picked up some more people. We was on national high way number 6th. From Hanoi to Hoa Binh, the road was quite good. Passing by Hoa Binh, we was driving up and down the mountain. Finally, after 3,5 hours we saw Mai Chau a small rural town known for its natural beauty.

I got off the bus at Mai Chau town. A couple of motor bike taxi driver invited me to Lac village with 20,000d. I just smiles and said “No thanks” to them. I made a phone call to a homestay’ s owner whom I would be staying with them in Lac 2 village. 10 minutes later, I got a pick up to the village. I took a short rest before having lunch.

The first impression was warm hospitality from the local people by offering me some tea as well as a warm smile. The house I stayed in has several long tables with chairs beneath the rooms where I sat down together and had lunch with them. Our room had a bamboo slatted floor, our mattress was 1/2 an inch think, our pillow a small cushion but it did have a mosquito net for the bed .This is after all, a home stay. I was offer so much good food but I couldn’t eat them all. In the afternoon, It took me 2 hours to walk myself to some villages nearby. I saw a brick factory where people were working very hard, some children herding water buffalo which made me think of best memories in my child hood, people carrying woods on their shoulder basket, some tourists cycling along the path. My last visit was Lac 1 village one where I saw a lot of traditional clothes on the side of the road.

Getting back to the house, I had a chat with local people. It was such an interesting chat we had. They told me how to recognized white Thai and Black Thai, how the locals built house on stilt and how responsible travel developed in Mai Chau. After having a shower, I had a  nice dinner.

Then walking around, I saw Thuan Hoa humanity centre which is a small one with a few handicaps. I talked to ower of a centre who was the locals here. She said that she built this centre in order to creat job opportunities for the disabled in Mai Chau. Most of the disabled were from poor families and couldn’t afford to live. They made traditional clothes to be sold  in Hanoi. She emphasized “the most difficult thing  is to find customers. I travel to Hanoi every month  to find companies who help us purchase these product. In recently, there is an NGOS from Japan set up a project  to help our centre. They do marketing for us”. I took a look around her centre and her house as well. It was a nice house. I heard music somewhere so I asked her. She said that there would be traditional dance in the house next door.

I was so excited so I said goodbye to her and thanked to her explaination. I went to other house to watch the performance which I really enjoyed it. They did a couple of styles from different ethnic groups. I was invited to join their dances together with other tourists in the house. At the end of the show, I drunk “Can” wine all togethers.

I slept very comfortablely at the best of times.

The next morning, I had a nice breakfast of fresh eggs, fresh baguettes, sweet jam and coffee. After breakfast, I rided a bike to the local market. I saw meat, fish, vegetables, clothes everything was under this roof. It’s a bit hot. The idea was to bring hats with you.

When we returned to the house I had farewell lunch with the locals, settle my drink bills before saying goodbye to them. I enjoyed our drive back by local bus through the country.

It was a lifetime experience. I went back to nature.

Travel tips : Staying in Lac 2 village which is very peaceful. Lac 1 village is a bit touristy and noisy.

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