As a top travel destination, Mai Chau is known for its beautiful scenery and peaceful, romantic setting. The most famous aspects of this idyllic holiday getaway are its natural surroundings, vibrant traditional dress and friendly local people, in a region completely off the beaten track. But a fascinating museum, volunteer options at local schools and some beautiful landmarks make this location more than just a place to kick back in style.
Far from the tourist trail of popular Sapa and Halong Bay, Mai Chau’s secluded haven offers a more authentic experience of rural Vietnamese life, and a chance to get lost in leafy green tranquility. The most popular sites in Mai Chau are the colorful local markets. The weekly Sunday market is a bubbling epicenter of commerce for the valley, and shopping among the food and cloth stalls is a great way to experience ethnic culture.
We recommend eating some of the local snacks and definitely try some locally grown fruit! Remember to wash it first. For a taste of culture in the more refined setting of a luxury restaurant, visit some of the valley’s vacation lodges and resorts. Our favourite is the beautiful Mai Chau Ecolodge Restaurant. The Ecolodge is a pioneer of ecotourism in Vietnam and a beautiful example of the many eco-friendly accommodation and dining options in Mai Chau.
Local life is perhaps the most compelling attraction of Mai Chau. There are three main ethnic groups in the area - the White Thai, H’mong and Dzao - and their traditional cultures are characterised by vibrant handicrafts, music, dance and delicious foods. The best time to visit is from September to May, and the rice harvest usually takes place in early October. Mai Chau Ecolodge offers its guests the chance to experience local White Thai life by helping in the rice harvest, visiting local schools and learning to cook in specially tailored cooking classes.
Mai Chau is full of beautiful natural attractions. Resorts and lodges in the valley offer excellent honeymoon packages and vacation deals, and the gorgeous, poetic landscape makes it one of the most popular romantic getaways in Vietnam. A trek to beautiful Thung Khe Pass or up the hundreds of steps to Chieu Cave is well worth the effort, and dotted through the highlands around Mai Chau are numerous caves and grottos to explore.