Homestay-ing in Mai Chau
If you want to visit a hill-tribe village and do not want to travel for long hours, Mai Chau is the nearest place from the capital city of Hanoi. Even though some parts of the Village in Mai Chau have gone through a modernization phase, the villagers are proud in maintaining their cultural identity. In fact, many parts of the village area still with hill-tribe scenes. Mai Chau is surrounded with mountains and hills, foggy in the morning, fresh air with some burning rice smell and the greenery of paddy fields.
Exploring Mai Chau
Mai Chau is located 130 kilometers to the south-west of Hanoi. There is no direct transportation from Hanoi to Mai Chau. You can take buses from Hanoi and stop at Hoa Binh and the journey will be around 2 hours. If you are not confident to self-arrange your trip to Mai Chau, travel agencies in Hanoi may assist your needs such as transportation coordination, homestay and local tour guide. To enter Mai Chau, you need to pay a small entry fee amounted VND 5,000 but sometimes there is nobody present at the entry ticket booth and you can just move on.
Exploring Mai Chau is very cheap. You may hire a tour guide (advisable to pre-arrange from a travel agency in Hanoi) and it will cost around USD5 to USD8 for 7 kilometers to 8 kilometers walking trip. It is not only an ordinary trip because you will enjoy the tranquil views of Mai Chau with greenery of paddy fields, no urban pollution and pleasant weather all day long. If you are visiting Mai Chau during harvesting season, the green field will change into yellow-gold colour and you can smell the scent of burning rice and paddy husk which is very aromatic.