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Travel Guide to Mai Chau Vietnam 2024

Are you planning a visit to Mai Chau? Mai Chau is spectacular! If you are planning a visit you won’t be disappointed.  Your first glimpse of this beautiful place is as you descend the mountain into the valley by road.

Mai Chau is located 130 km away from Hanoi Vietnam or approximately a 3 hours drive.  Many may not have heard of this beautiful region of Vietnam, to be honest, we only knew about it once we arrived in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. If you only have a short time to visit Hanoi and the northern parts of Vietnam, Mai Chau is the destination for you. Just imagine lush green valleys, terraced Vietnamese rice fields, lakes and local villages, local cuisine, this is Mai Chau and more.

Mai Chau is becoming one of the most popular Vietnam Tours destinations which we visited after Sapa and Halong Bay.  

You Can Read Our article on Vietnam: Best Vietnamese Restaurant Guide

Planning a trip to Vietnam read our ultimate travel guide here

Vietnam has some of the most beautiful places in Asia to visit.

If you have only one day to visit Mai Chau – you can do this day tour from Hanoi.

The tour includes:

“Between 7:45 am and 8:00 am you will be picked up by minibus from your hotel in the Hanoi Old Quarter and depart to Mai Chau in Hoa Binh Province.

At 10:00 am, take a short break at the Hoa Binh hydroelectric power station to relax and take some photos.

From 11:30 am to 12:00 pm there will be time for a quick photo stop at the top of Mai Chau Valley before you continue to drive to Mai Chau Village.

Enjoy a Vietnamese lunch at a local house (vegetarian options are available). Between 1:00-3:00 pm, you’ll get to go on a bicycle ride with a local tour guide. See Vietnamese farmers working in the fields and locals weaving scarves as you visit the surrounding villages.

At 4:00 pm you’ll leave Mai Chau Village and come back to Hanoi, arriving at your hotel around 7:00 pm.”


Mai Chau terraced rice field in our Guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
Lush green rice fields outside of Mai Chau part of the Pu Luong Nature Reserve Trek

We spent two nights 3 days visiting Mai Chau Our guide includes where to stay, our full-day trek of the Pu Luong Nature Reserve, and recommended other tours that you can do when visiting Mai Chau plus essential information for visiting Vietnam.

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You can join our Facebook Group – Vietnam Travel Planning.  Feel free to ask questions in the group to assist you in your travel planning.  We will share our latest articles and information on travelling to Vietnam.

Mai Chau Map

Mai Chau Map for our Guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
Map of Mai Chau located inside the red border showing on the map in Hoa Binh Province

Where is Mai Chau Vietnam

Mai Chau is located in Northern Vietnam in the province of Hoa Binh. It is the capital of the district.

Your first glimpse of Mai Chau is as you wind down through Thung Khe Pass into the rice fields below in the valley where Mai Chau lies cocooned between the mountain ranges. The views are breathtaking.

Where to Stay in Mai Chau

Mai Chau Lodge is the recommended place to stay when visiting Mai Chau. Mai Chau Lodge is located just outside town and within 1 km of the ethnic minority villages of Lac, Poom Coong and Nhot. It is an easy walk to these villages, you just follow the small road through the rice fields behind the hotel.



Ladies, if you have seen the lovely shawls in Vietnam, the first village you come to behind the hotel they are selling handmade shawls for around VND 100,000 (USD 4.30, AUD 6.36, Euros 3.88).

We chose the Mai Chau Lodge due to its location and the reviews from Tripadvisor. Mai Chau Lodge also offers trekking, rock climbing, kayaking, market, cooking classes and cycling tours of the district.  Mai Chau Lodge has the Bo Luong Restaurant which serves Western and Asian cuisine and has an extensive wine list.  At the end of your day trekking or cycling the swimming pool or jacuzzi is a welcome relief.

Our YouTube Video on Mai Chau Lodge 


Guide to Mai Chau Vietnam Youtube video on Mai Chau Lodge



During our 2 night stay, which was partly sponsored by Mai Chau Lodge and Victoria Hotels and Resorts, we experienced 2 different styles of accommodation.

Deluxe Double Room

Deluxe double room at the Mai Chau Lodge for our guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
Deluxe Double Room at the Mai Chau Lodge

Our spacious stylish deluxe double room was equipped with everything we needed for our stay. The room was decorated in local traditional designs and colourings.  The bathrooms were fitted with the latest accessories and we enjoyed the luxury toiletries provided.  Our bed was so comfortable, a welcome relief after an early start travelling from Hanoi.  It was a pleasure to sit on the balcony and enjoy the views in the late afternoon. The room was a good size at 25 m.

Junior Suite

Junior Suite at Mai Chau Lodge for our guide to mai chau vietnam
Junior Suite at the Mai Chau Lodge

On our 2nd night stay at the Mai Chau Lodge, we were upgraded to the Junior Suite which is double the size of the Deluxe Rooms.  The views are breathtaking over the mountains, the rice paddy fields and the swimming pool.  Not only was the room double the size, the bathroom too was one of the largest we have experienced on our 3 months tour of Vietnam

The room is very spacious, with a private desk and seating area. The beautiful decor is inspired by the traditional colours of the local ethnic tribes from the local area.  We loved the dark wood panelling which gave warmth, elegance and vibrancy to the room.

Bo Luong Restaurant

Bo Luong Restaurant in our Guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
Bo Luong Restaurant – local and western cuisine available

The Bo Luong Restaurant is located with views over the Lotus Lake.  You can dine either in the restaurant, down at the pontoon on the lake or enjoy a candlelit private dinner on your balcony in your room.

The restaurant is open all day and serves international cuisine.  The breakfast buffet is extensive with everything that you need to start your day off before you head out trekking or cycling through the countryside.

The menu consists of locally grown produce and local specialities.  The wine list is extensive. The hardest part is deciding what dishes to enjoy.

Swimming Pool, Pool Bar and Jacuzzi.

Swimming Pool at Mai Chau Lodge for our Guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
Swimming Pool at Mai Chau lodge where you can relax with a drink after a day trekking or cycling

After a day out sightseeing enjoy the swimming pool in the evening and a refreshing drink or even ease your tired limbs into the Jacuzzi.

Traditional Ethnic Evening Dances

At certain times during the week, the local White Thai ethnic minorities perform their traditional dances.  Check with Reception on the timings of their performances.  The dances depict local celebrations and village life.  We recommend that you watch their beautiful performances. Don’t forget your camera.

You can check out a few of their traditional dances in our video. Click here to view.

Our 1 Day Pu Luong Nature Reserve Trek – Medium

Check out our YouTube video here on our trek through the Pu Luong Nature Reserve.

Guide to Mai Chau Vietnam Trekking in Mai Chau



Pu Luong means ‘great mountain or highest peak’ in the White Thai language. The Pu Luong Nature Reserve is made up of 3/4 tropical forests, limestone mountains and rice fields.  The 17,662 ha Reserve was established in 1999.

Our trek started with an hours drive from the Mai Chau Lodge.  We left the hotel around 08.30.  The villagers working in the rice fields start early in Mai Chau.  They work from 04.30 to 10.00 in the morning and then again in the late afternoon from between 16.00 to sunset at around 18.00.  This way they can escape the heat of the day. The local villagers enjoy a slow pace of life.

In this district, there are two crops each year: February to May and then from July to October.  Harvest takes places in May and October. As we headed to our starting point we passed by many lush green paddy fields. This is an area of wet rice plantation which is for personal use.

Our guide Hoi explained to us as we travelled to our starting point that Vietnam and Thailand are the top rice producers in Asia. Back in 1954, the rice paddy fields belonged to the Government. Families were allowed to have 500 sqm of rice fields, the best rice fields were the ones located near springs or creeks. A lottery system was put in place and if you were allocated a good number you could have a good plot of land near a spring.

Workers in the Chopstick Factory for our guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
Workers in the Chopstick Factory

Our first stop just outside Mai Chau was at a chopstick factory.  The chopsticks are made from bamboo and up to 10,000 pairs are made each day. The bamboo comes from the local area and large chunks are fed into a machine that cuts them into size.  The noise is deafening for the workers.  Check out our video to see the process here.

Where our trek will take us Pu Luong Nature Reserve for our guide to Mai Chau vietnam
Overlooking the valley that we will trek down in the Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Next, we stopped at a lookout halfway up the mountain. Hoi pointed to the path that we would trek down.  Back in the car we drove for a few more minutes more to our starting point.

White Thai Stilt Houses for our guide to mai chau vietnam
White Thai Stilt Houses

In the distance, we saw the first of many of the White Thai stilt houses that we would see during the day.  The houses are likened to turtles. The roof is the back of the turtle, the room is the body, the stilts are the turtle’s legs and the ladder that is pulled up each night is the turtle’s head.

The family’s animals live underneath. The houses are on stilts to overcome high humidity in the summer months.


Our trek took place in July which is one of the hottest months in Northern Vietnam. We recommend considering doing a half-day trek during the hotter months instead of the full-day trek if you are not a regular trekker or hiker.

We would recommend trekking in northern Vietnam in the cooler months between October and April.

We wound down through the mountain, down the valley, through the lush verdant rice fields.

White Thai Ethnic Minority Group for our guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
White Thai grandmother taking her grandson for a walk

We passed a grandmother with her grandson heading back to their stilt house.

Buffalos are worth 45,000,000 dong in Vietnam - guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
Buffalos are worth 45,000,000 Vietnamese Dong

As we neared the house we passed by the family buffalo.  1 buffalo is worth around VND 45,000,000 (USD 2,000, AUD 3,000, Euros 1,800). A buffalo is normally the most expensive item a White Thai family owns – the more buffalo the wealthier you are.

Husking the rice - Our Guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
Daughter husking the rice

We were lucky to experience a demonstration on how to husk the rice from the Grandmother’s daughter. (Our video shows how it is done, it looks easy but it is all in the hand movement and the angle of the husks.)

Hoi showed us a guava leaf, which is chewed and is a natural remedy for upset stomachs.

The White Thai people in this area not only grow rice but they also grow corn and peanuts for personal use.  One of the villages that we passed through had corn and peanuts drying in the sun.  Between the months of November and January, they plant corn and peanuts which is the driest part of the year.

Lunch at the local homestay Our Guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
Lunch at the homestay village of Eo Ken

Lunch is at the Eo Ken Village in a traditional homestay of the area. Lunch is a sandwich of your choice which you can choose from a menu provided at the time of booking your trek.

Small pond for swimming at lunch time - guide to Mai Chau Vietnam
Small pond to cool off after the first part of the trek

Beside the homestay is a small pond which is perfect for cooling off before you tackle the next part of the trek.  The next part of the trek takes a few hours more before you are transported back to the hotel.

What do you need to take for the trek:

We would recommend:

Water is provided but you can never take enough. At lunch, you can purchase beer or soft drinks.

Things To Do in Mai Chau Vietnam


Pu Luong Nature Reserve
The scenic beauty along the trek in Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Many farms in the Pu Luong Valley
Many small farms along the valleys in Mai Chau

Essential Information for Visitors to Mai Chau

Mai Chau Accommodation: Mai Chau Lodge

Address:  Mai Chau Town, Mai Chau District, Hoa Binh Province, Mai Chau Vietnam

Telephone: +84 2183 868 959

Check availability here

If You Only Have Time To Visit in a Day

There is a scenic 12-hour day tour provided by Get Your Guide from Hanoi if you are on limited time.

How To Get To Mai Chau

Air Asia, the budget carrier, has flights to Hanoi as well as Ho Chi Minh City, Danang and Nha Trang, from major Asian cities.

For Hanoi to Mai Chau Transport Options and Mai Chau to Hanoi Options (book through the Mai Chau website)

Shuttle Bus – pick up and drop off from 216 Tran Quang Khai Hoan Kiem Hanoi VND 787,500 per person (USD 35.00, AUD 50.00, Euros 31.00)

Shuttle Bus – pick up and drop off Hanoi City VND 1,012.500 (USD 45.00, AUD 65.00, Euros 40.00)

Private Car – VND3,825,000 (USD 165.00, AUD 245.00, Euros 149.00).

Local Shuttle Bus from Hanoi and return:

There is a regular general shuttle bus from Hanoi to Mai Chau and return. Click here for more details.

When is the Best Time To Visit Vietnam

Due to Mai Chau’s location closeness to Hanoi, it enjoys similar weather conditions with hot and wet summers and winters can be cold around 5 degrees. Spring and Autumn are the best times to travel.

Cheap Flights to Vietnam

Find the cheapest flights with Skyscanner our ‘go-to’ when researching and booking flights throughout the world.

Do You Need a Visa for Vietnam?

Check below if you require a visa for Vietnam.

Travel Around Vietnam and South East Asia

We use 12goAsia for all our bus, train and ferry tickets around South East Asia.

Click here for schedules and ticket prices.

Related Reading:

2 Night Cruise on Halong Bay

Where To Stay and What To Do in Sapa

Travel Insurance For Vietnam

Travel Insurance is recommended for all travel.  The best time to purchase your policy is when you pay for your flights or you pay a deposit on a cruise, accommodation or tours.





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We hope you have enjoyed our Mai Chau Guide.  If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us via our private Vietnam travel planning Facebook group.

Have family or friends travelling to Vietnam? You can share our Facebook group with them too!

Enjoy Mai Chau!



Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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