I’m returning to Vietnam for today’s travel snapshot, specifically to a little known place called Mai Chau. And unfortunately as I’m pressed for time today, this will be a short one (apologies!). Mai Chau is located in the north-west of Vietnam and is about 150km inland from the capital city of Hanoi, so by road it would take you a few hours to get there. If you’re visiting Vietnam and are pressed for time but want to see as much of the country as possible, it’s unlikely the Mai Chau will figure on any of the itineraries for the small group/adventure tour companies. If you’re looking for mountain treks and hill tribe experiences, again Mai Chau may not come to mind as many travellers opt for itineraries that head further north to Sapa. So, in a way, I guess Mai Chau is a hidden little gem!
Located in a lush green valley, surrounded by mountains, Mai Chau is a small community made up of the White Thai minority people. They have a culture which is unique and are descended from tribal groups in Thailand, Laos and China. I was fortunate enough to do a homestay in the village on my first trip. I stayed with a family in their stilt home, which is constructed of bamboo and timber and stands about 2 metres above ground level (to avoid any flood waters). Upon arrival we were greeted with tea and cold drinks, before heading out for a walk through the surrounding farm lands and rice paddy fields. The locals were very welcoming and eager to talk to their visitors. After a tasty home-cooked dinner that evening we were treated to a show of traditional dance and song. In the true style of all travellers who wish to immerse themselves in a new culture, my travel companions and I joined in at the end of the performance, much to the delight of our hosts. As the evening drew to a close we were asked to partake of a large communal jar full of the locally brewed rice wine. Honestly, that stuff will knock you flat on your … well, lets just say we all slept well 🙂
This post makes up part of my contribution to the A-Z Challenge for April 2016
Click here for a list and links to all my other challenge posts!