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Visiting the Idyllic Village of Mai Chau, Near Hanoi, Vietnam

Mai Chau is a seeming easy 150km cruise out of Hanoi. Only a 3-4 hour drive they say! Hmmm well, I'm currently sat in my idyllic stilt house listening to White Thai women sing their folk songs in harmony with the crickets, but it didn’t start out that way. 

Mission to Mai Chau

Traveling at the breakneck speed of a turtle, with one-night stopover in Hoa Binh and this being my first solo motorbike trip and all, I was paranoid as hell the majority of the ride from Hanoi. I was obsessively focused on scanning the road for any and all lumps, bumps, and ditches, and continuously singing the BeeGees song “Ah ha ha ha staying alive, staying alive” like a mantra in my mind.  I avoided lorries like the plague and checked Google maps literally every 2 kilometers. At one point I stopped to take some pictures and the kickstand slipped beneath me and the bike tumbled on the floor. Turns out I'm not strong or skilled enough to pick it up on my own yet! So lucky for me I waved down a kind gentleman who helped me go from horizontal to vertical once more. When I finally cruised down Mai Chau’s mountain road and into the valley it felt nothing short of a miracle.

Just Chillin

After breakfast I took a walk around the village and in the top right corner hidden away in a palm-tree garden, overlooking the rice paddy fields and forest laden mountains, I found the homestay I'd been fantasizing about. The family has a separate stilt house for guests and I’ve got the place all to myself which I couldn’t be more chuffed about.

This blog post is not a guide to  Mai Chau, I can’t be bothered to explore every nook and cranny on this trip. My priority as stated in my previous post Fears, Farewells and Fernweh is to take it easy and see what comes my way. It’s a relentless 35-degree heat by 11 am gradually increasing until the sun starts setting at 5. This morning I confidently drove the bike to a nearby village market at Pa Co 30km away, but the majority of my time I spent sleeping, reading, hanging out with the local women and thinking about where to go next...

Where to Stay

Mai Chau Ecolodge

I’m saying this without any doubt – Mai Chau Ecolodge is the most special place in Vietnam. It strongly embraces the beauty of nature, the warmth of people and responsible travel experience. It’s surrounded by unbelievably beautiful mountain valley and rice paddies. The view is breathtaking from any point of the hotel area.
Mai Chau Ecolodge consists of 21 charming bungalows styled as an ancient local village. They have beautifully complimented the ethnic style with luxury elements. It allows guests to experience the local culture and feel comfortable all at once.
Being here feels like you are in an idyllic movie. The daily rush slows down at Mai Chau Ecolodge, making you breathe in its fresh mountain air and live by rules of nature. It’s just you strolling on your bicycle through rice paddies surrounded by majestic green mountains.
Hotel’s uniqueness divulges by 4 important aspects – closeness to nature, environment protection, cultural development, and responsible tourism. You can really feel all of it to every smallest detail at every corner of the hotel. They have really thought of everything.

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