This summer, if you are already bored with beaches and noisy amusement areas, reward yourself with another option of green paddy fields in Mai Chau Valley, Hoa Binh.
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Situated 150 km away from Hanoi, roughly a 4-hour drive, Mai Chau Valley lies within serene high mountain ranges. Home to the Thai ethnic community, Mai Chau has developed its community tourism quite early, so even on a short trip this place will bring you a lot of exciting experiences. Below are 4 must-visit attractions in Mai Chau.
Thung Khe Pass (Đèo Thung Khe)
Thung Khe Pass, known as White Rock Pass, is one of 4 most beautiful yet dangerous passes in the Northwest. It is called White Rock because this place has splendid white rock mountains, standing majestically by the hills. Standing on White Rock Pass, you can take in the whole picturesque scene of Mai Chau Valley: the green valley walls covered with rice paddy fields, as well as some stilt houses underneath bamboo groves.
Pom Coong Village
In Thai ethnic language, Pom means hill, while Coong means drum, Pom Coong means the village of hills lying on a big drum, which represents rice fields. The village, home to 80 households, is quite a rendezvous for tourists. While visiting here, you should wander and discover brocade and souvenir stores right underneath stilt houses.
Stilt houses in Mai Chau are usually built in blocks and constructed in the traditional architectural style of the Thai people. The roofs are made of straw, cane leaves or bricks. The houses have many large-sized windows. Under the house is the floor is made of bamboo and built 2 meters above the ground by stable wooden pillars. Underneath the stilt houses are looms for Thai girls to weave brocade, all of which are unique features of Thai stilt houses that set them apart from the architectural styles of other ethnic minorities.
This is a popular community tourism attraction of White Thai people, who are the oldest residents in Mai Chau. Lac village brings together wild, natural, and charming features of the culture and region with houses locating underneath bamboo groves, where water wheels, turned by small rivulets, warble day and night. Following the road leading to the village are freshly green and scented rice paddies. The sight of peaceful villages will keep you longer while you wander among wild nature.
Located in limestone mountains, Mai Chau owns some magnificent graphite caves such as Chieu, and Mo Luong, which are only 2 km from Lac village. In order to enter these caves, you have to climb steep stone steps. In return for hard-fought altitude and time, you will enjoy a relaxing and pleasant feeling when catching the sight of surrounding natural beauty.
Mo Luong Cave has both entrances overlooking paddy fields and villages in the valley. Situated 5 to 7 meters above surrounding rice paddies, the cave is 500 meters deep inside the mountain including branches, 1 to 30 meters wide, its roof dome is 10 m high on average with glittering yellow, blue and white graphite winding through its walls. The beauty of this picture of natural wonder will certainly convince you to take your time to explore and enjoy the sight in detail.
Afternoon Cave, named by local residents, is most unique when afternoon comes andthe sun shines through the caves making graphite blocks extraordinarily charming and vibrant. After 1,200 stone steps, you will arrive at Afternoon Cave. Wandering inside the cave, you will be amazed at the miracle of nature, with countless shapes created by graphite strands along 200 meters of the cave. At the end of the cave is a small stream with fresh and clear water throughout the whole year.
In Ha Noi, if you only have 2 weekend days, Mai Chau is the perfect choice for a journey back to nature and to indulge in the sights and scents of Northern rice fields.
+ Itinerary: From Ha Noi to Mai Chau, you can travel by car as it’s only about a 4-hour drive.
+ Getting around Mai Chau: In terms of means of transportation between villages in Mai Chau, there are bus services available for tourists. Try riding bikes and strolling through long roads in the middle of green paddy fields. This can be a very enjoyable experience.
+ Seasonal experience: Each season provides its own serene sights in Mai Chau, an opportunity for you to fall in love with the peaceful sights of small valleys, while leaving behind the noisy city. Summer in Mai Chau is symbolized by the greenness of new paddy fields, and cool weather along with kind and gentle smiles of local people.
+ Food: Tourists should try bamboo-tubed rice, bamboo shoots, grilled pork, and stream fish. Also do indulge in the sounds of singing and instruments of the Thai ethnic traditional dance , partake in traditional bamboo dance (nhảy sạp) or spread dance (múa xòe)
+ Accommodation: There are various options for tourists, from resorts lying on the mountains to hotels (price starts from 300,000 VND). You can also stay at stilt house homestays (from 100,000 VND).