After attending the Vietnam International Conference in Finance in Hanoi, we had 1 free day before coming back to Singapore. We were interested in going to Sapa and experiencing ethnic minority’s life in Vietnam. However, as the time was constrained, we had to choose an alternative destination.
Mai Chau is recommended by Eviva Tour as the closest place from Hanoi to find ethnic tribes. It took us only four hours by car from the city, much closer than the distance from Hanoi to Sapa, which would take us 12 hours traveling by train. We settled in an eco-friendly stilt house with a real minority family, who complements their income from purely farming to a higher level by hosting traveler. It might not be completely authentic but it was a great experience. Their hospitality was a highlight along with the delicious family meals. We also bought some handmade weave souvenirs for housing decoration. Indeed, the family had a very good business and they succeeded in making tourists like us satisfied.
After taking a nap, we stared to get around the valley. As the location is surrounded by limestone cliffs and dramatic hills, Mai Chau seems to be isolated from the outside hustle and bustle world and remain its tranquility with gurgling streams and bird song.
The beauty of this foggy valley can represent a classic rural of Vietnam. The small town was surrounded by lush green rice paddies, doting with conical hats and water buffalos of farmers.
There is minimal traffic and excellent for walking and cycling activities. The White Thai locals do not wear their traditional costumes every day; however, they still retain their cultural uniqueness. On Saturday night, they gathered in communal house and perform cultural dances and games by blazing fire. It was a delightful experience in Vietnam and Mai Chau has now been added to my list of candidate places to retire (-__-)
(Written by Jemma Marie)