Embarking on our Mai Chau – Pu Luong tour provides a splendid chance to venture into another captivating facet of Northern Vietnam while immersing yourself in the picturesque Pu Luong Nature Reserve. Within this article, we’ll outline the various ways to organize this tour and offer insights into the enchanting Mai Chau valley.
Traditionally, tourists would take a day-trip from Mai Chau to Pu Luong, yet the allure of the Reserve has prompted a shift, making it increasingly popular to set up a base in Pu Luong and take a day excursion to Mai Chau. The relatively short distance of 40km between the two destinations allows for easy day-tripping. You can already find comprehensive information on planning your stay in the Reserve in our Pu Luong travel guide. Now, let’s delve into an overview of the distinct tourism offerings of the Mai Chau valley.
Mai Chau travel guide:
Mai Chau, nestled approximately 150km from Hanoi’s center within Hoa Binh province, is characterized by its captivating valley, surrounded by a majestic mountain range. Although the town itself isn’t a focal point, the allure lies in the scenic valley, home to three primary villages: Ban Lac 1 and 2, along with Pom Coong, all inhabited by the Thai minority group.
What to do In Mai Chau:
Exploring Mai Chau’s Charms:
A myriad of activities await visitors in the Mai Chau valley:
- Embark on a cycling expedition
- Opt for an electric car tour
- Trek through remote regions amid lush rice fields
- Engage in traditional handicraft experiences, including sewing
- Participate in farming activities like rice planting and harvesting (seasonal)
- Experience kayaking on the Black River
- Venture to off-the-beaten-path villages such as Ban Buoc and Mai Ich
- Uncover hidden cave gems like the 1000 Steps Cave or Mo Luong
- Refresh yourself with a swim in the Go Lao Waterfall
- Immerse in the daily hustle of Mai Chau’s local market
- Indulge in regional delicacies, such as Com Lam (bamboo-cooked sticky rice)
- Witness traditional dance performances.
Clearly, Mai Chau’s valley teems with a plethora of activities catering to diverse traveler preferences. Furthermore, for those embarking on a multi-day Pu Luong – Mai Chau tour, a wide array of accommodations await, ranging from traditional stilted homestays to luxurious bungalows nestled within eco-lodges, all nestled along the fringes of picturesque rice fields.
When to come to Mai Chau:
Mai Chau’s unique topography allows for year-round exploration due to its valley setting. While winters can occasionally be chilly and summers warm, the following categorization is based on the rice-growing season:
- Vibrant Green: April to mid-June, and August to October
- Golden Harvest: Late June and October, before rice harvesting
- Mirror Field Planting: February and July, when the fields are flooded
- Optimal Season: October, with pleasant temperatures around 25-30°C, minimal rainfall, and the iconic yellow rice fields in both Mai Chau and Pu Luong Nature Reserve.
Detailed information about weather:
As it is in a valley and not in altitude, all year long is good to visit the area. Some days can be pretty cold in winter and pretty hot in summer. So, let’s organize this category depending on the rice season.
There are two harvest in Mai Chau, that is the benefit of the flat lands compared to the high mountains of the North (only Pu Luong has mountains with two harvests a year).
Actually, the rice fields will be green from April to mid-June and from August to October. Wonderful time to visit the area to see the different shades of green coming from either the rice fields, the jungle and the forest.
The yellow rice fields (named as the golden season) appear before the harvesting time at the end of June and October. Also the time to harvest manually creating a fantastic painting with all the farmers collaborating to collect the rice in time.
Before the green rice fields, it is time to plant the rice in the mirror field (when they are filled with water) in February and July. If you visit at that time, experiencing to plant the rice with the farmers will be an unforgettable memory.
TIPS: The best season is in October when the rice fields are yellow and the weather is very pleasant. Between 25 to 30¬∞ in daytime with cool evening and almost no rainfall. Perfect time to combine a Pu Luong – Mai Chau tour as the rice paddies will also turn yellow in Pu Luong Nature Reserve.
Where to stay In Mai Chau:
We extend our recommendations for lodging in Mai Chau:
- Little Mai Chau: Central location, basic dorms and private rooms with excellent service
- Lim’s House: Cozy private rooms hosted by friendly Thai owners
- Mai Chau Valley View: Well-equipped rooms with valley and rice field views
- Mai Chau Sunrise Village: 3-star yellow bungalows in a prime valley setting
- Mai Chau Hideaway: An intimate retreat overlooking a lake, offering diverse activities
- Mai Chau Ecolodge: Luxury option with private bungalows and natural aesthetics
- Avana Retreat: A 5-star gem, 30 minutes from Mai Chau, offering an indulgent experience.
Benefits of a Mai Chau – Pu Luong Tour:
As mentioned earlier, basing your tour in Pu Luong offers a serene and picturesque experience, marked by tranquil mountainscapes and leisurely mornings. Pu Luong’s relatively recent development ensures an authentic encounter. However, the allure of Mai Chau’s distinct landscapes and scenic road between the two locales beckon exploration. The 40km journey can be completed within an hour.
We recommend prioritizing Pu Luong in your itinerary, though we’ve curated Pu Luong – Mai Chau tours to allow visitors to explore both areas in a condensed timeframe.
Mai Chau – Pu Luong tour :
With these insights, you’re now equipped to organize your visit according to your preferences. Should your time be limited, remember that Mai Chau – Pu Luong tour can culminate in Mai Chau, with shuttle or private transport arrangements available. For a comprehensive exploration, consider the following tour options:
Full-Day Mai Chau – Pu Luong Tour: Choose between car or motorbike transport to Mai Chau, reveling in picturesque views along the way. Upon arrival, indulge in cycling, village visits, and a refreshing trek through rice fields. Those opting for motorbike transport can explore deeper, even venturing to lesser-touristed villages like Mai Ich.
2- 3 Days Mai Chau – Pu Luong Tour:
- Find our 2 days tour here > https://ecotravel.vn/2023/09/10/mai-chau-pu-luong_2-days-1-night-tour-by-eco-travel-go-green-vietnam/
- Find our 3 days tour here > https://ecotravel.vn/2023/09/10/mai-chau-pu-luong-3-days-2-nights-tour-by-eco-travel-go-green-vietnam/
Pro Tip: Extend one day and continue your journey to Ninh Binh with a full day visit > https://ecotravel.vn/2023/09/10/mai-chau-pu-luong-ninh-binh-4d-3n-tour-by-eco-travel-go-green-vietnam/
To wrap up your exploration, it’s worth noting that we’re here to accommodate your needs. You can wrap up your Mai Chau – Pu Luong tour in Mai Chau, with transport arrangements readily available. Feel free to reach out for personalized assistance in planning your journey.