About 140 km from Hanoi, Mai Chau charms visitors with its majestic natural scenery, friendly people, and unique ethnic culture. It’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in a peaceful setting.
Here is a list of my favorite things to do in Mai Chau and tips to plan a perfect trip there.
See Thung Khe Pass
On your way to Mai Chau, don’t forget to stop by Thung Khe pass. It’s also known as Da Trang Pass, meaning white rock pass, because it’s a limestone mountain.
The pass is located on National Highway 6, between Tan Lac and Mai Chau.
While Thung Khe pass has no steep slopes, it is dangerous because the early morning and late afternoon fog can obscure the view.
On the pass, there are additional huts where you can have refreshments, food, and drinks.
Cycle around Thai villages
Mai Chau is where the White Thai people have lived for generations. The local people have distinctive lifestyles, costumes, and farming techniques.
You can ride a bicycle around the villages such as Lac, Pom Coong, Nhot, and Van.
I’m not a big fan of Lac village as it’s touristy and is crowded on the weekend. On the other hand, Nhot and Van village are charming.
See Thai houses
Cycling around the village, you can see the beautiful stilted houses. They are built in the traditional Thai architectural style.
Thai people often live and build villages in areas with rivers and streams. They build houses on mountains and hills, and in front are often vast fields.
Their stilt houses are usually tall, about 2m above the ground, with strong wooden pillars. The roof is thatched or constructed from rattan leaves, and the floor is built of bamboo.
Their home features huge, spacious windows that give it a fresh, breezy feeling.
Stay in a stilted house.
I highly recommend staying in a homestay to experience staying in a stilted house.
I stayed at Little Mai Chau Homestay for a week and really loved it.
The homestay is in a secluded area with beautiful rice paddy fields in front. You can use their bicycles to explore the town, and their home-cooked dinners are delicious. I ate there every night, and the dishes were different and yummy.
If you are looking for something fancy, check out Mai Chau Ecolodge, a 4-star resort surrounded by Pom Pu hill.
The resort has beautiful bungalows built in the style of traditional Thai houses. Each room has a simple, rustic aesthetic while still being stylish and trendy.
It’s a good idea to make reservations at least a week before your trip because these homestays and resorts frequently fill up quickly, especially on weekends.
Buy ethnic gifts
Wandering around the villages, you can see Thai people spinning and weaving brocades.
Stop by these brocade shops and find yourself a favorite item or a gift for friends and relatives.
Go cloud hunting is one of my favorite things to do in Mai Chau.
Here, you can immerse yourself in the sea of white clouds at an altitude of 1500 meters above the sea. November to April is the ideal time to hunt clouds in Hang Kia – Pa Co.
The entrance ticket to the cloud hunting point is 20,000 VND.
Visit Pa Co market
Pa Co Market is also another interesting place to visit in Mai Chau.
The market only meets every Sunday when the fog is still thick throughout the forest. Locals buy, sell, exchange goods, and meet at fairs.
You will be amazed by the wide range of goods available at the market, which sells everything from household appliances to textiles, brocades, and agricultural items.
Here, you can pick from brocade items while surrounded by the vivid hues of ethnic clothing. The handcrafted items feature vibrant designs and lovely, harmonizing colors.
Visit Mo Luong cave
Mo Luong Cave is located in the Pu Kha mountain in Mai Chau town.
It has 4 main caves, each of which is well-known for its complex stalactite formation system.
During the war against the French, Mo Luong cave was used as the meeting base for the Vietnamese army.
At the moment, you can only visit 2 caves out of four. You’ll need to join a guided tour from Mai Chau Lodge to visit the cave. The tour is about 1 hour.
Watch the sunset at Ba Khan lake.
Ba Khan is a small commune of Mai Chau located on the banks of Hoa Binh hydroelectric lake.
This location is a fantastic site to see the sunset in the afternoon.
The last rays of the day slanting through the mountains, stretching down to the sparkling lake, will give you a memorable experience.
Ba Khan is also the watershed area of the hydroelectric lake, where you can rent a boat to go around the lake. The boat rental price is about 300,000 VND – 350,000 VND per hour.
If you have more time in Mai Chau, I recommend staying at Hideaway Lake Resort for a lovely experience. The resort offers a beautiful lake view, friendly staff, and quiet surroundings.
Swim at Go Lao waterfall
Go Lao is a beautiful waterfall about 15 km from Mai Chau town. You will pass by stunning natural surroundings and adorable small Muong cottages on the route to Go Lao.
Two small waterfalls that descend from a height of roughly 15 meters make up Go Lao waterfall.
Go Lao waterfall consists of 2 small waterfalls, flowing from a height of about 15m. A flat, open space at the waterfall’s base is perfect for setting up a picnic.
Remember to bring a swimsuit and sunglasses on your trip.
Note: It will be pretty slippery if you go during the rainy season. You can stroll down to the waterfall after leaving your bike at a nearby homestay.
Hike Chieu cave
Chieu cave (Hang Chieu in Vietnamese) is a popular tourist stop in Mai Chau.
It was formed from stalactites on the top of the Pu Kha limestone mountain range.
The sun beams directly into the cave in the late afternoon, giving it its name. Stalactite blocks are brilliantly illuminated by the rays, making for a lovely sight.
The cave has its name because when the afternoon comes, the sunlight shines directly into the cave. The rays shine stalactite block splendidly, creating a beautiful scene.
To get to the Chieu Cave, you have to conquer 1200 steps. It’s free to enter.
Enjoy local food
Trying local dishes is also one of my favorite things to do in Mai Chau.
The dishes of the Thai and Mong people include bamboo-tube rice, grilled pork, grilled stream fish, and stir-fried bamboo shoots.
In addition, you can order a hot pot from your homestay owner in advance, which is very suitable for the chilly weather.
See the sunset at Mai Chau flag tower.
For a panoramic view of Mai Chau valley, head. toMai Chau flag pole.