GROUP TOUR – TOUR CODE: CMC02S
Mai Chau – Pu Luong Nature Reserve – Cycling, Biking, Trekking through rice fields Homestay, eating with the local people. 2 nights homestay in Mai Chau valley but you will have Day 2 excursion to Pu Luong Nature Reserve nearby. You visit Hang village and take 2-hour trekking through Pung stream. Enjoy the tranquility of rice fields, red soil trails, karst cliffs, smiling children, hospitality, cool weather and special local meals.
- Communal dorm room: US$ 100 per person sleeping in a common stilt-house with other tousists – 1 soft-mattress with private pillow and blanket for 1 person
- Private room: US$ 120 per person
- Private bungalow: US$ 130 per person
Single supplement surcharge: US$ 20 per person per night (applied for “private room” and “bungalow” only)
TIME: 7:30 (the 1st day) – 18:30 (the 3rd day)
- Pick-up & see-off bus from your hotel inside Hanoi Old quarter. A surcharge of US$ 5 per person is added in case pick-up & see-off outside Hanoi Old quarter. If you stay outside of the area and don’t want to pay the surcharge, please be present at Hanoi Grand Opera House at 8:00 am (Add: 1 Trang Tien street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi), the tour guide and bus driver will call on to pick-you-up.
- Boat cruise and kayaking as indicated within the itinerary.
- English speaking guide throughout the tour.
- Accommodation in house-on-stilt: Mai Chau Nature Place No.1 of Special Lodging in Mai Chau on TripAdvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Hotel_Review-g1652592-d1952668-Reviews-Mai_Chau_Nature_Place-Mai_Chau_Hoa_Binh_Province.html
- Welcome lunch – Dinner – Light breakfast (usually “Pho” Soft-noodles) – Farewell Lunch
- Trekking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve.
- Admission fees, hiking and cycling.
- Thai hilltribe’s traditional dancing show.
- Gratuities for tour guide and crew.
- Phone call, laundry service and other personal expenses.
DAY 1 HANOI – MAI CHAU (L,D)
7:30 – 8:00 – Pick you up at your hotel in the Old Quarter in our comfortable van, departing for Mai Chau valley, 135km Northwest from Hanoi. Passing Cun pass, Thung Khe pass and stop on the top of Thung Nhuoi pass to take the overview photos of Mai Chau valley underneath.
11:30 – 12:00 – Arrive in Mai Chau town. Continue driving to Lac village and Pom Coong village. Say hello to the host and check in the stilt-house.
12:15 – Traditional lunch in local village
In the afternoon, you cycle around the villages with local tour guide, seeing farmers working in fields, villagers weaving scarves and visiting surrounding peaceful villages. In 2 hours, you will cycle among the rice fields, stilt-houses, streams and you know more about Thai hilltribes and their culture. You can buy some embroidery as souvenirs.
18:00 – Visit Thai living museum for Traditional dinner
19:30 – See Thai traditional dance in the stilt house. Enjoy Tradidional wine “ruou can” with the host.
Overnight in Mai Chau.
DAY 2 TREKKING IN PU LUONG NATURE RESERVE (B,L,D)
7:30 – 8:00 – Get up and enjoy breakfast
8:30 -10:30 – Drive / ride motorbikes 35km to Pu Luong Nature Reserve (motorbike drivers available)
12:00 – Lunch in Hang Village
13:00 – 15:00 – Trekking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve. The region is blessed with rich forest, limestone panoramas, magnificent rice terraces and breathtaking scenery. On this trip you can experience the everyday life and culture of Thai and Muong ethnic minorities and spend nights with friendly locals.
17:00 – Return to Mai Chau for dinner & overnight.
DAY 3 MAI CHAU – HANOI (B,L)
7:30 -8:00 – Get up and go jogging around the village in the mist. Have a light breakfast (possibly with “Pho bo” Beef-noodles)
8:30 -11:30 – Hike to 1000 Step Cave and local market
12:15 – 15:00 – Lunch and free time to relax before getting on the van to Hanoi.
Around 18:30 – See you off at your hotel in Hanoi Old quarter. End of services.
Mai Chau Nature Place is a big stilt-house in Pom Coong village, ranking as No.1 of Mai Chau Special Lodging on TripAdvisor.com. It’s our priority for staying overnight. If it’s fully booked, we will arrange another good stilt-house (still homestay). Mai Chau town is a must-see for tourists who loves outdoor activities since 1962 and the facilities for tourism here are good after 50 years serving friends worldwide.
Compared to Sapa, Mai Chau has some advatanges in term of visiting. It’s only 135km from Hanoi (4-hour driving) while Sapa takes your fullnight on the train (380km 1-way). Mai Chau takes only 2 days but Sapa costs more time 3 nights at least. Accordingly, tours to Mai Chau cost you less than Sapa tours. Shortly, if you really want to find out Vietnam hilltribes at a moderate budget, you can choose Mai Chau instead of Sapa.
COMMUNAL DORM ROOM (HOMESTAY)
Homestays in those places are commonly with ethnic minority families in their stilt houses. You should spend a few nights in homestays in Pu Luong and the Mai Chau area and absolutely loved the experience.
Stilt houses consist of a large, usually sparsely furnished communal area under a thatched roof. The kitchen is sometimes at one end of the room, sometimes in the open space underneath the building. The communal area is used for relaxing, eating and sleeping, and in a genuine homestay it’s all of you in together, hosts included.
At night mattresses are laid out on the floor in a row, separated by individual mosquito nets and curtains for privacy. In Mai Chau, homestays tend to be more commercialised, but only in the sense that you sleep in a separate stilt house from that of the hosts – you will still be on a mattress on the floor and there might be other tourists in there with you.
The bathroom facilities are basic and housed in separate blocks. They have Western-style toilets and are invariably clean, but not all things are always in working order, especially the showers.
Homestay and private rooms are not equipped with air-condition. Local people don’t want the modern interfering with their traditions. Anyhow, they provide you mosquito nets and the temperature of Mai Chau is moderate at 12 – 25 Centigrade all-year-round, cool enough so air-condition is not necessary.
This tour could be called a “ecology tour”. Mai Chau valley now is detroyed by deforestation. Let’s raise your voice on TripAdvisor and fund the locals life by your visits to protect the serene charm of Northwest Vietnam.
Recapture your sense of adventure and you will be able to dine out on it for years!