I'm off to Vietnam in February and have a couple of days with nothing planned so far. I can spend more time in the Mekong and Hanoi or take a 1d1n trip to Mai Chau. Am I allowing enough time to get there, see a bit and get back to Hanoi again?
There's a bit of info on the buses, but no estimates on how long the trip is- can anyone tell me?
Also, what homestays did you go to, where were they (I know a few of the better ones are out of the main area) and how much were they?
Most people take the tour to Mai Chau from Hanoi, but you could also take a public bus or hired car - about 3 hrs one way. There are 3 places to stay: the 4 star Mai Chau Lodge, the new Homestay Hotel (link below) and then the individual stilt houses in the minority (White Thai) villages.
The Mai Chau section on this site has recently been updated so have a look there - it gives prices but you're looking at roughly 150,000 for dinner, bed and breakfast. The new Homestay place isn't covered but looks like a good option if you want your own room. It took us more like 4 hours to get there last time, but then, we changed buses in Hoa Binh as we couldn't get on a direct bus.
It's quite a bit of travelling for just one night but it's certainly feasible.