I am travelling with a friend in Vietnam in November, we have a limited time in Vietnam (approx 2.5 weeks depending on how we feel about the place) I would like to go inland to the villages and to the highlands for 2-3 days, where we would like to hire a motorbike/cycle and explore the villages and the countryside. We are not very interested in tours, and would prefer to do our own thing.
I have been recommended Sapa but I have been doing a bit of reading and have heard about Mai Chau. Mai Chau is closer to Hanoi (hence less travel time) and sounds like it is less touristy but similar to Sapa.
Is there anyone that has been to both of these places and would have any comments or recomendations on which one of these two places to pick?
#1 ivo_24 has been a member since 29/4/2007. Posts: 10
i have been to sapa and found it quite amazing very differrent to other regions of vietnam. we spent 3 nights there 1 in a homestay. booked through kanagaroo cafe it saves time have some things partly organised we also booked our halong bay trip with them very affordable and they ran back to back so no time wasted.
#2 camstyle has been a member since 21/3/2007. Posts: 3
While Mai Chau is closer to Hanoi, most head to Sapa by overnight train so in the scheme of things, they're not that different in that regard.
Sapa has far more impressive scenery, while Mai Chau is more intreresting for it's quaint "village" feel and it sees volumes less tourists than Sapa, which can at times seem a little disneylandesque.
That said, Sapa has a larger hilltribe population and they're more accessible than Mai Chau (I'm trying to write this without it sounding like a human zoo!)
In summary they're very different places -- if you want to see a lot of colourfully dressed minorities and buy lots of gifts for when you get home, then Sapa is the best choice. If, rather you're after a more traditional, unadulterated scene, then Mai Chau may be for you.
Hope that helps
#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,800
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Thats great advice! Thanks somtam!
Sounds like Mai Chau is the most appealing option.
www.flickr.com is a website I use for looking at photos of possible destinations, and from this Mai Chau still looks very nice.
#4 ivo_24 has been a member since 29/4/2007. Posts: 10