I have decided to go to Mai Chau rather than Sapa. It seems to be more appealing from what I have heard. I was wondering if it is possible to hire motorbikes in Mai Chau?
Also how many days should be spent in Mai Chau?
I prefer to stay away from tours, are there any activities that anyone recommends?
#1 ivo_24 has been a member since 29/4/2007. Posts: 10
The main attraction in Mai Chau (apart from the scenery) is being able to stay in traditional housing, browsing/buying weaving and doing a bit of trekking in the surrounds. Most of the trekking is of the full day variety rather than longer, multi-day trips and as far as I know, you are required to take a guide. I'm sure you'd be able to arrange a one-on-one trip though (you and the guide).
As for motorbike hire, I'm not sure. If there's not places explicitly hiring bikes out you may be able to come to some kind of informal arrangement once you're there. The other option is just to hire the bike in Hanoi and ride there yourself -- it's not all that far.
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,800
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there another option for U.
Mai Chau lodge is opening this month. It's very comfortable accommmodation (equal to 4* hotel). From here, U could rent a motor. Check out their website: http://www.maichaulodge.com/
it's good choice but expensive.
Otherwise, U could have a night in stilt house of Thai people in Poom Con of Lac Village and ask the owner to rent a motor. I think it's available.
In the evening, U could enjoy the traditional folk dance of Thai people. The cost for one show is about 30$
Check out this house: guest house "Ha Hong Nga" (name of the owner). phone: 084.018.867378 cellphone: 0915686611.
#3 manooe has been a member since 12/9/2007. Posts: 34
The most difficult thing is getting to Mai Chau - using local buses involves a change and possibly using a Xe Om to go the last kilometre or two.
There are many stilt houses offering accommodation, so be sure to shop around.
Whilst there is no market, as in Sa Pa, the main attraction is the scenery.
Remember to take lots of smaller notes / bills as the locals will likely to be unable to offer exchange for large notes.
#4 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349
Thanks for the response everyone!
#5 ivo_24 has been a member since 29/4/2007. Posts: 10
Mai Chau still an mysterious with many tourists, you can spend some days in Mai Chau to exploring the life of the hill tribal or trekking through the remote villages on high moutain and hill, visit the market of H'm People and on the way back to Hanoi, you can see the Red Dzao village near Hoa Binh City.
To get to Mai Chau, you will need to take a car, until now, there is no bus, so a private car or motocyle are all you have.
As for me, I sugguest that you should take a motobike to feel a somehow a real adventure.
Happy Maichauing -:)
I am a bit of a beginner to motorbikes. I have hired automatic scooters in Ko Phangan and Ko Samui. So I feel reasonably confident.
Initially I was considering hiring a motorbike for rides that are more local. I am a little wary about taking a motorbike on long journeys after hearing about Vietnam's road toll, but now I am intrigued.
How far is it by motorbike (time and distance) to Mai Chau from Hanoi?
How safe and user friendly would you consider the ride to be? (eg - what kind of roads are they, am I likely to get lost?)
Would it be better to hire a motorbike on the outskirts of Hanoi to prevent getting lost in the city?
Are the roads around Mai Chau passable by scooter or would it be best to trek around the villages?
You say a guide is necessary to visit the villages - does this mean that if we travel by scooter we need to take a guide with us?
Sorry about the barrage of questions. You have all been very helpful.
#7 ivo_24 has been a member since 29/4/2007. Posts: 10
The distance from Mai Chau To Hanoi is about 150kms. 50% of the road is mountainous area so U should be a experienced driver if U want to take this trip.
To get to Mai Chau, U could drive a long nation road #6.
This road is in favourable condition and quite easy to travel.
#8 manooe has been a member since 12/9/2007. Posts: 34