Mai Chau is a seeming easy 150km cruise out of Hanoi. Only a 3-4 hour drive they say! Hmmm well, Im currently sat in my idyllic stilt house listening to White Thai women sing their folk songs in harmony with the crickets, but it didn’t start out that way. For those of you the don’t follow me on Facebook yet please click the link to read the funny story that matches the picture below of what actually happened on the first day of the rest of my life. (Reading time 4 mins)
Mission to Mai Chau
Traveling at the break neck speed of a turtle, with one nights stop over in Hoa Binh and this being my first solo motorbike trip and all, I was paranoid as hell the majority of the ride from Hanoi. I was obsessively focused on scanning the road for any and all lumps, bumps and ditches, and continuously singing the Beegees song “Ah ha ha ha staying alive, staying alive” like a mantra in my mind. I avoided lorries like the plague and checked Google maps literally every 2 kilometers. At one point I stopped to take some pictures and the kick stand slipped beneath me and the bike tumbled on the floor. Turns out im not strong or skilled enough to pick it up on my own yet! So lucky for me I waved down a kind gentleman who helped me go from horizontal to vertical once more. When I finally cruised down Mai Chau’s mountain road and into the valley it felt nothing short of a miracle.
Happy Home Stays
Once I arrived in the town a local guy call Tu followed me on a motorbike for over 2 km (standard) to come and stay at his home stay. I eventually caved in and the following morning without request was rewarded with a White Thai weaving lesson by his wife Tiet on her handmade home loom. I’m thinking i’m in the right place.
After breakfast I took a walk around the village and in the top right corner hidden away in a palm treed garden, over looking the rice paddy fields and forrest laden mountains, I found the home stay i’d been fantasising about. The family have a separate stilt house for guests and I’ve got the place all to myself which i couldn’t be more chuffed about.
This blog post is not a guide to Mai Chau, I can’t be bothered to explore every nook and cranny on this trip. My priority as stated in my previous post Fears, Farewells and Fernweh is to take it easy and see what comes my way. It’s a relentless 35 degree heat by 11am gradually increasing until the sun starts setting at 5. This morning I confidently drove the bike to a near by village market at Pa Co 30km away, but the majority of my time I spending sleeping, reading, hanging out with the local women and thinking about where to go next.
Have you been to Mai Chau and tried the weaving? Did you enjoy your stay? Share your experience in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.
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Where to Stay
Home stay number 2, in the top right corner of Poom Coong Village, (turn right before Mai Chau Lodge) 70.000vnd / $3 per person per night. Food or kitchen facilities not included, I just took a 10 minute walk into the town.
Home Stay Map
How to get there by motorbike
Hanoi to Mai Chau