Mai Chau to go or not?

Old Jan 8th, 2010, 05:31 PM
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Mai Chau to go or not?

Hi everyone,

Just wondering if we should take a day trip to Mai chau given the fact that Sapa is on our 'must see' list? Is it worth the time or just same same as Sapa?

Thanks for your help
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Old Jan 8th, 2010, 11:20 PM
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I loved the Mai Chau valley. Different, less dramatic scenery than Sapa and more unspoiled and the local people are incredibly friendly and hospitable, I preferred it to Sapa. That said, MC is doable in a day but it would be a VERY long day, maybe 3 hours each way, maybe more if the traffic in and out of Hanoi is bad.

A link to a few photos of both places http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog...ai/3/tpod.html

Ba Be is another place I would highly recommend but that really is a long trip and needs at least 3-4 days..

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog...2280/tpod.html
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 12:42 AM
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Thanks crellston. Really enjoyed your blog. Sounds like we need to think twice about this.
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 01:22 AM
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I'd also recommend Mai Chau. We did an overnight homestay and it was great. When we arrived in the mid afternoon all the men were sitting round under their houses talking, sleeping etc. I woke at dawn to the sound of the usual roosters and looked out the window to see them all at work in the rice paddies. Makes sense in the tropics.

Beautiful and friendly place.
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 01:26 AM
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Agree with crellston. I personally wouldn't bother going to Mai Chau OR Sapa as a day trip, as you won't see anything without a couple day's trek. (IMO) Sapa, though beautiful, is no longer even moderately authentic. Mai Chau is better, but you still need time to get out into the minority villages to capture what is appealing about it.
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 04:36 PM
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Thanks silverwool and offwego for your input. Honestly we've no idea of a homestay in Mai Chau for the time being. We're traveling in Feb and assume we should book now? Did you book it directly in Mai Chau or through your travel company?
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 06:39 PM
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.We are going to Hanoi in early March as part of our SEA trip and booked a two night stay directly with the Mai Chau lodge.I think the lodge has a connection to Buffalo Tours.We were wanting more comfort than a homestay but if you wish that most travel agencies could probably arrange it.I know Handspan does and perhaps Buffalo Tours too.We were in Sapa in 2004 and enjoyed it, we used Handspan Tours at that time
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 06:42 PM
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I used Buffalo Tours for a 4 day trek, using a private guide and sleeping in homestays. It wasn't comfortable by any stretch, but it was one of the highlights of all my travels in SEA.
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 06:51 PM
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Thanks for your recommendation!
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 09:31 PM
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I was on a tour but I'm sure any travel agent in Vietnam could find you somewhere to sleep. We just had mattresses on the floor.
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 11:59 PM
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The cheapest way of booking a trip to Mai Chau (if you have the time) would be to visit one of the many agents in the Old Quarter. We organised a 4 night trip to Ba Be leaving the next day with Kangaroo Tours. They were pretty good - at least the guide was. The driver was a miserable guy who tried to insist on driving with the windows open even in the then freezing temps!
With regard to homestay v lodge. We visited the lodge and it was very nice but for a true taste of the area and to get to know the people, the homestay option wins, at least for me, hands down. As offwego says you really do need to get out to the other villages to make the most of the area. Waking at dawn (silverwool, I too remember those roosters!!)and walking through the valley to the other villages is one of those memories that will stay with me for a very long time.
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Old Jan 13th, 2010, 12:22 AM
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Thank again for your helpful advice!
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Old Jan 13th, 2010, 08:07 AM
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I guess it is whatever tweaks your fancy.At this point in time my husband and I at 70 and 72 opt for comfort.Have a great trip whatever you choose.
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