Mai Chau, Vietnam

Aug 12th, 2010, 09:27 AM
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Mai Chau, Vietnam

Crellston wrote in another thread,


How far is Mai Chau from Hanoi? We have left 2 days open in our itinerary after 3 full days in Hanoi. They're intended for a trip to Halong Bay, but we haven't made actual plans yet. We do not have time for Sapa trek - do you all recommend Halong Bay or Mai Chau?
sf7307 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2010, 05:00 PM
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I have been to both and whilst I loved the beauty of Halong Bay Mai Chau shows the village life and that's what I love.Can't remember the exact time to get there but we had to go on a bus, then a barge then another bus, then a walk. I think it was half day trip and we stayed overnight.
northie is online now  
Aug 12th, 2010, 11:03 PM
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Mai Chau takes around 3 to 4 hours from Hanoi (depending on the Hanoi traffic).
crellston is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 10:02 PM
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and have not much time, MaiChau will be the good choice.
It is 150 km from MaiChau to Hanoi ( 3,5-4 hours by car). You can visit the Muong minority village en route (in HoaBinh). In MaiChau you will have night on a stilt house at a Thai minority village, enjoying pipe rice wine or folk dance by local people. 2 day-1night trip to MaiChau is OK. However Halong trip with kayaking and have the night on boat is still impressive.
You should have 1 full day only in Hanoi. You said that you would have 2 days open in your itinerary after 3 full days in Hanoi. If that I think you can visit both MaiChau and Halong, or even Sapa and Halong.

Option 1 :
Day 1 : Arrival. Night in Hanoi
Day 2 : Full day in Hanoi. Night train to LaoCai (the train leave Hanoi at 9:10PM)
Day 3 : LaoCai/Sapa - Arrive in LaoCai railway station at around 5:30AM. Transfer by bus to Sapa (40 km). Full day in Sapa.
Day 4 : Full day in Sapa. Late afternoon back to LaoCai for the night train to Hanoi (train leaves LaoCai at around 8:00PM).
Day 5 : Arrive in Hanoi at 5:00AM. Overnight trip to Halong (170 km from Hanoi).
Day 6 : Return to Hanoi at around 3:00PM. You can get the flight to Hue after that ( if there is available flight)

Option 2 : spend 2 days/1 night in MaiChau, instead of Sapa trip.

Wish you choose the suitable itinerary for yourself.
T_Hana is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 10:04 PM
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I do not think that MaiChau is more beautiful than Sapa. However if you want to visit the mountainous area in the Northern Vietnam and have not much time, you can choose MaiChau.
T_Hana is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 02:13 AM
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For what it's worth, I've done both and enjoyed trekking in Mai Chau by far better than Halong. But I would also add that I did not do any of the touted "hill tribe visits", just got there, then walked form point a to b with a local guide, taking in the absolutely stunning scenery and normal village life going on around us, did overnights in homestays 4 days 3 nights. It was amazing.

I would view these destinations as being quite different, so in the end it depends on how you like taking in your scenery, as an active participant or an observer? Both have their advantages.

What's the weather going to be like during the time of travel? Trekking in the middle of a monsoon is not exactly enjoyable.
offwego is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 08:03 AM
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Thank you both.

offwego, we will NOT be there during monsoon season (we knew enough to plan around that!). (BTW, I've been reading your Siem Reap restaurant recommendations -- thanks for that!!)

T_Hana, you're the first person who's ever suggested spending only one day in Hanoi. Anyone else -- 1 day only in Hanoi (we were planning 3 full days)?
sf7307 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 04:13 PM
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IMO 1 day in Hanoi is ridiculous. Hanoi is charming and you will enjoy your 3 days there...there's much to see and wandering the streets is delightful.
dgunbug is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 05:37 PM
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That's what I thought!
sf7307 is offline  
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