Getting amazed among the forests and mountains, that is a beautiful valley that can pull the heart of anyone ever setting foot here and make people hearing about it get interested in it. Mai Chau appears among the sky and mountains with the harmonized natural colors. I went to Mai Chau in two short days. It's temporarily enough to feel the sustainable and durable life in this land.
At that time, I was the final year student. I did not have much time and money, but I still would love to travel. Hanoi on the first days of the year was noisy and crowded. I did not think so much, I decided to reach to Mai Chau.
Stop to take photos in Thung Khe Pass
It’s only 170km from Hanoi to Mai Chau; it’s not too far for traveling by motorbike. It’s easy to find and remember the way to Mai Chau; only go straight from Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan. However, Mai Chau puts the young people like me to the test by the zigzag mountain roads, the roads filled with such thick fog that the heart misses a beat. One side is the imposing cliff and another side is the deep chasm filled with white dim fog mixed with the rain covering the endless mountains, etc.
Many other tourists can get interested in Thung Khe Pass, the place with the temporary market along the road of Muong ethnic people; they sell all the items such as: boiled corn, corn, orchids, “cai meo” (a type of vegetable of the Northwest ethnic people), “hog badger” (a type of pig that is the special dish of the highlands), birds, forest animals, etc. But I prefer the place located about 1 km from it. I call it White Rock Slope. Stop in one side of the road, and then travel along the path covered with crushed stone, I reached to the top of the land that juts out covered with white rock, dust and clouds. One side is the mountain; another side is the chasm, covered with clouds; that makes the landscape here really spectacular. The feeling of floating among the clouds was so great. I stop to take some photos, and then continue to travel along the path filled with the thick fog. It’s 15 km from this slope to reach to Lac Village.
A peaceful and quiet Pom Coong Village
Then the vehicle goes down the slope, I admire the rolling mountains and enjoy completely the fragrance of the forests and mountains. The fog gradually disappears. The rice and grass are filled with the green of sugar-cane fields rising up the buds, the far rolling hills under the silver clouds of the afternoon, bamboo hedges, and banana gardens next to the houses on stilts at the distance. The ranges of endless green mountains mixed with the floating clouds create an extremely beautiful painting. And Mai Chau Valley appears in a peaceful and gentle view. Although Mai Chau is less famous than the colorful terraced fields in Mu Cang Chai, the Tam Giac Mach flower fields in Ha Giang or the beautiful green tea hills in Moc Chau, there is a peace here.
Flower and brocade dresses are hung everywhere in the village that creates an exciting song of colors.
Mai Chau is a flower among the Northwest forests and mountains; is a beautiful song amongthe heaven and earth of Hoa Binh. Standing on the path at the halfway up the mountain and lowering the eyes, we can see that each paddy field looks like the pieces of smooth powder colors on the nice picture of the Northwest nature. There are many small beautiful houses here. There are also the bulbuls flowing in the wind. And trees have not changed completely their colors along the mountain side with the green, yellow and red mixed with together. It’s harmonious and simple.
The balls made from scraps of brocade fabric are sold with the price of 10.000 VND
The small path leading to Lac Village is located among the green young paddy field. The imposing ranges of mountains covered with floating clouds are in front of, at both sides and behind me. The slight sunshines, breezes, bamboo hedges whispered soft and low, and water flowing through the bamboo pipes crossing the stream, those are the peace of a rural area of the Northwest.
The colorful handmade bracelets are braided cleverly. Tourists can require the hosts to braid according to the favorite patterns and colors.
Mai Chau is such a simple place that attracts me strangely. It’s extremely attractive by the small houses on stilts on the slope that I ride my bike crossing it, by the lovely smiles of the children of the small village on other side of the paddy field or the image of a farmer asking for the fire to light a fire in the middle of the small and nice village road that seems to be in the fairy tales or when sitting and admiring the paddy fields, frames of fiber melon, vegetable plots, flocks of ducks, etc near the small eaves on the side of the road with a cup of sweet-smelling green tea along with the sounds of stream next to the fragrant paddy field. There are lovely Thai people in Lac Village, Nhot Village, Pom Coong Village. The green paddy fields stretch along the mountain slopes or the village roads run zigzag among the paddy fields. There are flocks of cows grazing on the side of the road somewhere and the slight smell of the smoke of the afternoon mixed with the fragrance of the forests and mountains next to the deserted paddy fields. Mai Chau is filled with peace; Mai Chau is gently hidden it among the afternoon at the beginning of the year in the breeze.
The tourism services here are quite developed. Although the accommodation is not luxurious, it’s rustic and simple and the hosts are enthusiastic and thoughtful. The market area in the village is always filled with colors, dresses, silver bracelets, brocade bracelets. The shops here are improved from the foundation under the houses on stilts of each family. People sell brocade, knife, scissors, fruits, etc. There is a variety of goods sold with the extremely cheap price that help you find out your favorite items. Mai Chau brocade is beautiful and well-known as the smoothness of Thai women. The ethnic beauty in the costume of Thai people is very clear: headscarf, blue coat, dresses covering the heel; each girl wraps up around their chest with a piece of brocade as the upper hem of the dress that creates the gentle and secret beauty.
The sun lights of the early morning shine into the houses on stilts of Mai Chau Ecolodge.
It’s certainly not only me coming to Mai Chau; you will live in the love, friendliness and sociability of people here. Wandering to visit the villages in the quiet afternoon, hearing the smooth sound of Thai mothers lulling their children on the cradle, the sound of shuttles mixed with that of the forests that makes the soul ease at mind.