The idyllic, rural valley of Mai Chau is just 150km from Hanoi but feels like a completely different world. Fields and rice paddies sprawl out across the vista, and the mountains fade sleepily into the horizon.The only soundtrack here is that of nature, the delicate birdsong, the mumbles of the buffaloes, the squawk of the chickens, and the children playing freely in the fields. Although Mai Chau has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, it has retained its welcoming and laidback ambience.
The town itself sits in a fertile valley enveloped on either side by rambling hills all carpeted in thick green forest. The paddies and fields of the town provide the main sustenance for the people living there and elegantly change colour with the seasons. In Spring, the fields are bursting with the bright, vivid green of the young plants. Over the Summer this gradually changes, the paddies morphing into a sea of gold in the Autumn.
Most of the towns are populated by the White Thai ethnic groups but there are also some others in the area such as the H’mong Village of Xa Linh. The villages are small and blend seamlessly with the environment. The majority of houses are skillfully built using a combination of bamboo and timber with thatched roofs, the natural materials complimenting the unblemished surroundings. The main trades in this undisturbed settling, weaving and farming, are now complemented by the tourism that the area attracts. The hospitality of the local families is one of the main charms of the area. The laid-back atmosphere of the environment seems to be an extension of the warm, easy going people that live there.