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Mai Chau Lodge

Hoa Binh, Vietnam

A community-minded gem set among rice fields, misty mountains and fascinating hill tribe people

Most visitors to Hanoi spend a day or 2 dodging the motorbikes and commercial mayhem in the city’s old quarter before heading out on one of 2 sidetrips - east to Halong Bay or west to Sapa. But thanks to the Mai Chau Lodge, located just a 4-hour drive south of the city, visitors now have an equally memorable, less-touristy option.

The lodge lies like a raft of civility in a sea of rice paddies on a mountain-hemmed valley floor. Immaculately maintained, it has 16 rooms and all modern conveniences - including a lovely pool, air-conditioning and flatscreen TVs. Yet a 5-minute walk down the rural road next to the lodge brings you to a White Thai village. Here, people live in stilt houses, graze their water buffaloes in the rice fields, and weave beautiful fabrics on simple looms. Near-nightly cultural dances, well-designed tours led by charming and informative guides, and plentiful offerings at mealtimes round out the offerings at this unique lodge, which brings you up-close with some of Vietnam’s earliest and most colourful inhabitants.

Guest Ratings

Room:
70%
Food:
80%
Service:
85%
Value:
70%
Overall:
76%

Mai Chau Lodge: View all reviews


signature

Reviewed by Michael Franco

Highs

  • Location, location. As you descend the steep mountain slopes to the valley floor, you feel like you’re truly arriving at a secret haven
  • Appealing choice of rustic hut lily-pond rooms, or more posh and traditional rooms in the main house
  • The idyllic pool, capacious hot tub and sauna helps you chill out after a day touring the countryside
  • Sunset walks in the surrounding rice fields can’t be beat
  • Sustainable tourism principles very evident (100% of staff are local; profound respect for and promotion of local culture)

Lows

  • The secluded nature of the property means no pubs, restaurants or karaoke bars nearby. Of course, that’s not necessarily a low
  • An overall lack of proficiency with English can make some transactions with the staff tricky, but always full of smiles
  • The transfer from Hanoi is on a group shuttle bus that leaves at 8am sharp - you're out of luck if your plane gets in any later. It's also a bumpy, loud, jerky ride and the landscape doesn’t get really pretty until you’re about an hour from the hotel
  • Some mixed reports about the food, but we found it excellent
Save to favouritesPrintMailMai Chau LodgeMost visitors to Hanoi spend a day or 2 dodging the motorbikes and commercial mayhem in the cityís old quarter before heading out on one of 2 sidetrips - east to Halong Bay or west to Sapa. But thanks to the Mai Chau Lodge, located just a 4-hour drive south of the city, visitors now have an equally memorable, less-touristy option. The lodge lies like a raft of civility in a sea of rice paddies on a mountain-hemmed valley floor. Immaculately maintained, it has 16 [r:VN013:rooms] and all modern conveniences - including a lovely pool, air-conditioning and flatscreen TVs. Yet a 5-minute walk down the rural road next to the lodge brings you to a White Thai village. Here, people live in stilt houses, graze their water buffaloes in the rice fields, and weave beautiful fabrics on simple looms. Near-nightly cultural dances, well-designed tours led by charming and informative guides, and plentiful offerings at mealtimes round out the offerings at this unique lodge, which brings you up-close with some of Vietnamís earliest and most colourful inhabitants.

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