The Simple Life
Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
24Trip End Feb 27, 2013
Mai Chau turned out to be exactly what we were hoping to find in Vietnam. The city is comprised of villages from several minority groups including the White Thai and H’mong people. Most of the villages are located in a valley surrounded by rice fields and mountains. The scenery seemed familiar, like something out of a movie. Besides the amazing scenery, the most enjoyable part of our experience in Mai Chau was interacting with the local people. Our lodge, a former government guest house, was very small and all of the employees live locally. We took a bike tour through several of the villages with our guide, Duong. He told us all about how the locals live their daily lives, primarily farming for themselves. What we were most impressed by was his enthusiasm to start his own business. He had borrowed money from the bank and was building his own homestay where he could bring in budget-seeking tourists. We found the locals to be very polite, especially the children. Every kid we rode by would wave and yell “hello!” to us.
We took a kayak tour on the Hoa Binh Reservoir with another guide, Cuong. The kayaks were at a house at the lakeside in a nearby H’mong village
After massages and local dance performances, our last highpoint in Mai Chau was returning to the cave across the street, Soldier’s Cave, once used to store weapons for the North Vietnamese Army. It reminded me of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, except we were the only people inside and we had to wear bike helmets for protection. I thought this was overkill at first but was very appreciative after hitting my head a few times. The limited lighting and narrow crawl space made the cave exploration that much more exciting. Mai Chau was a great introduction to the simple life of Vietnam, now it’s on to the motorbike madness of Hanoi!
Until next time,
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