Mai Chau (15-17 Nov 13)

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November 17th 2013
Published: November 17th 2013
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And so a few more weeks into my Hanoi Holiday and I've found the time and energy away from my vietnamese classes on the weekdays to embark on another provincial escapade during the weekend. Last time round i headed south towards Ninh Binh, so this time round I decided to head west towards Mai Chau.

Now although I'd never been there before, thinking about the destination brings back some memories because I still remember looking at the map and wondering whether I could go there en route during the Lao-Vietnam border crossing I did late last year, from Vieng Xai to Na Meo. That was a painful, near 10h bus ride through the winding highlands, all the way to Thanh Hoa, Unfortunately, the detour to Mai Chau was not possible, or at least not on the bus I took, and so I've had to wait a whole year before I finally had the chance to see this place I've read about over a year ago.

And like Ninh Binh, Mai Chau turned out to be a welcome counterpart to Hanoi. Essentially a one street town with just a handful of guesthouses and restaurants along the sides, the highlight really is the few ethnic
Pom Coong VillagePom Coong VillagePom Coong Village

No shortage of tourist souvenir shops here.
White Thai villages several hundred metres deeper into the padi fields. But of course these are hardly undiscovered ethnic villages -- package tours bus loads of day-tripping tourist from Hanoi daily, and even hordes of domestic tourists descend to experience a night's stay in the ethnic stilt houses, that have very much been sterilised by government regulation, and feature all the creature comforts you would expect, and which package tourists normally demand.

So yes, the authenticity of the experience has certainly been compromised, as every

Stayed at Nha Nghi Anh Dao.

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Three languages! Vietnamese, Chinese and Lao!

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