WHERE IS IT AND WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE MAI HICH?
Mai Hich (Mai Hịch in vietnamita) is located in Mai Chau district, Hoa Binh province, in north Vietnam. While Mai Chau has become a popular destination for Vietnamese and foreign tourists for many years, Mai Hich is just a new destination for those are seeking an off the beaten path experience in Vietnam.
Just far from 4 hours from center of Hanoi, you can admire a unique glimpse of local traditions and the lifeatyle of a tribal community. Spend a night in the stilts with the local family, also you can bike or walk through the surrounding fields and enjoy special local dishes.
Relax when you listen a traditional folk songs or be a part of traditional performance by amateur artista – local people, all of tham are peasant who works in the fields from morning to evening. Besides have a great time with the sound of music, you have a chance to understand their traditions and customs. Mai Hich is an interesting alternative destination for those who have enough time to travel Mai Chau.
Lac village (Bản Lác): is located in Chieng Mai commune, 1km from the town center of Mai Chau District. Coming to Lac Village, you will see stilt houses border both sides of the roads. The houses are quite large with palm leaf roofs and polished bamboo-slat floors. The kitchen is located in the center of the house; the cooking as well as the making of the colorful tho cam, the material used by Thai minority to make their clothes, takes place in the kitchen. The windows are large and decorated with patterns. Each house also has a pond to breed fish.
Pom Coong (Bản Pom Coọng): is located in the Mai Chau valley, as the Lacvillage, you can find the unique identity of national minority . This is a place where sells souvenirs made by ethnic minorities.
Chieu cave (Hang Chiều): is located in the southwest of Mai Chau, there are 1,200 steps from the foot to the entrance of the cave. From this cave, you can admire the breathtaking panorama. It’s called Chieu Cave ( means Afternoon Cave), because the bright light of sunset permeates through the holes in the cave, creating a curious light.
How to get there?
Local buses: If you want to make do-it-yourself trip, it is not difficult to get to Mai Chau by local bus from Hanoi. Just go to the My Dinh Station in the morning and take one of the regular buses to Hoa Binh. It takes 4 hours and costs 100,000 -150.000vnd.
You can cycle through the fields and the villages in the quiet afternoon. Our guide will take you along narrow paths through the valley to enjoy the scenery and take pictures with the peasants who generously invite us to join their agricultural activities. Roofs, yellow fields, green gardens and wooden wheels carry water in the fields, everything will make a picturesque landscape.
You can also visit “Ghost Forest”, this name is used to call the cemetery by the minority . Each tomb is built like a small stilts. Some new graves are still showing food and agricultural tools. The forest is lugubrious and deserted, makes you raise hair on his head.
Tourists and young people dance together around a jar of Rượu cần (alcohol made from rice and drunk through pipes), while the elderly and children gather to enjoy the improvised “performance”. You can also join the dance with bamboo pole – another interesting dance to connect people.
On stilts, female householder show how to make a traditional cake called Bánh ốc (snail shaped cake) made with glutinous rice and beans blacks and is covered by banana leaves.
The next morning you can visit the Xia stream where the robust young man waits on the shore with rafts made from bamboo trunks.
You can also join volunteer activities to support children of ethnic minorities in Mai Chau, such as teaching English classes, art, music or giving the candy, exercise books, pens, … to bring more opportunities to get a better life .
What and where you can buy the local specialities?
There is a market (opens on Sunday) where most of the ethnic peoples as H’mong, Muong, Thai come to trade goods. The market is busy and crowded as the Vietnamese New Year.
Brocades are best selling products. They go to the market with many different purposes. They can exchange, buy or simply meet friends. The boys and girls can also make an appointment to express or confesss their feeling.
What you should try to eat?
The stilts in Mai Chau usually have the basement with space for cooking service. Tourists can choose ready meals or order which dishes they like.
There are many specialties in Mai Chau, but ‘Xôi nếp’ (sticky rice) is the most delicious dish. It has a typical taste because after wet for four or five hours, rice is cooked in bamboo tubes. This process makes for a very compelling and fragrant taste. Then ‘Xôi nếp’ will be served with pork or chicken meat.
Do not forget to enjoy ‘rượu cần’, a famous acohol to eahc locale people here. Usually they drink ‘rượu cần’ in celebration, weddings or ceremonies, etc.
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