Discover the cool, serene Mai Chau valley with a 3-day, 2-night, small-group tour including a homestay in a traditional stilt house. You'll sleep in a communal dorm room on simple mattresses, with mosquito nets and Wi-Fi but without air-conditioning, and spend your days exploring by bicycle, motorbike and on foot. Enjoy traditional White Thai food and rice wine, explore the Mai Chau valley and Pu Luong Nature Reserve, and discover some of Vietnam's most interesting hill-tribe cultures.
Day 1: Hanoi - Mai Chau (L, D)
A comfortable, air-conditioned minivan will collect you from your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter at 7:30am, or from the Hanoi Opera House at 8am (pickup outside these areas is available at a US$5 per person surcharge). The scenic 3.5-hour journey brings you through Cun Pass and Thung Khe Pass, with a stop at the top of Thung Nhuoi Pass to take in the breathtaking Mai Chau Valley below. You'll arrive in Mai Chau, visit Lac Village and Pom Coong Village, check in to your stilt house and enjoy a traditional lunch in a local village around 12:15pm. Spend the afternoon cycling around the valley's pretty villages, watching farmers working in the rice-fields, villagers weaving scarves, and the simple rhythms of country life, as your guide explains more about White Thai culture. Feel free to purchase embroidery as souvenirs. At 6pm, enjoy a traditional dinner in a White Thai living museum, followed by a traditional dance in your stilt house and some ruou can rice wine.
Overnight in Mai Chau
Day 2: Mai Chau - Pu Luong Nature Reserve – Mai Chau (B, L, D)
After enjoying breakfast, you'll set out by motorbike at 8:30am for the 22 mile (35 kilometer) ride to the Pu Luong Nature Reserve. Motorbike drivers are available if you do not wish to drive yourself: please be aware that it's illegal to ride a motorbike in Vietnam without a license and that to do so will invalidate your travel insurance. Enjoy a Vietnamese lunch in Hang Village at noon, before setting out at 1pm for a 2-hour trek in the Pu Luong Nature Reserve, with its rich forest, magnificent rice terraces, and dramatic limestone formations. Experience the everyday life and culture of the White Thai and Muong minorities, before hopping back on the bike to return to Mai Chau for dinner.
Overnight in Mai Chau
Day 3: Mai Chau - Hanoi (B, L)
Around 07:30am, you'll get up for a jog around the village in the mist, then enjoy a light breakfast, perhaps with the classic Vietnamese pho bo (beef noodle soup). At 8:30am, you'll hike to 1000 Step Cave and a local market. Lunch is at 12:15pm, followed by free time to relax or explore Mai Chau independently. You'll head back to Hanoi at 3pm, arriving at Hanoi Old Quarter or the Hanoi Opera House around 6:30pm.
Hotel pickups commence prior to this time, you must contact the local service provider to verify your exact pickup time.