Posted By : Threeland Travel / Vietnam Travel Guide
When it comes to travelling on two wheels in Vietnam, cycling enthusiasts fall for Mai Chau not only because of its astounding beauty but also its cultural richness. Located in Hoa Binh Province, about 135km from Hanoi, Mai Chau offers quiet back roads and country lanes, from good single-track paths, undulating trails to some climbs that are rewarded with ultimate descents. Here, biking is so popular that most hotels offer free bikes, you don’t need to worry about getting them.
Without a doubt, your Vietnam tours will be enriched with a bike adventure combining physical exercise, contemplating the sceneries and observing the locals’ way of life which had changed very little over time.
Some say that Mai Chau is best seen on the saddle, here below are things you may love while cycling here. Let’s explore as you pedal!
A great hideaway from the hustle and bustle city
You are tired of the urban roads? Want to stay away from the bustle & hustle of the city? For those who seek peace of mind, a scenario without the bustling noises, Mai Chau will make a great hideaway. Riding its winding lanes and country roads, you will be immersed in pristine panoramas of mountains, valleys and meet friendly locals in peaceful villages.
In addition, there's plenty of space for you and your wheels, no traffic jams or one-way systems getting in your way. Stunning views spread out before your eyes and fresh country air fills your lungs.
The weather is pleasant
In general, Mai Chau’s climate is quite pleasant all year round, definitely suitable for outdoor activities. Comparing with other Northern Vietnam cities, it rains less and the humidity is lower. October to May is perhaps the best time of the year for cycling here with December, January and sometimes February being the coldest months.
The scenery is spectacular, offering countless photo opportunities
Only 135km away from Hanoi, Mai Chau is a mountainous region with cool weather year round. It has some significant draws for a perfect cycling tour of green fields, mountains in the backdrop and gently flowing streams. Moreover, there are stilt houses bordering both sides of the roads and dotting at the foot of the mountains, which are very eye-catching. Along the way, photo opportunities are countless and you get to gaze upon picturesque landscapes and countryside villages as you ride.
Nowadays, Mai Chau is a very popular tourist attraction in Vietnam, yet it has not lost its untouched scenery, welcoming and laidback ambience. Frankly sharing, you don’t need to have any photography skills, Mai Chau is so beautiful that every picture you take there will be outstanding.
A wide range of cycling tracks
Mai Chau has a lot to offer. You don’t need to be fit for cycling here since it is quite flat riding through rural villages and rice paddies. However, if you want it to be more challenging, there are off-road paths, secret village’s back roads, dense plantations and bamboo forest rides available. The routes here can meet any level of experiences, from beginner to even advanced bikers, depending on your personal preferences. For leisure rides, we recommend riding through Mai Chau valley and the surrounding villages. For more active ones, the cycling routes combining Mai Chau with Pu Luong or Moc Chau will meet your need.
The food is delicious
Your trip to Mai Chau can’t be complete without tasting the delicacies here. Local foods are inarguably flavorful as they are the perfect combination of different cultures of ethnic groups inhabiting the region. What’s more? The foods give you all the energy you need to explore the destination on your bike.
Although dining in a restaurant is good, nothing beats a Vietnamese family-style meal with the locals in a stilled house. All the ingredients are fresh and locally grown here. The most outstanding of all must be bamboo-tubed rice (com lam), the feeling of peeling out the outer layer, revealing the fragrant and perfectly cooked white rice inside is just simply amazing. Grilled pork is made from a unique kind of pig raising in the region. After being quickly roasted whole in fire, the meat is carefully sliced into small pieces and mixed with various types of spices before being grilled. The list goes on with five-color glutinous rice, pomelo leave pork rolls, buffalo meat with “lom” leaves and stir-fried bee cocoons with bamboo shoots…
Accommodations are various and comfortable
Staying in stilt houses or homestays is very popular among tourists to Mai Chau. However, if you’re looking for modern and luxurious options, there are several available just outside the villages. They offer not only accommodation but also other facilities such as swimming pool, restaurant and motorbike rentals… After all, nothing is better than a hot shower and comfy bed after a day of cycling and discovering around.
People are hospitable
Cycling through the villages gives you chances to interact with friendly people in Mai Chau valley as well as gets you to know more about their daily life and cultures. There are many ethnic groups calling this land home such as Muong, Viet, Tai, Yao, Mong and others. As you ride, you will encounter farmers working in fields, locals waving scarves and see peaceful villages.
The best time to mingle with the locals is when we gather around, having the tasty dinner before enjoying local music performance while sipping sticky-rice tipple (ruou can) through bamboo straws from a single jar.
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