The region north of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, is broadly known as the Northern Highlands, bordering both China and Laos. It is a beautiful area that many Vietnam packaged tours include, especially those that start in Hanoi. The city’s airport is a popular entry point with the Vietnam visa available on arrival. Whether tourists concentrate on Hanoi as a base taking tours out from there, or moving on to other parts of Vietnam, the Highlands are surely worth some time.
A trip offers the chance to see and explore beautiful scenery as well as learn more about the minority ethnic groups that live there, much as their ancestors did in previous times. One of the regions to the north west, Mai Chau, with a capital of the same name, is a district with a population of around 50,000. Just 160 kilometres north of Hanoi, tourists can actually book a homestay which a Hanoi travel company will be happy to arrange.
The people here are originally from what is now Thailand; they are known as Thai, with two groups, White and Black, with a total population in all of around a million. The local population are primarily farmers living in villages dotted around the area. Each village has a number of stilt houses made of bamboo and timber. They are around 10 feet off the ground which is high enough both to prevent water damage but also to shelter their animals from the extremes of weather when they come.
The Mai Chau Valley is a great place to walk. There are limestone mountains, green fields and of course the activity of daily life, farming, and the chance to stay overnight in a village and really get to understand the ‘’locals’’. Traditions have been maintained in these villages where songs and dances have been performed for generations. You can sit and enjoy dinner as well, staying in a village overnight in one of the stilt houses.
There is stunning scenery to capture on your camera though it is likely that your memories will be just as vivid, hopefully staying with you long after your travelling in Vietnam is overand enough reason to return in the future. You can discuss the content of your vacation in Vietnam with a good tour operator that will try its best to fit in all the things you want to do. It is the aim of those in the tourist industry in Vietnam to give a real insight into the Country and that includes its people, especially those in the rural environment. There is no better way to do this than to arrange a homestay and Mai Chau in the Northern Highlands is an excellent place to do that.
If you have any questions or concerns you have only to ask. There will be an English-speaking guide with you all the way from your arrival in Vietnam until your final departure if you book a Vietnam itinerary and you will be more than welcome to return in the future.