Most travelers in Hanoi usually spend a few days exploring the city streets, dodging motorbikes and trying the magnificent food, then take one of two side trips outside the city. Both Halong Bay to the west and Sapa to the east are fantastic experiences, though often too crowded for some seeking a more personal experience. For the traveler looking to get off the beaten path, heading north to Mai Chau is the perfect option.
Mai Chau Lodge is a unique place, offering the paramount in natural relaxation and cultural exploration. It is a haven that offers a stark contrast to Hanoi, situated near the lush tribal villages of the ethnic minority groups in the valley of Mai Chau. An island of luxury in a sea of rice paddies, you will wake up to stunning sunrises and grazing water buffalo as you are served delicious local meals, and embark on fun activities involving both the local culture and nature.
A short walk outside will take you from your room, equipped with flat screen TV's and air conditioning, into the White Thai village. Stilt houses and rice farmers are the norm here, along with a group of people eager to introduce their culture to international travelers. Nightly cultural dances, well organized tours with fun guides, and a welcoming people combine to make this a special experience. Activities ranging from yoga, to private tours, to kayaking and canoeing are available to guests. And of course, the lodge has plenty of bikes for you to borrow and strike out on your own.
The dining areas on property feature both local and international cuisine, though all food is locally grown. Great effort is made to maintain the kitchens as sustainable as possible, including hiring local tribe members, and emphasizing local recipes.
In addition to hiring exclusively from local tribes, the lodge is actively involved in improving the local community through building projects in surrounding villages, planting native trees and doing its best to promote local culture and products.