Mai Chau Valley is set within a natural cauldron of forested slopes and patchwork rice paddies. It's very accessible from Hanoi - the journey takes around 3 to 4 hours - but an absolute world away from the incessant noise of scooters and chaotic city streets. Settle into the laid back lifestyle at an eco-lodge, and although there are plenty of adventures to be had in the hills, make sure you factor in time to soak it all in. With landscapes like this, where the passage of time feels different somehow, it's often a case of blink and you'll miss it.
Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...
Hanoi may leave you in a mild state of shock, but as soon as you see spirals of smoke pirouetting from the villages of Mai Chau Valley, all stressful road-crossing memories will be replaced with something far more relaxing. This is where rustic-yet-stylish, thatched, stilted bungalows beckon weary travellers, while swimming pools and massage treatments await you in the days ahead. Sit with a cocktail in your own private garden, and gaze over rice fields stretching seamlessly towards forested slopes shrouded in mist. If there's a better way to prepare for an evening meal after a day of dozing or exploring, please let us know!
Taking your time to adapt to the slow, rural pace of Mai Chau can be as simple as staring out of the window at the countryside that appears as soon as you've left the urban outskirts of Hanoi. It can be all too easy to get tied up in tight schedules and fast-paced itineraries, so make sure you factor in days off so you can rest, relax and take it all in. Linger over lunchtime bowls of noodle soup, stare out over the patchwork rice paddies or just sit and listen to the sounds of the Vietnamese countryside. Mai Chau's peaceful, rural scenes are the antithesis to the modern world; give yourself the time and space to breathe them all in.
There's only so much time you can spend staring out at the lush, green slopes of Mai Chau before you just have to dive in. Although this isn't serious trekking country, there are plenty of less arduous adventures to be had. Pedal a bike through rice paddies, or hike to a neighbouring village and feel welcomed as one of the family. There aren't any hill tribes living within Mai Chau Valley, but you can learn about the small cottage industries and what life is like for villagers living off the land. Waking up to the crowing of cockerels and the smell of smoke from the eternal camp fire is a refreshing adventure for those accustomed to city life.
Embark on a journey through Vietnam’s less-visited north - lush rolling hills, remote villages and friendly locals, with a side of morning noodles in Hanoi.