With its unique culture identity and ethnic identity and the breathtaking landscape and cool weather all year around, Mai Chau is flocked by Vietnamese tourirsts, foreigners who are interested in culture and ethnicity. Especially every autumn students from art schools come here for their study tours. 

by Le Thi My Hao


 
Mai Chau is not only one of the famous destinations for trekking in the northwest Vietnam, it is also an ideal place for a relaxing weekend break or family trip.
 

Mai Chau is 145 km from Hanoi so it can take you up to 4 hours to get their by bus or motorbike. Some backpackers now go on a round-trip from Hanoi to Mai Chau then to Pu Luong and return to Hanoi:
 
Mai Chau Map from Hanoi

By bus

You can take a bus to Mai Chau in My Dinh bus station in Hanoi. Bus to Mai Chau leaves My Dinh bus station at 06:00, 07:00, 14:00 and 14:30. The bus ticket usually costs 80,000 VND 
There's also another bus station in Ha Dong district Hanoi called Yen Nghia bus station. From there it takes just 3 hours becase Yen Nghia bus station is quite far from Hanoi city center. Since Yen Nghia bus station is 16 km from Hanoi center, taking a motortaxi to Yen Nghia bus station may take 50 minutes and costs 60,000 VND.
 
My Dinh bus station - Mai Chau Yen Nghia bus station - Mai Chau (direct) Yen Nghia bus station - Hoa Binh center Hoa Binh center - Mai Chau
4 hours
145 km
From 80,000 VND
3 hours
128 km
From 150,000 VND
2 hours
95 km
From 100,000 VND
1 hour 30 minutes
From 20,000 VND

Alternatively buses to Hoa Binh leave Hanoi every 15 minutes between 06:00 and 18:00 (from 50,000 VND) and from Hoa Binh bus station there are regular buses to Mai Chau. The bus might drop off down the road from the bus station but if you make it clear that you're heading to Mai Chau they'll kick you off at the right place and point you in the correct direction. From Mai Chau town it's a 2-3km walk or 20,000 VND on motorbike taxi to the villages. 

Another option is to take any bus leaving for Son La or Dien Bien Phu which will pass by and drop off at the Tong Dau junction about 5 km from town (the road sign for Mai Chau town centre reads 'Pho Vang'). From there, a motorbike taxi will be about 50,000 VND, or more, and since you're essentially stranded, bargaining won't get you far. 

Be warned that some people have found it tricky to obtain a ticket from the desk at My Dinh and while it's possible to buy a ticket on the bus be prepared to overpay.

Direct buses back to Hanoi depart from the bus station in town -- although no timetable is available they seemed quite regular. Ask at your guesthouse though, as some will be willing to get the bus to pick you up. On our last visit we were informed that buses went back to Hanoi directly from Bac Village at 11:15, 13:00 and 15:00 but this could change regularly so don't rely on it. 

If you have no joy at the bus station, head to the Tong Dau Junction and wait for a minibus to come along. Passengers tend to wait in front of Com Pho Tuan Anh just past the Petrolimex station on the road to Moc Chau. There will be something coming along each way every half hour or so during daylight hours.

For both buses from the bus station and Tong Dau be prepared to pay 100,000 VND to get to either Hanoi or Son La -- you might have some bargaining power if you pick the bus up at the bus station but that depends on how long you're willing to wait for the next bus.

Other

If you’re keen on travelling by motorbike, the drive from Hanoi to Mai Chau has some stunning stretches, cruising through villages and along mountain roads with views over the surrounding paddy fields and limestone karst scenery, The final stretch, coming into Mai Chau, is particularly jaw-dropping. However, on the more negative side, be warned that before getting to these more pleasant areas you’ll have to endure busy, noisy, dusty and potentially lethal highways. 

By the most direct route, Mai Chau is 139km from Hanoi, and 66km from Hoa Binh city, but despite the relatively short distances the drive from Hanoi to Mai Chau can take around 5 hours -- allowing for stops and a steady driving pace -- although it’s doable in less.

Getting around

If you’re staying in Mai Chau town or one of the villages you can easily get around on foot. But if you want to travel further afield it’s easy to rent a bike in the villages for 20,000VND per hour -- negotiable for longer rental periods.

Mai Chau taxi company can be contacted on T: (0218) 386 8788 if you need to get back to the main road and can’t find a motorbike taxi.

Bus information.
Xe khách Hà Loan: xe Huyndai County 24 chỗ, xe sạch sẽ và đi khá nhanh và nhiều chuyến, mình hay đi xe này.

- Giờ xuất bến tại Mỹ Đình:

07h50 - tới Mai Châu: 11h30.
14h00 - tới Mai Châu: 15h30.
- Giờ xuất bến tại Mai Châu:
08h00 - về Hà Nội: 11h30.
13h30 - về Hà Nội: 17h00.
- Số điện thoại liên hệ: 098 271 2418/ 091 2490 679
- Giá vé: 80.000đ - 100.000đ


Xe khách Cường Còi: tương tự xe Hà Loan nhưng ít chuyến hơn

- Giờ xuất bến Mỹ Đình: 06h30
- Giờ xuất bến Mai Châu: 11h30
- Điện thoại đặt vé : 091 279 6896
- Giá vé: 80.000đ - 100.000đ

Xe khách K Linh:

- Xuất bến Mai Châu: 06h50
- Xuất bến Mỹ Đình: 13h30
- SĐT đặt vé : 098 7851 858
- Giá vé: 80.000đ - 100.000đ

Xe khách Tuấn Dũng: 

- Giờ xuất bến tại Mai Châu: 07h50
- Giờ xuất bến tại Mỹ Đình: 14h00
- Liên hệ : 096 280 0074
- Lịch trình nhà xe Tuấn Dũng:
=> Mai Châu 8h – Phú Cường 8h20 – Chợ Lồ 8h35 – Ngã ba Mãn Đức 8h50 – Bến xe Hòa Bình 9h25 – Mỹ Đình 11h40

=> Mỹ Đình 14h – Bến Hà Đông cũ 14h20 – Bến Yên Nghĩa 14h30 – Xuân Mai 15h15 – Lương Sơn 15h30 – Bến xe Hòa Bình 16h20 – Chăm Mát 16h30 – Mai Châu 17h50

Xe khách Hoàng Thao

- Khởi hành từ Mai Châu: 8h30
- Khởi hành từ Mỹ Đình : 14h30
- Điện thoại liên hệ : 0914 688 533
Lịch trình xe chạy : Tương tự nhà xe Tuấn Dũng

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