Our usual budget in Vietnam was $15-25 a night but we 'splashed out' [;)] and paid ~$40 a night for a river front view in this place. Was it worth it? Probably not. If I was to go back I'd do a 'proper' home-stay in one of the Guest Houses in one of the villages (there aren't many on TA but there are LOTS in the villages).
We arrived by motor-bike-taxi from the bus stop at Tong Dau and the guy said something to the drivers in Vietnamese which led to them charging us a ridiculous rip-off price. I think they thought we were new to Vietnam (we weren't and had been travelling the less traveled road) so they could get away with it. This made us basically paranoid about getting further ripped off and completely ruined our stay here.
Obviously to some travelers value for money and prices are not an issue in Vietnam. To us they are and I absolutely despise being ripped off anywhere in the world - it is just not how you do business.
The only reason I am giving them 2 stars is that the place was quite nice and the staff were friendly enough to make up for this a little. Our room was nice, although the mosquito nets had holes in them (the rooms are open at the top so a mosquito net is absolutely necessary). The view wasn't so much about the 'river' ('stream' would be more accurate) but the hills - which were beautiful. The room was clean enough. The water wasn't hot, luke warm would be more accurate. The food was excellent but a tad on the expensive side (when we arrived it was quite late and they brought us dinner without us asking and we'd already had dinner. But we felt bad so tried to each as much as we could - of course we were charged for this). They had some local tribes perform some dances which was really cool. We were also able to arrange our onwards transport back to Hanoi with them which was really good.
If they hadn't ripped us off I'd give them 4/5. Probably still value for money is what stops them being 5/5 and on this front I think a proper home stay with a local family is a much better way of visiting Mai Chau than splashing out on these resort-type places.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mai Chau Nature Lodge -Introduction Welcome to Mai Chau Nature Lodge. We are a homestay that offers a wide range of options for your travel needs. Opened in 2010 known as Mai Chau Nature Place, this is an upgrade accommodation nearby neighbor Na Phon village that is still operate by the same owner - Manh Do. A local Vietnamese person with many years of working in Vietnam’s tourism industry and helping the local coummunity in developing and protecting their cultures and customs. This lovely homestay is located in a rural Thai village with fabulous view of the rice paddies, villages, and mountains. It is only a kilometer away from the main tourism- Lac Village, so you can easily walk or take a cycle to the village for your shopping desires yet far enough to enjoy the peace and quiet nature of the valley without the noise of the horn or loudspeakers of the tourists. In Feburary 2012 Mai Chau Nature Place has been recommended as “The Best place to stay in North West Vietnam” on Lonely Planet Guide book so our upgrade location is even better after guests’ feedbacks and improving our services. 2014 Mai Chau Nature Lodge has been recommended again in the newest Lonely Planet Guide book as top 3 best places to stay in the Northern Vietnam. Mai Chau Nature Lodge warmly welcomes you with 3 private wooden Bungalows with ensuite bathroom, aircondition, and high class beding and linen. The Bungalows are decorected as Vietnamese architecture with a private porch and little yard to make you feel like home during your travel. 2 new luxury modern Rooms in the villa is an idea to give you the most comfortable stay. A large Thai stilt house for the communal dorm with curtains covers around the bed, reading lamp, and a fan for all for your very own privacy. Our goal and aim is to stay true to our Mai Chau roots to provide you with an authentic experience by sleeping in the communal room, eat meals as a group, and treat everyone like family. ... more less
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