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“Wonderful piece of nature” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mai Chau Nature Place

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Mai Chau Nature Place
Certificate of Excellence
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Wonderful piece of nature”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 16, 2013

Wonderful time in Mai Chau and in the bungalows. The ride in mini buses from Hanoi is quite ruff but what a delightful surprise. A completely closed rice-field valley with great tracks for motorbikes. You will be able and need to rent some for about 4-5 USD a day and would definitely recommend doing so. Don't worry about traffic jams, or the hurry of Hanoi, Mai Chau is a small town. Simply be careful whilst driving on the main street, trucks tend to speed up. Also, drive up to a bar/viewpoint on the side of the main road going into the valley. I would finally recommend the half day tour in the natural reserve.
It was worth staying two nights and not only one like most trips advised.

Room Tip: Ask for a bungalow facing the river.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Nathan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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187 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Brockham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 12, 2013

Mai Chau was recommended by our hotel in Hanoi (the Art Trendy Hotel -fab hotel). We opted for the package as we were changing our plans literally by the minute, but you can book direct and pay for the extras as you go.
In a nutshell, we had a great time here. It is a stunning spot and well worth the trip. People we've met recommended it over Sapa as it is beautiful but as yet relatively unspoilt.
Reality check: it's at best a 4 hour bus trip from Hanoi - DO NOT do this as a day trip as you will miss so much. We did the three day / two nights stay and I'm I'm so glad we did stuff we would have missed on the one or two day trips. I'll come to that in a minute.
Mai Chau Nature Place is basic but great if you like a little bit of adventure. We stayed in one of the creaky bungalows which we really enjoyed. The bathrooms (as other reviews have mentioned) leave a lot to be desired - we left it until late to shower one evening and the water had run out and the communal showers are basic to say the least. Enough negatives - the staff are friendly and generally helpful and the bed linen is clean. The food is great - served communally and we met some great people here. It's not 5 star but it's great fun.
Day one in the afternoon we were taken on a bike tour round the area which was terrific. The bikes are rickety but who cares? What a fab way to spend an afternoon... In the evening there was a display by local dancers - a bit touristy but really quite sweet as they are all locals.
Day two - awesome! You'd actually miss this on the one or two day stays as it's a full day motorcycle/ scooter trip to Phu Long Nature reserve which you won't even find in Lonely Planet. Our guide was called Ka who came from the area, had studied IT at Uni in Vietnam and spoke excellent English. Be warned, you have to be up for this as it involves travelling via paths through local villages, crossing small suspension bridges designed for cattle and travelling up into the hills on a day long trip. Highlights include lunch with local Thai Hill Tribe people in Phu Long (terraced rice fields), a short trek up the river valley and a visit to a chopstick factory. This day was the highlight of our trip - at one village we passed through, everyone was going to a local wedding - as we stopped to look, we were even invited in!
Day three our local guide May took us to the 1,000 steps leading to the 'tree of wisdom' and thecave at the to of the mountain. The climb is not for the faint hearted, but worth it. Then a visit on foot to the local market and local smaller villages before our return to the 'Nature Place' for lunch and the bus back to Hanoi where we arrived completely wasted at around 6.30pm.
OK - finally, I've read about the 'raves' - basically it's loud music in the evenings which seems to come from the local football pitch. It's actually totally and strangely out of character with the place itself but when it happens it doesn't seem to go on late and we were so knackered by the end of each day it didn't bother us. What came as shock on the first day though is all the local cockrels crowing at 5am in the morning - they're all free range and start piping up at an ungodly hour so be warned - but remember, this is rural Vietnam and about as real as it gets!
If you're looking for five star luxury, forget it, but if you want a real experience, a bit of adventure and an to discover an absolutely beautiful spot, this is it!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ipswich, Australia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2013

As soon as we arrived here we knew we would enjoy our three nights here. The bungalows are basic and creaky, but we weren't expecting to live in the lap of luxury for the price we paid. Bed was comfortable. Had trouble with the hot water on our first night but the problem was fixed immediately. Meals were tasty and plentiful. The pushbikes were fun and I loved my little pink helmet. A hike up to a place called the 1000 steps cave (but who's counting) and a walk through the local markets was another highlight. We followed this with a one hour massage at the local village. The second night we heard of a motorbike tour with Dan through the countryside around Mai Chau. He asked if we would like to stay the night in Pu Luong at a homestay. We jumped at the chance and had a memorable day and overnight stay. After leaving Mai Chau we realized we had left a small bag. A phone call was all it took - it was put on the next tourist bus back to our hotel in Hanoi. Couldn't ask for better service than that.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank W0uldbetraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Launceston
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 13, 2013

As an experience I would rate this 5 stars, but I would be concerned about misleading anyone about the accommodation. The bungalows are extremely basic, but I loved them, and the bathrooms could certainly be better but we coped! We had 2 neighbouring bungalows, one for our 2 boys (12 & 14) and one for us. We only had 2 nights there and it really wasn't enough - the food was great, the staff were gorgeous and the bikes that you can borrow, provided lots of fun. We would return from an afternoon bike ride, have drinks on our deck overlooking the river and then have dinner in the informal, open air dining area. Mai Chau is a beautiful area and well worth visiting and we would highly recommend Nature Place for the complete experience it offers.
We loved Vietnam and although this was by far the most basic accommodation we had in our 16 nights there we all agree it was one of the most special parts of our trip.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mamurchis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
34 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 9, 2013

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.

Room Tip: River front views are probably worth the extra cost.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank michty6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
themoon0304, Owner at Mai Chau Nature Place, responded to this review, September 26, 2013
Dear Michty6 !

My name is Manh, a youngest brother of Mai Chau Nature Place family !
Firstly i would like to say thank you very much for visitting Mai Chau and satying in our Family !
We also really sorry about the " Problem " with the motor taxi drivers. I can sure that there was no any Rip-off like you though. This happened everywhere in Vietnam specialy in our village Whenever the drivers take guest to the homestay they always ask the family to give them some money. Because they though thanks to them to bring the guests to the guesthouse. So we had the same problem they always ask for money when they take the guest to our place. However in my place, we have a rule that we will not give any money to the driver cause we know all the guests who come to our place they knew us and they asked the driver take them to our place. So that is what's we spoke to the driver that you had reservation with us already and we never give money for that. We always welcome guests as a part of our big family that is all the thing you can feel it when you stayed with us ?

" A tip wherever you are, please call us (84.9)4688.8804 we will help you to find us or pick you up for free if you are small group nearby or can arrange a good taxi for you.

About the price: Our " River View Bungalow" is from 30 - 45$/room/night depend on the season. This is including breafast, bicycles, tax, Village entrance fee and the perfomance. That's not expensive cause even if you stayed in a hotel in the Town for 100$ you still dont get chance to enjoy the perfomance daily like we do.

About the name River Side. We named our place by the name of the river there. We know that after hundred years the river is getting smaller than it was how ever it's still a river and we can not change its name. And if you came in a rainning day you will see the river got bigger cause we are in the mountain the water comes fast and go fast. Pass 10 years ago we used to have flood in the river so that is reason why we had the still house.

Finally we would like to send you a big apologize to you. We hope this email help you to understand us and forgive for the misunderstood. Our biggest problem is only me can speak english so whenever i am not home my family can easy make a misunderstanding by their little english how ever they are friendliest people.

So thank you for readding this and we hope to welcome you in Mai Chau in another time

Wish best wishes to you !

Best regards !

Do Manh
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scotland
Level Contributor
65 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2013

We had a mixed time at Mai Chau nature place.
The bungalow was lovely, clean and spacious. The decking was worm through though and we nearly fell through several times.
The beds were comfy. The shower was terrible, we ended up using the one in the toilet which was consistently cold but at least sometimes more than a trickle.
There were power cuts virtually the entire time we were there which is to be expected in somewhere so rustic.
What ruined the experience for us was the loud rave music coming from the football pitch next door on Saturday and Sunday night. We spoke to a guide and he said it happens every weekend.
The staff were amazing, so helpful and friendly although no one speaks English so try to hijack a guide if you're not part of a tour. The food was delicious! Huge quantities and variety and cheap beer.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank nixpix26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 6, 2013 via mobile

Originally we were planning to go to Sapa, but the nine hour train ride did not fit into our limited time in Vietnam. Our hotel in Hanoi suggested a trip to Mai Chau as an alternative. We splurged for a private tour (not that much more expensive) since Mai Chau seemed too difficult to navigate solo and we aren't too keen on traveling with large groups. Our guide, Trung, was a perfect match for us. He was knowledgeable about the area and gave us a lot of flexibility with our schedule and activities. We filled our three days with biking, riding scooters, and trekking. The riverside bungalows have a lovely view of the mountains and rice paddies. The food was fairly bland for our taste, but they accommodated us with always serving a side of chili sauce.

Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Kerri K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mai Chau Nature Place

Property: Mai Chau Nature Place
Address: 38 Lac 2 Village | Na Phon, Mai Chau 0218, Vietnam
Location: Vietnam > Hoa Binh Province > Mai Chau
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 22 Specialty Lodging in Mai Chau
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in Ban Lac Village, an ethnic Thai villageConsists of 4 standard River view bungalows and 4 standard garden bungalows. All are inspired by a traditional ethnic Thai stilt-house, built in 1966. The eco-friendly bungalows are on 2000 square meters of land with vegetable gardens, a fish pond and a living museum showcasing the traditional local daily life.At Mai Chau Nature Place- Riverside Bungalows, guests are welcomed and served as members of the family. Guests will live in the same way that people lived centuries ago. Communal life helps guest better understand the local customs from the past and help preserve the Thai traditions.The bungalows were built with local materials that are very friendly to the environment, such as wood, bamboo and palm leaves. Each bungalow has been designed for simplicity but also for coziness and has a spacious private balcony for relaxing or sipping tea, which is prepared for you. From here you can also enjoy the peaceful scenic countryside, green fields, gentle streams and animals grazing. Mai Chau Riverside Bungalows is the perfect place for escaping noisy, dirty, busy city life. ... more   less 
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