Upon arrival in Ha Noi, I headed for My Dinh Coach Station to catch a Ha Loan transport company bus which leaves for Mai Chau at 8 a.m. every morning. After paying the bus fare of VND80,000 (US$3.55), I started the journey to get away from bustling city life.
Around two hours into the bus trip, mountains and forests on one side and steep cliffs on the other side loomed. The coach negotiated snaking passes and hills before reaching the famous Thung Khe Pass. From my seat, I could see a U-shape pass and faraway villages.
After four hours on the coach, I got to Mai Chau District. I booked a room at Mai Chau Valley View in Mai Chau Town where I could see mountains, paddy fields and villages.
For a sightseeing tour, I hired a bicycle for VND60,000 at the hotel, whose staff members are mostly from the Thai ethnic group.
I started going around the district by cycling to Pom Coong Village first. The village was so peaceful. Afternoon sunshine on the paddy fields, cool breeze in the air, farmers on the fields and buffalos on the meadow.
The next day, I cycled to Lac Village, which is home to a variety of stores selling items made by Thai women. Inside the village, life is tranquil with Thai women embroidering cloth and children laughing together along the path next to the paddy fields.