Stray New Zealander Keys continues to make us all jealous as she travels on Stray’s very first Vietnam journey…
As we headed to Mai Chau, we have been aware about a wide ranging sundown which highlighted the great thing about the encompassing valleys. We descended from a mountain move right into a valley with quite a few rice paddies and a smattering of villages so far as the attention may see.
Driving into the city, there have been inviting indicators similar to racks of bikes for rent, longhouses beckoning us to remain, and rustic retailers with distinctive gadgets on the market. What I imply by “distinctive” is that every store appeared to specialize in one thing barely completely different, and this meant one felt compelled to go to all of the retailers within the city.
We pulled as much as a longhouse that Richard (our Tour Chief) was already acquainted with, and the household welcomed us in. Richard and Grasp (our native information) quickly sorted our lodging and we peeled off to drop our gear in our respective rooms. Not like the primary guesthouse, we have been supplied smaller rooms because the proprietor stated we’d be hotter this fashion. On this case, the household stayed within the central (lengthy) room and we had rooms close to the primary constructing.
After settling in, we gathered downstairs across the communal eating desk and had a celebratory drink after what had already been an excellent day on the primate centre within the nationwide park and a scenic drive throughout nation (see final weblog publish!).
The solar had set and the temperature began to drop. By now, we have been lower than 150km from Hanoi and the climate had modified markedly since we left Hoi An, the place I recalled final carrying shorts. Northern Vietnam does expertise the 4 seasons and as luck would have it, we have been visiting at one of many coldest occasions of the yr. We wrapped up as a lot as doable and loved some pleasant banter whereas our hosts cooked us dinner.
Steaming plates of spring rolls, Vietnamese stir-fry and different tasty treats have been positioned in entrance of us and there was such an abundance, we couldn’t end all of it. After dinner we resumed plan A and our hosts introduced out a container with a lot of iced drinks in it so we may assist ourselves all through the evening. I introduced my laptop computer out so as to add some music to the event. By now, we have been thick as thieves having travelled along with Stray for over ten days, so it was no downside to snort, dance, sing and joke collectively late into the evening. Ultimately the chilly despatched us to mattress, however not earlier than some locals walked in and supplied so as to add a karaoke element to the occasion.
The following day we have been reluctant to depart our heat beds. We may see our breath within the air however regardless of the chilly I pressured myself to rise up for some early morning snaps of village life.
The locals definitely weren’t worrying in regards to the temperature and there was work to be finished. I noticed some women sawing bamboo up into 5 cm lengths. Grasp defined these could be used for carrying sticky rice to work. I liked these biodegradable lunchboxes.
The sellers put their wares on show however weren’t pushy with their enterprise, leaving us to browse at leisure the intensive number of trinkets and memorabilia. The morning mist slowly lifted revealing the mountain vary within the distance. A heat bowl of pho bo was greater than welcome and as soon as a lot of the group have been up we went for an exploratory bike journey by means of the village and surrounding space.
The observe was not precisely even and fairly fraught with obstacles together with rocks, cows, chickens, native villagers carrying giant masses on their backs and different cyclists. We laughed on the chaos of all of it and marvelled on the identical time at what a peaceable vibe there was in Mai Chau.
After hanging out with some cows, we then headed to a bamboo stand for an impromptu picture session. This was significantly amusing as we wished to take a photograph of all of the bikers on a bamboo bridge however the one who needed to set the timer and sprint into the picture was often too far-off to make it.
It was a fantastic location all the identical and a becoming finish to our final homestay. After mooching about on the bikes for just a few hours we headed again to our longhouse, stated farewell to our hosts and piled into the van for the final drive of the journey: into the capital Hanoi.
Keys travels on Stray’s Dong Cross, exploring Vietnam on and off the crushed observe.
The publish My Vietnam Expertise: Mai Chau appeared first on Stray Asia – Southeast Asia Journey Journey.