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Mai Chau valley fills with smoke and delicious flavors
By Thanh Nien News -

Smoke billows above Mai Chau in Hoa Binh Province, around 130 kilometers from Hanoi. Visitors can take a bus from My Dinh terminal in Hanoi or drive their own motorbike, or even bicycle, along National Highway 6. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

Mai Chau in the early morning light as seen from Thung Khe, yawning pass between high mountains that connects the beautiful valley to the rest of the world. The valley is five kilometers to the left at the end of the pass.

A tourist takes a tour on a rented bicycle across Mai Chau.

Buffaloes graze along flooded fields.

A man plows his paddy field for the next crop.

 Boys chase each other on bicycles as a woman drys rice on the road.

A stilt house built by the local Thai ethnic group

A Thai woman stretches cocoons into yarns to make silk.

 

Mai Chau valley in northern Vietnam has been popular with tourists for a long time as the enchanting, unforgettable and ten freshest destinations in Asia, according to the leading hotel booking site Agoda.
All those attributes get magnified when the valley enters harvest season during June and July.
The roads fill with tarps loaded with golden drying rice and the air hangs heavy with fragrant smoke as people burn rice stalks to create ash fertilizer.
This year has been a bumper crop for the local members of the Thai ethnic group, although they never weigh their harvests.
Mac Thi Pinh, 56, told Tuoi Tre newspaper: “We only fill rice sacks. This year my family made 36 bags, enough to for us to feed us with a little left over for sale.”
As part of the home stay service, visitors to the valley this season can join in burning the fields and refreshing the soil for new crops.
Visitors to Mai Chau can stay with local families in stilt houses and share their meals, or at Mai Chau Lodge resort which provides convenient luxury services.
The typical meal in the valley “com lam,” combines northern mountainous rice cooked with salt in bamboo tubes and chicken, pork or fish that has been steamed with the green dong leaf (Phrynium placentarium).
Diners usually eat it with boiled slices of chayote squash dunked in a sesame salt mix.

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