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Destination info


Hoa Binh

Hoa Binh (meaning peace in English) is the provincial capital of the province of the same name located 75km northwest of Hanoi. Hoa Binh town is about five km from Southeast Asia's biggest hydroelectric construction on the Song Da (Black River) valley. The region with its scenic valleys is home to many ethnic minority hill-tribes, including the H'mong, Dao, Thai and Muong. Life in the remote valleys of Mai Chau remains much the same as it has done for centuries.

Places of interest

Mai Chau Valley
Mai Chau is approximately 140km from Hanoi and 60km from Hoa Binh. Mai Chau’s main attraction, aside from its picturesque landscape is its inhabitants, namely the Thai and H’Mong who live in traditional hamlets and villages along the valley floor.

The majority of houses are made of wood and bamboo and supported on wooden stilts. These houses are often quite large with palm leaf roofs and polished bamboo-slat floors. The kitchen is located in the center of the house; the cooking as well as the making of the colorful "tho cam", the material used by Thai minority to make their clothes takes place in the kitchen. The H’Mong on the other hand lives in wooden longhouses.

These remote villages are accessible only on foot and there are some very rewarding hikes through the valleys. Overnight stays in several of the Thai and H’Mong communities is possible and indeed highly recommended, although it should be pointed out that the accommodation is somewhat basic.

The Sunday market in Mai Chau brings a lot of people into town. People from different minorities living in the mountains come to sell their produce and exchange goods such as honey, bananas, corn, and "tho cam". The Sunday market is also an occasion to enjoy traditional Thai dishes and to participate in traditional dances.

Kim Boi Hot Spring
A 30 km drive from Hoa Binh leads to a rest house and mineral springs named Kim Boi. Visitors sitting inside the house can hear the springs, which flow at a constant 36 degree Celsius. Scientific tests have shown that the waters at Kim Boi are suitable to drink, bathe, and use in the treatment of a variety of ailments. The mineral water is also bottled for drinking.

Da River - Hoa Binh Hydroelectricity
The Construction of Hoa Binh Hydroelectricity Plant Project on Da River began in 1979 and took 15 years to complete. Nowadays, tourists can enjoy a boat cruise on the Da River to observe the daily activities of local ethnic people such as Thai, Muong, Tay, Mong and Dao.