Hoa Binh is not listed among the top 10 Vietnam travel destinations, but this northwest province of Vietnam has long been destination for both domestic and foreign tourists to visit. Just around 70km from Hanoi, Hoa Binh is home to 5 different ethnic groups like The Muong, Thai, Tay, H'Mong, and Dao who live in picturesque villages such as Giang Mo, Ban Lac, Pom Coong village, Mai Hich, Hang Kia of Mai Chau district. The unique culture of the local people and beautiful valley of rice paddies, green mountains are attractions of Hoa Binh and should be included to experience in any tour package in Vietnam.
How to get to Hoa Binh
By road: It will take around 2 hours by bus to Hoa Binh, but there is not much to see in the town except for the Hoa Binh hydropower plant. Tourists can reach the top of the dam to get a wonderful view of the city and Hoa Binh lake.
Best time to visit
There is no good or bad time to visit Hoa Binh, tourists mainly visit Mai Chau valley of Hoa Binh province at weekend to escape away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
Things to see and do in Hoa Binh
Giang Mo village: A peaceful village of the Muong ethnic minority where people build houses on stilts. The village is around 10km from Hoa Binh city and it is possible to get there by bus. Walking tour around the visit can get peace of mind. Tourists can also learn more about the Muong's life and culture when invited to visit one of the families. If you have time, we advise you to experience an overnight stay in the village in a local family.
Hoa Binh lake: This lake created by the Dam of Hoa Binh hydropower plant and considered as "Halong bay on the mountains" with thousands of islets and blue water all year around. A boat trip is a great way to enjoy cool and fresh air here. A good thing is that there are not many tourists visiting Hoa Binh lake so it is quiet and relaxing.
Kim Boi hot spring: Another place to visit in Hoa Binh. It is natural mineral hot spring so it is good for health and worth visiting if you come to Hoa Binh.
Mai Chau valley: 60km away from Hoa Binh and considered as the highlight of Hoa Binh tourism and spotlight of many Vietnam tour packages, Mai Chau valley is surrounded by rice paddies and beautiful mountains. The Thai ethnic people live on stilt houses and offer homestay service. Staying in Mai Chau, tourists can take a leisure walk through rice paddies, cycle around or trek to other villages. Dinner is served by the family with best local dishes, some rice wine then enjoy traditional music show performed by villagers.
If homestay is not comfortable enough, Holiday to Indochina suggests that you stay at Mai Chau lodge or Mai Chau ecolodge. These mountain resorts have private rooms, hot shower, swimming pool, restaurants and are good choice for a family travel with kids.
Mai Chau is destination of natural and cultural tourism. If you visit Hoa Binh, don't forget to visit Mai Chau.