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Hoa Binh - Mai Chau

Mai Chau is located in Hoa Binh province, about 135km (83 miles) from Hanoi and 60km (37 miles) from Hoa Binh. Mai Chau is well known for its natural beauty. The valley is home to many ethnic minorities, including the white Thai. From the top of Cun Mountain, the panorama of the lush green valley with its stilt houses is laid out before you.

Everywhere, the stilt houses border both sides of the roads. The houses are quite large with palm leaf roofs and 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' takes place in the kitchen. This material is used by the Thai minority to make their clothes. The windows are large and decorated with patterns. Each house also has a pond to breed fish. Bicycles especially kids bikes can roam around this area without worrying about cars and pollution.

The Sunday market brings a lot of people into town. It is full of local products and a mass of color, sights and sounds. People from different minorities living in the nearby mountains come to Mai Chau market to sell their specific products: honey, bananas, corn, and 'tho cam' made by skilled Thai women. As important as the commercial aspect of the Sunday market, it is also a social occasion for people whose remote mountain homes isolate them for the remainder of the week.

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