The Mai Chau Ecolodge belongs to the Asia Ecolodges hotel chain in Vietnam. The ecologically-themed hotel differs from traditional hotels by reducing carbon footprint and preserving the traditions of the local communities. Connection to nature, responsible tourism, environmental conservation and cultural development are the four principles of the Mai Chau Ecolodge.
In this hotel review, we share our experiences of the sustainable and luxury Mai Chau Ecolodge in Northern Vietnam.
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The story behind our stay in the Mai Chau Ecolodge
It all started in Moc Chau, when we decided to spend a few more days in the beautiful region in northwest Vietnam. The weather was sunny and warm, the locals were friendly and we felt like we have to enjoy the good vibes of the Tet Holidays (the Chinese New Year). So we decided to look for something special to celebrate the Asian festival and came across the Mai Chau Ecolodge.
How to get to the Mai Chau Ecolodge?
We came from Moc Chau by bus. Normally the buses go between Hanoi and Son La and pass the towns of Moc Chau and Mai Chau. The trip cost us 100.000 VND per person and we needed about two hours from Moc Chau to Mai Chau.
The bus stop was located at an intersection 6km from the center of Mai Chau. As we missed the local bus we hitch-hiked for the first time on our journey through Southeast Asia (a taxi was too expensive for us).
Usually, tourists will come from Hanoi. From there you don’t even have to take the local bus because the Ecolodge offers a free pick-up. The hotel is located three driving hours from the capital of Vietnam.
Check-in experience at the Mai Chau Ecolodge
After a 20 minute walk, we arrived at the gate where the security welcomed us and took our luggage. At the reception, we got our welcome drinks and fresh cold towels (they might have noticed our sweat drowned t-shirts…).
We were so ready for a nice recovery day!
The rooms at the Mai Chau Ecolodge
The room was fantastic, probably the best we had on our journey so far. Much space, comfortable beds, a huge outdoor shower (it was even bigger than our former student rooms).
From our balcony, we had a stunning view over the rice fields. Moreover, the lodge has a pool area, a restaurant, a panorama bar and offers activities like hiking, cycling, traditional dance, cooking class and massage and more.
After a private info-meeting about the Tet Holidays, we enjoyed the afternoon at the pool area.
For sunset, we used the free bicycles (with terrible noisy brakes and almost flat tires). We cruised around the rice fields and ended up in the living room of local people celebrating Tet, eating traditional food (we skipped the part with meat and fish) and drinking rice wine out of 5-liter plastic cans.
Back at the lodge, we enjoyed a traditional dance show with a cool beer in our hands. For the last song, we made a fool of ourselves by joining the local dancers on stage, but at least we had lots of fun.
The sustainable aspect of the Mai Chau Ecolodge
Closeness to nature
To meet the sustainable aspect the Mai Chau Ecolodge used local resources and material for the bungalows including wood and stone.
For example, the courtyard, the toilets, the sinks and the garden wall are made from stones from local mountains. The roofs, the ceilings and the bathtub are made of different local woods (we enjoyed our first bath for four months – it felt so good!).
The lodge prefers to use renewable energy, however when there is a need it also uses the national electricity grid. For the wastewater, the lodge implemented two filter systems (organic and inorganic) before the water flows back into nature. The fuel for cooking is halfway biomass (we couldn’t find out the other sources of fuel).
In every room, there are reusable glass bottles (instead of plastic bottles) for water and paper straws! To our delight!
The architecture of the buildings is based on the stilt houses of ethnic Thai culture. This ensures the durability of the building materials. The interior decoration and the clothing of the employees are also inspired by Thai motives.
The responsible tourism is declared in four-points at the ecolodge. Creating jobs for local people, support local culture conservation, a charity in the form of a donation to overcome poverty and environmental protection. It is too bad we could not witness one of the “Clean-up Days” at Mai Chau.
Special: The Tet Holidays
We thought the Tet-Holidays might interest you as well as it is the most important festival for many people in Asia in the year.
We were invited to an information event to learn about the Chinese New Year. The following is what stuck with us: Although the Asians have adopted the Christian calendar, they celebrate Tet holidays every year to keep their tradition alive. Everyone takes time out and spends time with their families. The rice cake is a traditional meal during this time. The event lasts about a week and the date depends on the moon. This year it was February 5th.
We really enjoyed staying at the Mai Chau Ecolodge and we are also convinced of the sustainable concept as well as the sustainable practices. The hotel is doing a great job in terms of hospitality, service and quality.
In case you consider a stay at the Mai Chai Ecolodge as well, here is the link: The Mai Chau Ecolodge
If you still have questions about Mai Chau or the eco-lodge, please don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below, we will do our best to answer it.
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