I have been told that Vietnam is a developing country, and it is hard to see that aspect of the country when visiting one of the bigger cities. Sure, they do things a little differently than I am used to growing up in the United States, and life may be lived simply, but it is still comfortable. I thought that when I got out of the cities I would be able to see what people were talking about. Going a little over a hundred kilometers to northwest district, traveling through the windy, mountain roads, I arrived at the more rural part of the country and the town of Mai Chau.
I thought I was going to leave the comforts of big city life, and the throng of the tourists by coming out here. When I saw all of the views, I started to think that I had found some hidden gem in the country side of Vietnam where I could experience the more traditional way of living. I did find that in this valley, but I was foolish to think that I was the only person outside of Vietnam that I had found this place.
The natural beauty of the valley brings the tourists here as well. Among its farm houses and fields of rice there is a charm that makes for the perfect place to wander around, either walking or biking, with a camera, capturing the beauty to take back with you. It is not overrun like the touristy places in the cities, but there are enough visitors out here that it does not feel like you are the only person outside of southeast Asia to have visited this place in years. Still there is enough space in this valley where you can get the true feel for the place.
It is a small little village in the middle of rice fields, and I was able to get off the beaten path rather quickly to find that moment of peace. The people I did encounter who are from this little village were always welcoming with a friendly smile, and as long as I stayed to the beaten paths through the rice fields, I could wander anywhere I would like.
Though those paths were windy, I never lost my way back to my home stay. These are the perfect places to stay at when visiting the smaller communities in Vietnam. They have comfortable rooms and wonderful common spaces. They fed me both breakfast, and dinner every day, and the meals were large and varied. It was the perfect home base on my three days that I stayed here. I hope to come back some day with a larger group because it is the perfect place for that kind of vacation.