Journey back to the Primitive Forest

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One of the nicest trekking routes in my trips are in Xam Khoe and NaBai forest. Coming back nature, you seem to be sunk in quiet and peaceful ambience with different sounds of birds, cicadas and crickets etc…Moreover, you will meet and talk to the friendly and honest ethnic people who live and work there, it really makes you feel pleasure and forget about the stressful life.

1, Xam Khoe:

“Xam” means three; “khoe” means creek or small stream in the Thai language, so Xam Khoe is the place where three small streams merge into ones flowing to Ma River.


Xam Khoe not only has a nice stream but also it owns a poetic primitive forest. Besides, it is located about 18km from Mai Chau town so it has drawn many foreign and domestic trekkers coming to explore and experience. Normally, if you stay in Poom Coom or Lac village, your driver will take you to Xam Khoe and then you will do a long trek back to your home-stay village on the 18km distance crossing through a primitive jungle. On the way you do trekking, you should bring a picnic lunch and some cold drinks because there is no local restaurant en route. In addition, it will be much better if you prepare some candy bags and other snacks for delivering to local children while you want to take a photo and have a small talk with their parents. In general, with the normal climatic condition and a regular speed, it will take you about 7 hours (including lunch time) for trekking in Xam Khoe-MaiChau route.

I would like to share some pictures in lieu of telling a long story about Xam Khoe

Here is the earth trail leading you to the primitive jungle, some parts are uphill and downhill but have a fantastic view!!!

The old Thai lady- she is 70 years old but everyday she walks through forest to gather different kinds of herbs for treating the locals in her village

Thai ethnic house is unlike other stilts-houses in Mai Chau. The owner has planted some fruit trees around his house to take shadow for cooling house in hot and muggy days.

Some low hills in front of the jungle

Some Thai ethnic stilts-houses and a small school on road side

The stilts-house was built byRadfordCollege(Australian college inCanberracapital) in 2010. Thanks for the Owner-Mr Binh inNàMovillage; we had an ideal place for picnic lunch

A nice picnic lunch was prepared by Mrs.Vuong- our local guide

Mr Binh’s daughters were watching the game show on Tivi

2, Na Bai

Na Bai Forest is situated on the way from MaiChau to Xalinh, this is the primitive forest protected by the authorities of Hoa Binh and Son La provinces. Coming here, you will go through the primitive jungle and see many big trees remain for a hundred years. Especially, the forest is home of Muong ethnic minority who immigrated to the area for over 100 years ago. Following the small road that leads you crossing through the jungle and after 45 minutes hiking, you will see a hundreds of roof houses appearing in a vast and grassy plain- that is Nabai village-the home of Muong ethnic people. They mainly live on growing rice, corn and feeding some animals like ducks, chickens, cows and buffaloes. The relationships of people in the village are close-knit and mutual affection. When anyone in the village intends to build a new house or restore house, the others will come to help and support materials. Strolling in Na Bai village, you will feel the area like your second home because the locals always show their hospitality by inviting you come to their house for drinking teas or rice wines and eager to answer your questions about their custom as well as cultural identity.

About one year ago, there was a small road built to connect the high way No6 to Nabai village. The road’s length is about 3km and takes you 45 minutes to go to the village on foot.

Everyday, Muong ethnic boys have a hard work to complete the road construction at the end of year 2012

After 45 minutes hiking in the jungle, you will see Nabai village appearing in a vast plain

Now in the early dry season, the locals take the advantage of good weather to build new houses.

The kind neighbors are eager to help the owner restoring his house without payment. Meanwhile, other ladies were preparing for an enormous lunch on the 1st floor.

Mrs. Sally delivered some candies for ethnic children

In front ofNabaiSchool, there is a big courtyard where many important events are held such as: festival, football exhibition, wedding ceremony etc…

Mrs. Lin – Muong ethnic woman was making teas to host guests

Inside her house, there were many rice bags harvested few days ago and waiting for sunny day to dry

Her husband-Mr. Thinh saw guests off at the front door. Both Sally and Peter highly impressed by their hospitality

“By Dang Vu

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