The Pu Luong limestone landscape is an area of outstanding beauty, culture interest and high biodiversity value stretching from Mai Chau in the North to West to Cuc Phuong national park in the South East. It is blessed with rich forest, limestone panoramas, magnificent rice terraces and breathtaking scenery.
Pu Luong Nature Reserve was established in 1999 is roughly 170km from Hanoi. Being a nature reserve with a total area of 17,662 ha, 3/4 of the nature reserve is primary tropical forest. This is also living place of ethnic Muong and Thai people. Pu Luong means the highest peak of the village, in Thai language.
Pu Luong Nature Reserve has become one of a great destination for a few day trips from Hanoi. A Trekking adventure tour will take you to the forest and a long rice paddy fields or cycling through the reserve and visit many beautiful small villages are among the activities travelers like and must admire spectacular terrace fields in Hang, Kho Muong, Kia villages where is considered the ideal homestay in the journey to enjoy Pu Luong jungle. This is also among a few “off the beaten path” places near Hanoi that receives recommendations from explorers recently.
Scenery is beautiful with two ranges of mountains on both sides creating a lush green valley in the middle dotted with traditional villages. The locals here are among the most friendly people in Vietnam. You can always be invited to their homes for a cup of tea on your way. The local culture is rich and authentic. Villagers are living in small villages nested in the valleys, in their traditional house on stilts. Joining on a dance after dinner is always an unforgettable experience.
Best Things to Do at Pu Luong
Cycling is one of the most authentic ways to explore the breathtaking corners of Pu Luong. Here, the energetic bikers find the steep valleys and remote tracks to bike on the scenic route. Once they cycle along the picturesque terraced rice fields, the panoramic valley, and the mountain passes, they get a sense of victory and feel close to nature. It’s possible to select the adequate biking level from easy to moderate and advanced. Besides, take it easy to cycle across some local villages in the lowland of Pu Luong! The Nature Reserve is so friendly and idyllic in the bikers’ eyes.
There are lots of scenic trekking routes for you to conquer. When you trek, just enjoy sightseeing the pure picture of nature spotlighted with the magic hill, colorful terraced rice field, and poetic hamlet with the very friendly locals. The thrill-seekers can decide to take a 5km normal hike to the nearby hamlets or the challenging hike to the summit of Pu Luong and then camp there, or the multiple-day trekking through several villages and the least-visited trails. That is what nature conquerors or trekkers love to!
Rafting lets you become a fisherman for hours and sail the bamboo rafts on the friendly river. You’ll truly love the peaceful feeling when floating through the beautiful Cham River. Besides, images of the simple local farming life around help calm your mind well. If wanted, it’s inspirational to get hands-on experience in the day-to-day lives of the local fishermen. Take a new journey with your paddle if you’re active enough!
As Pu Luong is the stress-free retreat, you can simply choose to relax. The pure and harmonious atmosphere will inspire you to enjoy the real relaxation. Here are some ideas to carry out: reading funny books, having a glass of wine at the pool, swimming, sunbathing, walking in harmony with nature, gardening or farming if you like, etc. As it’s your time to relax, do whatever you feel comfortable!
The thrill-seekers will surely love kayaking in Pu Luong’s river, especially during the rainy time. So, don’t be reluctant to use the paddle to find your ways through the beautiful riverscape, pass by the simple stilted houses, the eye-catching water wheels as well as the green farmland. Together with rafting, kayaking lets you fully touch and experience the water world of Pu Luong.
If you ever wished to fall asleep under bright stars and get up to welcome the mountain dawn, then camping in the pure outdoor of Pu Luong is the perfect option. While it might be your decision to experience the rustic camping with basic facilities in the forest or on the hilltop, the other tourists can choose to camp in the full-equipped conditions by hiring equipment and get pre-processed food to be heated over an open fire. Anyhow, staying overnight at the fresh outdoor environment brings the new and exciting feeling.
You can also travel as a volunteer to join the programs of building roads, fixing schools and houses, or making brick ovens to help the local ethnic people at Pu Luong. In any way, please tell your tour agent in advance so that they can support your compassionate thoughts.
Where to stay in Pu Luong
The local people in Pu Luong Nature Reserve are very kind-hearted and friendly. They’re willing to invite you to their homes so that homestay experience is certainly fantastic. That helps you learn about the authentic local culture, the village community spirit, and the traditional stilted house. It is the homestay option that gives you opportunities to mingle with the villagers, enjoy meals together, and join dancing after dinner happily. These experiences are unforgettable. For the best comfort, it’s better to tell the tour agent in advance if you prefer homestay so that they can provide the best alternative to fit your requirements, such as families with small children, groups of friends, or honeymooners.
The Best Time to Visit Pu Luong
The harvest season, September – November or February – May, is the best time to see Pu Luong Nature Reserve. These months mark the lush plantation as well as the comfortable weather in the land. At the time, Pu Luong is covered with the green carpets and pleasant vibe that cheer up every visitor.