Stretching from Mai Chau to Cuc Phuong National Park, Pu Luong Nature Reserve may attract you thanks to its outstanding beauty and biodiversity along with minorities ethnic’s cultural values. While nature has endowed this land with rich forest and limestone panoramas, it is the local’s works during thousands of year that has turned the mountain slopes to alluring terrace rice fields. An interesting combination of natural and man-made influence makes this breathtaking scenery become an ideal choice for a short trip from Hanoi. Let’s join our tour to discover this untouched charming land of Thai and Muong ethnic communities.
Day 1: Hanoi – Pu Luong
Our car and guide will pick you up at your hotel at 7:00 then we head toward Pu Luong Nature Reserve where offers you chances to explore the pristine and peaceful land of ethnic minorities’ villages. The 200 km (125 miles) drive takes five (05) hours with a scheduled stop for lunch on the way.
Stop at Co Lung commune, we will start a 1.5 hour-walking-trip along the road in Thai’s village. You are fascinated by the plenty of water-wheels, an unique cultural feature of Thai and Muong people living in the nature reserve of Pu Luong.
Arrive in Hieu Hamlet – the most beautiful and remote hamlet in Pu Luong Nature Reserve, you will continue trekking up to the captivating waterfall to come to a stilt house for overnight stay. On the trekking way, the mysterious land lying dangerously on the back of the mountain with rice-terraced paddies tottering horizontally to the sky will capture your heart and imagination at first sight.
Then, you’ll enjoy your dinner with local specialties and let’s stay overnight in a traditional stilt-house of Black Thais with fairyland view from windows.
If you intend to spend your night in a private atmostphere, a local well-equipped bungalow nearby the waterfall may be available for pre-booking.
Day 2: Pu Luong – Ninh Binh/Trang An
After breakfast with locals, you will say good-bye to the poetic Hieu Hamlet. We will try an experience of local “Xe Om” (riding motorbike) from the Hamlet to the meeting point then our car will transfer you to pass through the peaceful and tranquil path of water-wheels. We’ll stop by Pho Doan Market take the chance to capture the hustle of the Northwest upland fair.
Reaching Ninh Binh around noon time for our lunch and having time to check in hotel. In the afternoon, do sampa rowing boat trip through Trang an eco Natural world Heritage site with many caves.
Day 3: Ninh Binh/Trang An – Halong bay or Cat Ba island or Sapa
Options: you can choose Halong Bay junket boat tour or Cat Ba island for overnight sleeping boat/ hotel.
More inforamtion about Pu Luong wild nature homestay and activities:
Located in Thanh Hóa Province, about 3 hours southwest of Hanoi, Pù Luông Nature Reserve would live up to most people’s image of an idyllic Vietnamese landscape and rural life. Jagged limestone mountains enclose a fertile river valley, dotted with small settlements of wooden houses on stilts. Luminous-green rice fields extend from the waters’ edge to the thickly-forested slopes, which are streaked with waterfalls. Women in conical hats tend the fields, men herd buffalo and goats from one pasture to another, and children play with domestic animals in earthy courtyards, or take turns jumping from bamboo bridges into rivers. It appears – to the casual visitor, at least – to be a landscape where nature is entirely benevolent; a land so fertile that it sustains each household throughout the year. If you can imagine how an animated Disney movie set in rural Vietnam might look, then you get the idea – kind of like a Vietnamese Shangri-La.
For a more isolated, rustic, and spectacular homestay, head into the nature reserve. Homestays don’t get more atmospheric than in Bản Hiêu, a small but spread-out collection of thatched bamboo houses on stilts, built on a steep mountainside. Bản Hiêu is situated in the east of Pù Luông Nature Reserve. The landscape here is superb: steep, jungled mountain slopes, gurgling fresh water streams, waterfalls and bathing pools, terraced rice fields continuing high into the clouds, dense, misty forests of giant tropical trees, and precipitous valleys. There are two homestays to choose from here: Mr Si’s and Mr Ba’s:
Taking in the views and observing the daily routine of a largely self-sustaining piece of rural Vietnam, should be enough to keep most people interested for at least a couple of days. The livestock, herb and vegetable gardens, tropical fruit trees, food preparation and cooking over an open flame, and the irrigation systems that channel water from mountain streams, through bamboo pipes, and into the wet rice fields, is all fascinating to witness, especially if, like me, you come from a big city. There are also some good treks in the area, including one to a nearby waterfall.