Pu Luong is one of the most spectacular areas of Vietnam’s north with soaring limestone peaks and deep green rice terraces dotted with ethnic Thai minority villages. What makes things to do in Pu Luong Nature Reserve so special!
If you look to get off the tourist track and understand a little more about local Vietnamese life, Pu Luong is new destinations to explore for you.
Top things to do in Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Parts of Pu Luong community, local residents spend their days doing chores and farming — you, travellers, are welcome to take part if you’re interested. You can also take advantage of the landscape and tackle a hike to viewpoints or hidden waterfalls, to enjoy the solitude of empty trails.
It’s all part of the fun to get lost in the rice paddies and along clear, winding rivers. A popular trip, usually organized with a local guide, is to trek between Pu Luong and neighboring Mai Chau
1.Trek to the top of Mt. Pu Luong
Trekking is the best way to soak up the natural splendour of Pu Luong. Access to maps and marked trails are limited throughout the park, so hiring a local guide will save you time and help you plot the perfect route. You may like to hike to the summit of Mt. Pu Luong, or do a multi-day trek through the entire reserve. Either way, you’re in a for an exhilarating experience.
2. Immerse yourself in nature
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Pu Luong’s mountains are covered with tropical rain forest, while the valley is a series of cultivated rice terraces. Take a walk along the valley floor or in the foothills to get up close with the area’s flora and fauna. Listen to the waterwheels and forest sounds, wave at farmers and grazing water buffalo, and snap pictures of the greenery and wildlife. Simply being in Pu Luong Nature Reserve is a breath of fresh air.
3. Visiting a local ethnic Thai Village
Pu Luong is dotted with quaint hamlets and villages throughout the park, each with its own unique history. Most of the communities in the reserve are Thai people, an ethnic group with two local branches, White Thai and Black Thai.
The Thai people are highly skilled at wet rice cultivation and their homes are built in a raised stilt style. Staying at one of these homestays is a fantastic way to experience local customs and see what life is like for this Vietnamese minority.
4. Swimming in Thac Hieu waterfall
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From the top of Hieu village, it’s only a short hike through the rice fields before you’re presented with a series of dreamy waterfalls cascading down the hillside. Climb down and follow along to where the two streams meet and the pools become larger. This is the perfect spot to cool down with a quick dip, relax in nature, and explore different sections of the falls
5. Enjoy an authentic homestay
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Homestays make up the majority of accommodation options in Pu Luong. The good news is, each one is secluded and tranquil and you can take your pick from mountainside huts to stilted homes in the rice terraces. While there are also a handful of retreats, lodges and even treehouses on offer, homestays will give you a memorable experience deep in the serenity of the reserve.
6. Kayaking and rafting in Cham River
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Rainy season is the best time for kayaking and rafting in Cham River. You can appreciate wonderful landscapes in a slow rhythm and understand local farming life along the river’s banks
7. Visiting Mai Chau from Pu Luong
40 kilometers from Pu Luong, Mai Chau will complete your ethnic holiday to mountainous Northern Vietnam. You will have a chance to get to know some brocade villages and skillful weaving techniques of ethnic women in this beautiful town.
Best time to visit Pu Luong
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The first time lasts from May to June. During this time, people start a new crop season in Pu Luong. You can watch the green color of paddy fields on terraces, surrounded by forests. Usually, the tourists would love to trek in Pu Luong in the summer as the weather here is extremely cool, meeting the demand of them to avoid the harsh weather condition.
The second suitable period of time for visitors to enjoy a trek in Pu Luong is from September to October. In the early of autumn, Pu Luong inhabitants begin harvesting their crops. The fields now turn golden like gorgeous mats. The scent of ripening rice spreads everywhere, bringing you the great comfort and peaceful feeling
How to get to Pu Luong – private car hire
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The travel distance from Hanoi to Pu Luong is in the region of 150 km which makes a journey time of just over 4 hours by private car hire
One major road runs through the nature reserve and between the small hamlets and communities. As you ride along, you’ll be able to take in the stunning rice terraces. Whether you come in by foot, by motorbike or by minibus, make sure to stop and enjoy the view.
What to bring for your Pu Luong trip
- Appropriate clothing: light clothing for summer and warm clothing for winter.
- A high-quality pair of shoes
- Sun protection items: sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, etc.
- Mosquito repellent spray
- Trekking gears
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