Pu Luong Nature Reserve is located within Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc district, 200 kilometres from Hanoi. In the north, Pu Luong borders Mai Chau, Tan Lac and Lac Son districts of Hoa Binh province. The south of Pu Luong Nature Reserve is bound by Ma River.
From Hanoi, you can get to Pu Luong by nearly 150 kilometres of national highway 6 and 15C on bus or motorbike. The road is rather windy, steep and tricky, passing through idyllic villages of ethnic groups and wonderful terraced rice fields and corn fields which spread over the hill’s sides.
There are two times to explore the best of Pu Luong: from late May to early June, when a new cultivation of rice starts, and the harvesting time between September and October.
Since Pu Luong is one of the largest nature reserves in Vietnam’s northern region, it has been bestowed by Mother Nature with diverse types of forests, interlaced spring and river systems, and assorted fauna and flora. Even in the summer heat, Pu Luong retains its cool atmosphere, making it an ideal place to escape from the busy and crowded cities.
The scenic beauty of Pu Luong
Pu Luong has just begun to feature on travel maps over the past few years, thus tourist activities and services in the area remain basic for visitors. Hotels and motels are available in the buffing zone only, and tourists at the reserve area can book budget homestays. They can also pitch their tent and enjoy nature by night.
As the hamlets there have not yet been radically affected by commercialisation, visitors will be amazed at the budget price of food and drink. They can taste the fresh and delicious indigenous dishes of the Thai ethnic people, such as Co Lung duck, chicken, fish, bamboo shoots, roasted pig and can wine (wine drunk out of a jar via wooden bamboo pipes) at very reasonable prices.
There are many places to visit in Pu Luong. Nua village is surrounded by vast rice fields. The Thai ethnic group is the largest tribes in the village and they have resided there for a long time.
Kho Muong is is located in a large valley and surrounded by mountains; it is most well-known for its tranquil, quiet atmosphere and the friendliness of the people. Kho Muong is also an ideal starting point for trekking through the four villages of Pon, Thanh Cong, Cao Hoon and Kit.
Authentic tranquillity: A local bathing a buffalo on the river with large waterwheels rolling behind
In the core zone of the nature reserve, the Son, Ba, Muoi villages are quite isolated but it worth a visit to savour the rawness of wild nature and the stunning terraced rice fields, which are hidden from layers of fog and clouds.
Wildlife lovers and adventurous tourists shouldn’t miss May waterfall and Hieu village waterfall. The journey to Hieu village is an eye-relaxing experience with many rolling large waterwheels made by bamboo along the stream, creating a vivid scene of nature.
More challenging, they can conquer Pu Luong peak, which sits at the height of 1,700 metres above sea level, allowing visitors to grasp a panoramic view over the poetic scenery of the valley
For shopping lovers, Pho Don market is a sound choice. The market takes place on Thursday and Sunday, displaying agricultural products, souvenirs, and handicraft products made by locals.