September 13, 2016

Pu Luong Nature Reserve

hiking in pu luong vietnam

Pu Luong Nature Reserve is situated in Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc districts of Thanh Hoa Province, North Central Coast region of Vietnam. It is bordered by Mai Chau, Tan Lac and Lac Son districts of Hoa Binh Province.

This is our complete travel guide about trekking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve. We also provide in this page lots of practical and useful information you might need for planning your upcoming trip to Pu Luong Vietnam.

Trekking in Pu Luong is the best way to discover the fauna and flora system of Pu Luong nature reserve as well as to experience the rich culture and traditions of Vietnamese ethnic groups living in the area. Keep reading this page if you look for anything related Pu Luong trekking, Puluong trek Vietnam, Pu Luong nature reserve trekking, Pu Luong trek, Pu Luong nature reserve hiking.

Pu Luong Nature Reserve, also called Pu Luong National Park is located along two parallel mountain ridges, that run from north-west to south-east, and are divided by a central valley, which contains several human settlements and a large agricultural land area, therefore, is not included within the nature reserve.

Pu Luong Nature Reserve is endowed with great biodiversity, its flora and fauna is closely associated with the Cuc Phuong National Park, the largest remaining area of lowland limestone forest in northern Vietnam. It is an important example of Limestone Karst, ecosystems renowned for their complexity, richness and beauty.

Pu Luong nature reserve map

How to get to Pu Luong nature reserve?

Getting to Pu Luong from Hanoi

Pu Luong Nature Reserve is located in the South West of Hanoi, and easily reached overland. The shortest way is 160 km and a 4 hour drive from Hanoi. This road takes you up to high undiscovered areas in Pu Luong. Enjoy beautiful landscapes and views while driving through small authentic villages. The road passes through two provinces: Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa. Along the way there are many worthwhile stops for a panoramic view of the valley of Pu Luong, ethereal foggy forests of bamboo and the stone valley that might remind you of Halong Bay.

Another way from Hanoi is 180 km and a 4 hour drive. The first 120 km you follow the legend Ho Chi Minh Trail. The next 50 km takes you along the famous Ma and through beautiful rice fields.

The last way from Hanoi is via Mai Chau. This road is 190 km and a 4,5 hour drive. This road is to be advised when combining Mau Chau with Pu Luong.

Getting to Pu Luong Nature Reserve from Ninh Binh

Travel from Ninh Binh to Pu Luong? The best way to get to Pu Luong from Ninh Binh is to rent a private car with driver. The service is provided by Ninh Binh Transport Company or at any hotel in Tam Coc. We recommend you to rent a private car with driver for Pu Luong loop that includes Mai Chau, Pu Luong and Ninh Binh.

When to go trekking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve?

trekking in pu luong vietnam

The best weather for trekking in Pu Luong extends from late September to early May with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 30°C. Late September, October, early November, February, March, April, and early May are the best months to trek in Pu Luong.

In December, January and sometimes February, the weather can get pretty chilly. The stilt houses have no shortage of fluffy blankets to keep you warm at night; staying cool in the summer, however, is more of an issue. The stilt houses usually have fans but even then so they can get uncomfortably hot between June and September. In addition, these months are the rainiest, which makes trekking in Pu Luong more problematic.

It can be cold in the winter from November to the end of February. But the weather is good for trekking in Pu Luong nature reserve. We recommend multi-day Pu Luong hiking tour.

From June to September, it is hot with stronger breezes and higher humidity (60 – 90%). The temperatures are warmer in this time, varying between 28°C and 38°C. We recommend Pu Luong short breaks with day hike from Ban Don or Kho Muong village.

What to explore on your Pu Luong hike?

Ban Hang village

Ban Hang village is nestled in a small valley which also belongs to Pu Luong nature reserve. This small village is inhabited by the Thai ethnic group and can be reached via road 15A that connects Mai Chau and Pu Luong. Ban Hang village is the starting point of many Pu Luong trekking tours.

Kho Muong village

Kho Muong village is nestled at the base of a steep valley. Its remote nature means you can still witness life has it has been over the centuries, revolving around rice fields, vegetable gardens and livestock. A short walk through the hamlet and the rice fields, where you can witness how the people of Kho Muong work in the rice fields.

Ban Hieu village

The scenic Hieu hamlet sits above a hill of tumbling rice terraces and straddles two gushing waterfalls whose easy-grip limestone rocks allow the adventurous to climb up the falls. You can simply relax in refreshing natural pools and afterwards enjoy traditional family meal cooked with produce direct from the land – including home-raised chicken and fish and wild leaves and vegetables from the garden.

Ban Don Village

Ban Don village is located in Thanh Son commune in the area of Pu Luong nature reserve. The village is situated about 30 minute walk from the main road. Ban Don village is one the most beautiful village in Pu Luong Vietnam. From the main road, you can see the Thai traditional stilt houses in the middle of beautiful rice terraces.

Pu Luong cave (hang doi)

Hang Doi cave is located in Kho Muong village. The cave is known for the 5 species of bats that live here in their thousands. The brave can also climb into the cave for an up close view. This walk will amaze you by the greatness of the cave. Try to find rocks who are totally transformed by the water drips coming from the upside of the cave.

Pu Luong hiking trails

Pu Luong trekking route: Ban Cong – Ma River

Pu Luong hiking route: Ban Hang – Ban Sai – Eo Ken – Duom – Kho Muong village

Pu Luong trail: Kho Muong village – Lang Tom

Puluong hiking trail: Kho Muong village – Pho Doan town

Trekking in Pu Luong without a guide?

Travel solo in Vietnam and got the idea of trekking in Pu Luong without a guide? Is it possible to trek Pu Luong independently?

You would better book an all-inclusive Pu Luong nature reserve hiking tour which includes car transfer, English-speaking guide, local porter, accommodation, and meals. Those who are on budget would better take a public bus from Hanoi to Tong Dau junction. From Tong Dau junction, they rent a car or motor-taxi to get to Pu Luong nature reserve. We can help to book a local guide who speaks only Vietnamese, or may be a little bit English.

Pu Luong trekking tours

trekking pu luong vietnam

Pu Luong nature reserve offers a wide selection of trekking tours in the northwest region of Vietnam. It ranges from easy day walks to multi-day trekking homestay tours.

The shortest Pu Luong trek we provide in the area is the two day trip starting from Hanoi, taking you through Mai Chau to Pu Luong nature reserve where you have two half day walking near Ban Don or Kho Muong or Ban Hieu village.

The 3 day Pu Luong hiking tour is our most recommended trip since the itinerary offers you the chance to discover more the region including both the beautiful nature, rice terrace, and the authentic culture. You will have contact with different local Muong and Thai people on your Pu Luong Vietnam trek, and to experience their real, slow life.

Read more: Pu Luong tours

Where to stay while hiking in Pu Luong?

If you take a multi-day hike in Puluong, staying at homestay is proposed in almost every Puluong Vietnam hiking tours. You will sleep in the houses of the local people. The houses are simple and each day you will sleep in one kind of house, depending on the origin (ethnology) of the family. The guide will tell you why the houses are different from each others.

You will sleep on the floor, sharing the house with other people (the host, tour guide, other guests). But they put a mattress for you, and make a kind of private room with the mosquito’s´s protector. The bathroom is on another place, outside the house. So don´t forget to take a comfortable sandal to walk outside. It is very comfortable. But maybe you will not find before the end of the trek, so you can take a shoe like Crocs.

In case you join us on a Pu Luong car tour, you have the choice to be either lodged at homestay or Pu Luong lodge. There are several lodges in Pu Luong nature reserve such as Pu Luong retreat, Pu Luong hillside lodge, Pu Luong home, Pu Luong garden, Pu Luong nature lodge…


What are the best hiking trails in Pu Luong?

There are several fantastic hiking trails in Pu Luong. Some popular ones include the Pu Luong Nature Reserve trek, Ban Hieu village trek, and the Pho Doan loop. Each offers unique scenery and experiences, so choose one that suits your preferences.

When is the best time for hiking in Pu Luong?

The best time for hiking in Pu Luong is during the cool, dry season from October to April. The weather is pleasant, and you’ll have clear views of the lush landscapes. However, even the rainy season (May to September) can be enjoyable for trekking if you don’t mind occasional showers.

Is it necessary to hire a local guide for hiking in Pu Luong?

While it’s not mandatory, hiring a local guide can enhance your experience significantly. They are knowledgeable about the area, can navigate the trails, and provide insights into the culture and wildlife. Plus, it supports the local community.

What should I pack for a hiking trip in Pu Luong?

Essentials include comfortable hiking shoes, lightweight clothing suitable for the season, a rain jacket, insect repellent, sunscreen, a refillable water bottle, and a backpack. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning scenery!

Are there any cultural considerations I should be aware of while hiking in Pu Luong?

Yes, respecting local customs is important. When passing through villages, it’s polite to ask for permission before taking photos of people or their property. Also, dress modestly and be mindful of your noise levels to avoid disturbing the tranquil atmosphere.

Do you have any questions about trekking in Pu Luong that you want to ask us? Is there anything you think I should discuss about Pu Luong Vietnam hiking that we left out… that we should include in future updates to this article?

Leave a comment with your questions and we’ll write you back with a response just as soon as we possibly can.

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