Picturesque Pu Luong in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa
May and June are the best months to visit Pu Luong as that’s when the rice terraces are at their most bountiful.
It’s an idyllic spot and lies at the heart of Pu Luong Nature Reserve on the border of Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc districts in Thanh Hoa Province.
Created in 1999, the reserve is located 150 km from the provincial capital, also called Thanh Hoa.
To get to Pu Luong from Hanoi, drive along National Highway 6 to Hoa Binh, continue on to Mai Chau and Co Luong, and follow Road 15C.
The journey is interesting itself as the dirt road winds its way through forests and along the foot of a mountain range.
The first stream crossed inside the nature reserve is Pung Brook, which flows through bamboo thickets and a pretty hamlet of the Muong tribe called Hang. The fragrance from their terraces of golden rice fills the air.
The view from above, before the road descends to the valley floor, demands a photograph or 10.
On the other side of the valley from Pung is the babbling brook known as Kho Muong, which is an ideal place to rest and even stay the night with the local families who rent out inexpensive rooms.
The next stretch of road, from Kho Muong to Doan Street, is perhaps the most beautiful part of the journey.
Stilt houses behind lines of palm trees on the hillside, fertile rice terraces below, babbling brooks across the way, and thickly vegetated limestone cliffs here and there are most appealing in the early morning sun.
Every 10 kilometers or so along the way is a quiet hamlet sitting in the shade of bamboo thickets.
Since the locals cultivate different types of rice at different times, some fields have been freshly harvested while others are a rich green, adding to the diversity.
Reported by Lam Linh (Thanhniennews)
Recommended itineraries: – TRekking Pu Luong Reserve, Vietnam: http://www.activetravelvietnam.com/tour.php?op=detail&tourId=30