Eco lovers should be giddy at the thought of going to Pu Luong Nature Reserve, after all, ethnic Thai people probably had that same feeling as they once called this home hundreds of years ago. It’s a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and even amateur trekkers where you’ll see endless mountains, fertile valleys, and unspoiled jungle. The best seasons to go are from May to June when the weather is still cool and when locals start the new crop season carpeted by green paddy fields. The next best season is from October to September which is harvest season and the green has been replaced by golden fields and the lush scent of ripening rice seeds is ever-present. To get there from Hanoi is to go through Mai Chau and pass through the highway along the Ma River for 40km until you reach the nature reserve.
For the adventurous, you must conquer the Pu Luong Mountain Peak with a height of 1,700 meters where you will be rewarded by a view of the surrounding mountains, forests, fields, and valleys. For a more relaxing affair, one could take a swim at the Thac Hieu Waterfalls. Starting from the Hieu Village, make your way through rice fields into a serene waterfall cascading down the hillside, and with a bit more exploration you’ll find the perfect spot for you to a nice refreshing dip. Other activities include visiting a Thai ethnic village and see their rice cultivating skills; dining on farm-to-table home cooking where you could sample their grilled mountain snails dipped in fish sauce; join a craft workshop and learn how to weave, embroider, make baskets and bamboo furniture which are all essential to the local way of life; or, simply stay still and let nature consume you.