Being beautiful like Sapa of the Northwest or dreamland of Dalat of the Central Highland forests, Pu Luong is gradually becoming an attractive tourist destination in Thanh Hoa province with wild scenery of mountains, simple and picturesque terraced fields.
The beauty of Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Pu Luong Nature Reserve was established in 1999, with a total area of 17,000 ha. Pu Luong is considered one of the most valuable scientific, socio-economic and ecotourism sites in the world with thousands-of-year-old primitive forests. In addition, Pu Luong preserves many flora and fauna species listed in the Red Book such as Pa Co pines, ironwood, orchids, langur, leopard, black bear …
Experience rustic, pristine life
Pu Luong is located in the northwest and about 130 km from the center of Thanh Hoa city, in the area of Ba Thuoc and Quan Hoa districts. According to the laguage of the Thai people, Pu Luong means the highest mountain in the region. With pristine and charming beauty, Pu Luong has become a unique tourist attraction attracts many young backpackers and tourists.
Discover Pu Luong, visitors will have to cross the old, mysterious, dark forest, and overcome the harsh, winding road. From these roads, you can see the high mountain ranges, watch the village, the unique stilt house hidden in the midst of the green forest, mountains and clouds. If you travel to Pu Luong in June or October, you can see the green or yellow terraced rice fields, a beautiful peaceful and romantic painting.
Come to Pu Luong, you can discover the pristine tourist paradise among the forest that those have chance to visit will remember forever. For example, Don village (Thanh Lam commune), Hieu village (Co Lung commune), Cao Son (Lung Cao commune) and Dong Dien, Kho Muong (Thanh Son commune), Ba Thuoc district … Here visitors can stay at stilt houses at the villages and experience rustic life of Thai people. Price for staying overnight is no more than VND 100,000 (4 USD) per person. If you want a quiet dreamy space, you can sleep in ecological resort in Don village with modern services of 3-4 star with gentle, stylish space. Or else you can camp right in the woods to enjoy nature.
In particular, come here you can hike to the mountain top and see the sleeping village of Cao Son (the common name of 3 villages of Son, Ba, Muoi, in Lung Cao commune) – is considered to be a remote area of the majestic Pu Luong Range, which is nearly 2,000 meters high. The place is covered all year round by mist, temperatures are usually between 18 °C and 22°C. This is a land where many children and the elderly only know they are living in another world, a land that many visitors considered “Sapa in the heart of Thanh Hoa”.
Pho Don Market is located in Lung Niem Commune (Ba Thuoc District) is a market from the French colonial, also very attractive. The rustic market n the countryside in the west of Thanh Hoa is a good place for trade and meeting of the Kinh, Muong and Thai ethnic groups in the communes surrounding the area and the people of Tan Lac, Lac Son (Hoa Binh province). The market only holds on Thursday and Sunday. People come to the market not only to buy and sell goods but also to exchange, visit and meet each other. They come to the market with all sorts of goods, from newly trapped squirrels in the forest, or chickens, bunches of vegetables, fishes … All sellers and buyers are all exhilarating, comfortable every time going to the market.
One of the highlights of Pu Luong is the traditional delicacies of local people, for example, Co Lung duck meat, hill chicken, grilled pork, bitter bamboo shoot, mountain snail, bamboo rice, banana flower salad… Visitors will enjoy the bitter soup, cooked with chicken, pork … The soup, cooked from forest leaves, is so bitter that who have not eaten before will shiver with fear, but when enjoying, bittersweet taste makes you remember forever.
The land is “sleepy”
Pu Luong’s potential and strengths are unquestionable: when the French arrived in Thanh Hoa, they intended to make it an ideal resort. However, Pu Luong has not promoted all its strengths to become a tourist paradise despite of its abundant potential.
According to the report of the management board of Pu Luong National Reserve, thousands of domestic and foreign visitors come to discover Pu Luong every year. Visitors often come at the end of May – beginning of June and September – October. Summer is the time when Pu Luong starts the new rice crop, the fields and terraced fields will wear a green shirt. At that time, it’s like an oven in the plain but very cool and pleasant in Pu Luong. September and October are the time when Pu Luong enters the harvesting season, all terraced rice fields of the hillsides will turn into brilliant yellow. This is the time when Pu Luong attracts so many tourists, especially those who love traveling as backpackers.
In order to awaken Pu Luong, in 2008, International Animal and Plant Organization FFI in collaboration with Pu Luong Nature Reserve Management Board implemented a project to promote ecotourism and community tourism. Thanks to the project, some typical families are equipped with homestay facilities (green tourism) to welcome domestic and foreign tourists to develop community tourism in this area.
In this program, FFI will support residents in the community know how to cook in a good standard to serve tourists. Moreover, they teach some people English to be a guide to serve tourists … Until now, 20 households have been supported to build infrastructure and equipment for tourism in 5 communes of Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc districts.
Mr. Le The Su, Director of Pu Luong Nature Reserve, said that although Pu Luong had moved, it was too small in comparison with Pu Luong’s potential and strength. “The potential for ecotourism and resort development in Pu Luong is still open. There is no appropriate investment policy, but still spontaneous,” he said.