Pu Luong cycling lets you discover the beautiful countryside of the northern Vietnam as well as experience rural village life from up close. Biking on the back roads, through countryside lanes, and past stunning rice terrace fields, narrow dirt tracks, hard-surface valleys and mountain passes while greeting local farmers as you pass by, all add to an immersive experience!
Pu Luong is a nature reserve in Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc districts of Thanh Hoa Province, North Central Coast region of Vietnam. The Nature Reserve is bordered by Mai Chau, Tan Lac and Lac Son districts of Hoa Binh Province.
Pu Luong nature reserve has a total area of 17,662 ha and ¾ of the nature reserve is primary tropical forest. At the same time this is the living place of ethnic Muong and Thai people. In Thai language Pu Luong means: the highest peak of the village.
The reserve is located along two parallel mountain ridges running 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 is endowed with great biodiversity, its flora and fauna is closely associated with the Cuc Phuong National Park 25 km south-east.
The region is quite unknown among most tourists, but that does not make it less worth to visit. Pu Luong may attract you thanks to its stunning rice terrace fields, beautiful nature, breath taking mountain passes and traditional villages of ethnic minorities who still retain their unique cultural heritage and way of living.
Pu Luong offers many opportunities for outdoor adventure lovers, such as trekking in the forest and along the rice terrace fields, cycling through the reserve and visiting many authentic small villages. It is a real “off the beaten track” destination you would love to visit.
Pu Luong map
Pu Luong how to get there?
Pu Luong from Hanoi
Pu Luong Nature Reserve is located in the South West of Hanoi. This travel destination is 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.
When to go cycling in Pu Luong Vietnam?
The best time to visit Pu Luong nature reserve in Vietnam is from January until April and September until December, when you will have a pleasant or warm temperature and limited till mediocre rainfall. The highest average temperature in Pu Luong village is 31°C in April and the lowest is 22°C in January. The weather and climate of Pu Luong Vietnam is suitable for a sun holiday.
The average climate figure for Puluong is an 7,8. This is based on various factors, such as average temperatures, the chance of precipitation and weather experiences of others.
Pu Luong nature reserve has the moderate climate prevailing. There is a lot of rainfall in the summer, and in the winter it is quite dry again. If you want to know what the average temperature is in Puluong Vietnam or when most precipitation (rain or snow) falls, you can find an overview below. This way, you are well prepared. Our average monthly climate data is based on data from the past 30 years.
At the end of May and early June. It is the occasion to start a new crop of rice, fields and terraced fields that will wear a layer of green, extremely beautiful.
In September and October, these two months are the time when Pu Luong enters the season of ripe rice. That the time all the terraced fields on the hillside will turn yellow, making Pu Luong more beautiful.
What to explore on your Pu Luong bicycle tour?
Pu Luong hill tribe villages
Beyond Hieu village and Kho Muong village lay more than 20 additional Muong and Thai villages nestled in hidden corners across the Pu Luong valleys. Discover the rhythms of everyday life, interact with local villagers, learn about local customs and witness colorful festivals and celebrations as one of the few “outsiders” that locals encounter.
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.
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 market
Every Thursday and Sunday mornings, join villagers from near and far at the farmer’s market in Pho Doan and discover exotic products grown in the area. Or simply visit a home where the villagers can show you how they live and traditional ways of work, like for example weaving.
Pu Luong water wheels
Nua and Cham rivers are two scenic waterways that cut through the Pu Luong valleys. These abundant water sources feed the extensive rice fields as well as provide a local place for washing, cleaning and watch women along the shore to graze their cows.
Visiting the river, you can spot locals fishing with traditional weaved fish baskets or with fishing nets dropped from their bamboo rafts.
Most distinct in this region are the beautiful bamboo water wheels that dot the riverside. Only in Pu Luong will you see such an abundance of these centuries-old water supplying devices in active use, feeding rice fields and local households with their ingeniously simple design.
Pu Luong mountain peak
Rising up behind Pu Luong Retreat is the region’s highest peak at 1700m above sea level. A 10km trek leads up to a stunning clearing giving views across the whole Pu Luong Nature Reserve on a clear day. A further ascent through thick tropical forest leads you to the very top where keen eyes can spot discarded building stones left by the French who had planned to build an airport base on the peak, before being forced to abandon their plans following their defeat at Dien Bien Phu. With the peak conquered, you can descend via a different route that leads back to magnificent rice terrace valleys below.
Cycling routes Pu Luong
60km bike ride Mai Chau to Pu Luong
45km cycle route Mai Chau to Pu Luong
Bike route Pu Luong to Cuc Phuong national park
Cuc Phuong to Pu Luong to Na Meo Laos – Vietnam border
Pu Luong cycling tours
Here we’ve compiled all of the popular cycling spots in and around Pu Luong, covered by our great selection of exciting Pu Luong cycling tours. Terrain and highlights vary: from biking at a leisurely pace through countryside villages in suburban Pu Luong, to riding over undulating topography of hillside neighborhoods, all of which reward you with breathtaking vistas usually inaccessible by car.
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Read more: Pu Luong cycling tours
Additional questions about cycling in Pu Luong?
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