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Rice harvest season in the Pu Luong Nature Reserve lasts longer than in other regions, giving visitors a 11th hour chance to enjoy the golden magnificence of ripening paddy fields.
The reserve, which spreads over 17,662 hectares in Thanh Hoa Province, 160 km south of Hanoi, accommodates its rice fields amidst natural forests, waterfalls, caves and mountains.
Thai and Muong ethnic minority villages that have lived on farming for generations are like jewels that adorn the reserve’s natural abundance.
The weather at Pu Luong is cool throughout the year, even in summer.
Given its rising popularity, lodging services, including resorts, hotels, hostels and homestays are making an appearance in this area.
The best time to visit Pu Luong is during the harvest season from May to June or September to October, when the color of the terraced rice fields turn from green to yellow.
Unlike the rice harvest season in Sa Pa or Ha Giang, which ends early October, the golden color of rice fields in Pu Luong remains until late October and early November.
At present, there is currently only one functional resort in Pu Luong – the Pu Luong Retreat, which is always full during weekends.
There are some hostels and homestays like the Pu Luong Hostel, Tho Ha Homestay, Pu Luong Rice Road, and Pu Luong Tree House with prices ranging from VND150,000 to 250,000 ($6 to 10) per night.
All lodging services in the area wear an eco-friendly look.
Since Pu Luong is a national reserve, the lodgings follow ecotourism principles. As a result, rooms are unlikely to have some common amenities like private televisions or air conditioners.
Visitors can enjoy healthy Vietnamese cuisine in Pu Luong, including steamed duck with bamboo, grilled chicken, bamboo shoots and grilled fish. They can also imbibe ruou can (fermented rice wine), a specialty of ethnic minority groups.
A small coffee shop in Pu Luong on the edge of rice fields.
Visitors can trek up to the Pu Luong mountain peak at a height of 1,700 meters above sea level and explore the Pho Doan flea market where ethnic minority communities in the area sell their unique products.
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