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The rice paddies of Mai Chau flit seasonally between green and gold, carpeting the ground between its villages. These are the workplaces of some of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities – the Thai, the H’mong, and the Dao, each comprising the diverse population of Mai Chau in a cultural fabric woven as intricately as their brocades.
The location of Mai Chau, only three hours from Hanoi, provides the ideal counterpoint to a bustling metropolis in the grip of modernization. This fruitful valley is the picture of Vietnam’s agricultural traditional vibrant world of gorgeous simplicity and stagnant time. This is a great place for a short hideaway from Hanoi’s hustle, which helps you get a closer touch with the Northwest of Vietnam.
The Pu Luong limestone landscape is an area of outstanding beauty, cultural interest, and high biodiversity value, stretching from Mai Chau in the North to the west to Cuc Phuong National Park in the Southeast. It is blessed with rich forests, limestone panoramas, magnificent rice terraces, and breathtaking scenery.
Pu Luong Nature Reserve, established in 1999, is roughly 170km from Hanoi. Being a nature reserve with a total area of 17,662 ha, the primary tropical forest covers 3/4 of it. This is also a living place for ethnic Muong and Thai people. Pu Luong means the highest peak of the village in the Thai language.
What to Expect
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Puluong.
07:00 – 07:30 Pick-up from your hotel or private address in Hanoi and departure to Mai Chau, Hoa Binh.
09:30 – 10:00 Arrive at Thung Khe Pass, the beautiful scenery Pass (One of the 10 most beautiful passes in Vietnam).
11:00 -11:30 Enjoy a special lunch with the local cuisine featuring the yin-yang balance of the Asian culture at Bó Luông Restaurant. After lunch, we will be continuing the journey of exploration in Mai Chau.
13:30 - 14:00 Take a bike to explore the rice fields and limestone mountains with a unique route. See farmers working in fields and visit surrounding peaceful villages such as Pom Coong Village, Lac Village, Nhot Village, and Na Phon Village.
15:30 Explore the daily life of the Thai minority and maintain their ancient traditions and customs. You will visit an ethnic minority family in Mai Chau. Mrs. Mang's family is a local artisan with ingenuity and meticulousness who has preserved and developed the traditional embroidery and weaving craft of the Thai ethnic group. The products made entirely by hand are very delicate, with the typical floral patterns and motifs of the mountainous ethnic minorities in Vietnam.
16:00 Depart for Pu Luong Nature Reserve, which will take an hour by special-use car along narrow roads through terraced rice fields.
17:00 Check-in and relaxing, dinner at a restaurant with Vietnamese cuisine, and overnight at Pu Luong.
Day 2: Puluong – Hanoi.
07:00 Have breakfast and check out.
08:00 Following the small roads, we will visit remote, hidden villages such as Kho Muong and Uoi Village to learn about the local people in Pu Luong. This is a common and easy walk around the most beautiful valley of rice terraces.
Explore Doi Cave (Bat cave), this is the largest cave in Pu Luong, the spot is created by thousands of great blocks of limestone having existed for 250 million years. There are thousands of stalactites in peculiar shapes showing how magnificent nature is. Taking steps beside these cliffs and descending deep into the heart of the cave, travellers will be rewarded with a feeling of excitement by the beautiful stones and the sound of water dripping down from the ceiling.
10:00 Take a bike and start riding to explore the rice fields and limestone mountains with a unique route.
12:30 You will enjoy lunch with local cuisine on a traditional bamboo raft on a stream with beautiful natural scenery.
14:00 Leave Puluong back to Hanoi on the way you will stop at the stunning water wheels. Get up close to each wheel and discover how water is moved from river to handmade bamboo aqueducts via simple constructions of all sizes.
18:30 - 19:00 Arrive in Hanoi, we will drop you off at your hotel or private address. Tour ends.
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