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Pu Luong, also called Phu Luong, was recognized one of Nature Reserves in the Northwestern of Thanh Hoa province. It is not only the habitat of plentiful of flora, but the living environment of many species of fauna as well. With an area of 17,662 ha, Pu Luong Nature Reserve is ideal place for developing main types of Vietnam tourism.
Pu Luong (alternatively called Phu Luong) is one of nature reserves located in Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc districts in north-western of Thanh Hoa Province. Pu Luong shares the boreder with Mai Chau, Tan Lac and Lac Son districts of Hoa Binh Province to the North-east. Covering total area of 17,662ha, Pu Luong Nature Reserve is ideal for developing main types of tourism such as trekking and mountain biking, etc.
The Nature Reserve is situated along two parallel mountain ridges running from the north-west to the south-west. In the middle of the nature reserve is a valley that separates it into two parts. This valley is the settlements of several local people and a large area of agricultural land.
Pu Luong is the habitat of plentiful of flora. It possesses the primary forest, which can be regarded as closed evergreen tropical seasonal forest. A diverse flora covers the forest with at least 1,109 vascular plant species. Besides, three primary forest subtypes found at the site also play an important role, including primary lowland forest on limestone and schist/shale, primary coniferous submontane forest on limestone and primary submontane forest on basalt.
Furthermore, Pu Luong is also the living environment of total of 84 mammal species, in which there are 24 bat species, 162 bird species, 55 fish species, 28 reptile species, 13 amphibian species, 158 species of butterfly and 96 species of land snail. Here is an important place for the safeguarding of Delacour's Leaf Monkey.
Thanks to the variety of flora and fauna inside, Pu Luong Nature Reserve should be an ideal destination for tourists in Vietnam travel, especially for those who enjoy eco-tourism and adventure tours.

Traveling around Pu Luong Discovery:
1- Don village is located in Thanh Son commune , Ba Thuoc district , Thanh Hoa province, Don village has no car roads go down, just available trail for walking down. From main road, just walking slide down the side of valley with 30 minutes, you can see the Black Thai houses in the middle of beautiful rice terraces in Pu Luong Nature Reserve.
Don Village area is well known for its stilt houses. The type of stilt houses, or pile dwellings, they construct are called Black Thai stilt houses and are made of bamboo and timber. These houses are elevated 10–12 feet off the ground in order to avoid water damage and shelter animals from the elements. One of village has nice homestay in Pu Luong.

2- Hieu Village Waterfall stands out in the green jungle deep inside Pu Luong Natural Reserve, about 25km from Canh Nang Town in the central province of Thanh Hoa.
Whoever sets foot here agrees that Hieu is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in central Viet Nam.
Following the rugged stony path from the centre of Co Lung Commune, visitors arrive in Hieu Village, which is also the furthest village in the commune and the location of the waterfall.
Local cultural researcher Ha Nam Ninh from Ba Thuoc District said the name of the waterfall, which originated from the language of the Thai ethnic minority people, means “protrusion like a tree branch”, just like the area where Hieu Village and the waterfall are located.
The most interesting feature of the area near the waterfall is that nearly everything that the water flows over, such as trees, turns into stone. This is because the water contains a large quantity of limestone substances and flows all year round.
It is unclear where the source of the waterfall is located. Some people say that it starts in Mai Chau District in the northern province of Hoa Binh, while others think it originates in the limestone mountain range. Thanks to its limestone content, the waterfall is cool and clear in summer and warm in winter.
In order to reach the top of the 800m waterfall, visitors have to spend about an hour climbing the mountain and wading through water.
But it is worth the effort. They can see stunning beauty from the top. The flowing water bifurcates in the middle of the mountain, creating two different waterfalls that flow in two different directions, but reunite at the bottom. The cliffs create many layers of water that burst into several beautiful white bubbles.
Visitors can also enjoy a wonderful view of the surrounding beauty, such as the modest stilt houses of the Thai ethnic minority dotting the foot of the mountain or set among green terraced fields, or the stream water wheels that provide fresh water to the local people as well as beautify the jungle and the mountains.
At the foot of Hieu Waterfall is a natural “swimming pool” that is just a little more than 1m high and has a bed full of sand. Adventurous visitors can try jumping from the top of the waterfall into the natural pool below, while the less adventurous ones can swim leisurely in the cool, transparent water.
There are also three caves located deep in the mountain, the most beautiful of them being Tinh Yeu (Love) Cave. It is about 3m wide and 10m deep, with several sparkling and colourful stalactites inside.
Swimming in the cool water of the fall in the wild and poetic natural atmosphere helps to erase the daily worries of the visitors. They get even more pleasure when they are welcomed with delicious local wine made from the cascading waters.
A trip to the area is not complete without a sampling of local specialties such as bamboo shoots and the tender and delicious Co Lung duck.
A meal in Hieu Village is very reasonably priced between VND150,000-200,000 (US$7.5-9).
A favourite tourist spot on the way back to Hieu Village is Don Market, a special fair of the local people that is held only on Thursday and Sunday mornings every week. There the visitors can enjoy bowls of bitter soup made from a kind of bitter vegetable, leisurely walk around the market, and purchase local specialties such as honey and bamboo shoots.
With spectacular natural views and delicious food, Hieu Village and Hieu Waterfall are surely destinations that should not be missed by tourists in their journey to discover the western region of Thanh Hoa Province

3- Eo Ken village (Bản Eo Kén) is located in Thanh Son commune , Ba Thuoc district , Thanh Hoa province, Eo Ken village has no car roads go down, just available trail for walking and with the motorcycles are go hard. Eo ken also lying on the side of Pu Luong National Park.
Eo Ken village with 100 black Thai family and locating on the route of trekking tour such as: Duom Village – Hang village – Eo Ken village – Pa Ban village – Dong Dieng village and Kho Muong village. From Kho Muong you can follow the route of 4 villages of Muong people as Pon village – Thanh Cong village – Cao Hoong village and Kit village. From Nua village, you can go up higher mountain to the villages as Trinh village, Hin village, Bo village. From then can go over Son village, Ba village and Muoi village.
Further, From Dong Dien village, you can flow the way hiking up to peak of mountain 1700m, where you can see panorama view of Pu Luong Nature Reserve.

4- Cao Son area in Thanh Hoa (also known as Son Ba Muoi) Cao Son area includes the villages of Son, Muoi and Ba. Located inside the natural reserve Pu Luong, will steal the heart of any tourist with its unique and challenging terrain.
Above all, the allure of the Pa He Peak, 1,200m above from the ocean level, enchants every tourist despite the challenges ahead. As expected, just the 10km pathway to Cao Son is enough of a challenge for both vehicle and driver.
Halfway through the mountain pass, the awe-inspiring scenery with the soft touch of sunlight opens up before the eyes of the tourists. They are fascinated by the Pho Doan and Co Lung valleys surrounded by clouds. Small peaceful villages are located on the foothills.
Around this time of the day, the temperature can reach 33oC to 35oC in the urban areas while it stays cool in Son village. Clear blue skies and cool fresh air with lots of sunshine relieve the travelers’ stress and bring excitement. Here, the summer’s hottest day is only around 20oC and in the winter it goes down to -1oC or -2oC.
Beyond the praise, the beauty of Son Village is unforgettable. The pristine land is a gem. Given its natural beauty, it has still been kept away from urbanisation and the hustle and bustle of other common tourist spots.
Past Son Village, the journey gets easier with straight roads and slight slopes. Along the way, the travelers’ senses are indulged by the soft breeze and a view of the corn and bitter gourd fields of the Thai people. Stilt houses with the aged chrysotile cement roofs emerge from among the rice and corn fields and bitter gourd vines.

5- Kho Muong is one of 24 villages where Muong and Thai people reside along the valley and mountainsides. However, it is pretty seperated from other villages and stituated far deep in central zone of the reserve. Moreover, most of the local inhabitants in Kho Muong Village belong to White Thai ethnic group with about  300 people in 65 households.
The history of this village began when a group of animal hunters were lured by the amazing beauty of green valleys that were full of water provided from an extensive structure of streams and moved all of their families to settle down. The name of the village, Kho Muong, originates from this myth: according to the local dialect, “Kho” is translated to “Origin” and “Muong” is understood as “Village” so “Kho Muong” represenst a location where a group of people first settled.
Regarding the trekking route, the most viable option is to begin from Ban Sai, where 15A and 15C roads meets each other. During the trip, tourists are treated with one of the most stunning scenery that mother of nature can create: one one side, there are huge steep cliffs  covered by immense green forests that spread over the horizon;  on the other,  ethinic minorities’  unique feature of rice terraces and a long string of villages stay side by side. The beauty of the scene is worth all the efforts that tourists had to make through all of climbings and walkings.
A thorough plan of where to go need to  be made beforehand because the list of must-see attractions in this location is prettly long. For convenience, Kho Muong Cave should be the first destination to visit before go rafting in Ma River. After that, a journey to hospitable Thai villages and taking a camp in Pu Luong mountain worth a try. The trip may end after visting Pho Doan Market but tourists are welcomed to go to other locations in case there is spare time available.
Not only the beautiful scenery but local specialties will also make visitors amazed: they can relieve their hunger after spending a whole day to enjoy the beauty of nature by taking typical dishes of rice, forest banana flower salad, boild duck meat and corn liquor, especially the latter which will make ones not keen on drinking other kinds of alcohol anymore. The accomodation is also typically ethinic  one of stilt house, which is an exicting experience for whom  has never stayed in it despite being a litte bit uncomfortable for strangers.  Additionally, typical convenience like hot water to take a shower and bedding to sleep are still available for guests to rest after exhausted trips.
In order to organize the best trip to Kho Muong, it is highly recommended that tourists choose private vans as their  primary means of transportation. It takes only about 3 hours for visitors to reach the homestay of Kho Muong Village from central Hanoi when travelling by van

6- Duom Village is a place of en-route trekking tour in Pu Luong. We roamed on the fields and enjoyed the scent of ripen rice in fresh air. We left in time before a rain rushed down. A jungle rain in Pu Luong.
Although the path from Ban Duom village to Ban Uoi-Pho Doan lasts, we had to walk hard for 3 hours due to the slippery road after the rain. When it stopped raining; we even did not notice that. Seen from above, we can witness the fields of Quan village-smooth as silk, bobbing as waves, the peaceful houses and the smoke from the thatched roof.
The sun gave the way to the dark. At twilight, the mountain ranges turned dark, too. Yellow is prominent in the paddle filed of Uoi village, the colour of wealth and prosperity. We felt carefree and serene as if we were floating on yellow sea. Cool breeze, the houses hidden in palm trees, the dramatic backdrop of sunset. I will never forget those moments, when my friends and I sipped coffee and enjoyed sunset together. The stories, smiles, faces- All became unforgettable memories in my heart.

7- Hang village is located in on of the deepest valleys in Pu Luong. The best reach this village is via road 15A that connect Mai Chau and Pu Luong and start trekking to this village, where road 15A meets road 15C.
The earthen road followed the course of the Suoi Pung River upstream into an ever narrowing valley in Ban Hang village, flow river floor and lower slopes terraced with gardens and recently harvested rice paddies beneath lush green forested hills. This road wound and undulated its way for several kilometres, every corner opening up a beautiful rural vista.
As we passed through the village of Tan Phuc, smiling children appeared from houses and fields to call out “hello” or “xin chao” – it was a scene to be repeated at every village on our walk. Leaving the road, we headed lower down into the valley along a dirt motor cycle track, crossing the river to reach the villages of Ban Duom and Ban Hang, the latter our destination and first homestay of the trek.

8- Visiting Cam Luong Fish Stream - The Stream of “Holy Fish”
The Cam Luong stream is located at the foot of the Truong Sinh (Immortality) Mountain, in Luong Ngoc village, Cam Luong commune, Cam Thuy district, Thanh Hoa province, more than 80 km to the northwest of Thanh Hoa city.
Surrounded by limestone mountains, the stream is only over 100 meters long and 3-4 meters wide. There are tens of thousands of fish (weighing from 2 to 8 kg and the biggest ones are up to 30 kg) in strange shapes and all colors. When they swim, their bodies glow.
In the dry season, the stream is only 20-40 cm deep, the clear water is very clear and visitors can reach out to caress the fish. The density of fish is thick but the water does not smell. Local residents use the water for cooking, bathing and washing. This tourist attraction each year attracts thousands of visitors.
According to the belief of the Muong people, the fish in this stream have the divine origin. Over many generations, local people still mouth mysterious story of the origin of the fish.
Muong people in the Luong Ngoc call the fish as “doc” while scientists define the fish as a species of carp, with the scientific name of Spinibarbichthys denticulatus. This species is listed in the Red Book of Vietnam.

9- Visiting Ben En National Park is located in the two districts of Nhu Xuan and Nhu Thanh, 45km southwest of Thanh Hoa Province . It is not only the place preserving sources of rare and precious varieties of fauna and flora in service of scientific research but also an ideal tourist attraction.
Surrounded by hills and mountains, Ben En National Park has a total natural area of over 16,000ha plus 30,000ha of buffer zone forest and is affected by the tropical monsoon, creating an average annual temperature of about 230C.
The flora in the Park is plentiful with 462 varieties and 125 orders. The Park boasts a diverse fauna because it is a favourable living environment for many groups of insects, birds, rodents, animals with hooves, and carnivore. Many surveys and investigations show that the Park has 50 orders, 177 families, 216 varieties and over 1,000 species of animals, including 91 species of animals, 201 species of birds, 54 species of reptiles, 31 species of amphibians, 68 species of fish and 499 species of insects.
In recent years, with scientific research projects such as “Preserving the gene source of some rare and precious plants in Ben En National Park” and “Research on forest restoration after slash and burn farming in Ben En National Park”, the Park has attracted hundreds of domestic and foreign researchers and scientists.

10- Visiting Ho Dynasty Citadel under the construction of Vietnamese people, tourists in Vietnam will have chance to admire its unique stone architecture. Recognized as the World Cultural Heritage Site at the 35th meeting in Bahrain in June, 2011, the Citadel is not only the pride of Thanh Hoa people, but also the pride of Vietnamese people all over the country.
Located in two communes Vinh Long and Vinh Tien of Vinh Loc District, Ho Dynasty Citadel is a unique stone architecture constructed by Vietnamese People. It is proud that Ho Dynasty Citadel was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site at the 35th meeting in Bahrain in June, 2011.
It is surprisingly said that Ho Dynasty Citadel had been built in only three months from January to March 1397. This citadel was used to be the capital of both Dai Viet nation during the final years of Tran Dynasty and Dai Ngu nation for seven years. It was officially named “Tay Do” (Western Capital) in order to distinguish from Thang Long – Dong Do Citadel (Eastern Capital). Ho Citadel is the only stone one in Vietnam which is constructed during a short period of time. It includes two layers: the inner called “Hoang Thanh” built with stone and the outer called “La Thanh” built with soil.
The outstanding feature of Ho Dynasty Citadel is that its stone walls were built to bear earthquakes with an average height of five meters. It is strange that the stones were laid without cement, each of them weighed up to 20 tonnes. Besides four gates covered Ho citadel, there was a canal surrounding the citadel as an extra layer of protection. Witnessing the ups and downs of over six-century history, some parts of the citadel are still kept its origins. Ho Dynasty Citadel is stated to be the symbol of power and military fortress. It was also built to represent both royalty and divine powers. It helped to link natural and human space. Especially, time and weather can not damage the major stone sections because of the citadel’s unique construction techniques
In the last days of June 2011, UNESCO recognized the citadel of Ho Dynasty as the World Cultural Heritage Sites. It is the pride of not only Thanh Hoa People, but aslo Vietnamese people all over the country. Presently, local authorities are trying their best to protect and preserve this site for its unique stone structure and identify it as an important site on the tourist map of all travelers in Vietnam tourism.

11- Visiting Sam Son beach, tourists in Vietnam travel not only are strongly impressed by a long coastline of white sand beach, plentiful scenes, and historical vestiges, but also are always welcomed by friendly and hospitable people here. Especially, don’t miss the chance to enjoy delicious famous specialties of the northern province of Vietnam
This is a long and beautiful beach reaching more than 16km in length. Visitors will have some unforgettable moments when they wallow in the cool blue sea, listen to songs of the wave and the wind, and take a nap on the sunlight sandbanks or build sand castles. Also, this is a good place to try various local seafood varieties such as shrimps, crabs, fishes and also to bring back home some nice souvenirs. The very flat and gentle sandbank, combined with the clean and blue water makes the scenery of Sam Son beach magnificent and attractive.
Besides the beaches, Sam Son also has another fascinating destination with many natural attractions and historical relics: the Truong Le Mountain range. The part that is contiguous to the sea is called Co Giai Islet. On top of this islet, there is a small pagoda named “Doc Cuoc”, which means “One Leg”. The pagoda is the place for the local people to recall the epic legend of a giant that manages to slay a sea monster and to guard the sea in the past. Also, there is a special rock name “Trong Mai”, formed with two huge boulders on a flat rock. There is a story that these rocks represent a pair of husband and wife, who love each other passionately even when both have been transformed into birds.
If you are a lover of beach travel and making tours to Vietnam, Sam Son beach that is in top of beautiful beaches in the North Vietnam should be listed on your trip.

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