Living in a big city with all routine life’s chaos – so an escape to the nature, for me, is definitely a great joy. I’ll always enjoy as much as I can, every moment. My very short trip to Pu Luong in Northern Vietnam is surely one of my greatest escapes so far! Pu Luong seems not very common place for tourists, even for Vietnamese. Sapa or Hà Giang seems much more popular in everyone’s wish list.
I know about Pu Luong Retreat just by chance, through my old colleague, and to avoid the extreme summer heat in June or July, I booked long in advance, for mid October! Only two nights but I still need to change the room for each night, luckily both rooms having amazing view!
I depart from Hanoi around 8:30 am in the bus arranged by Pu Luong Retreat and arrived around 2:00 pm. Nearly 200 km away from Ha Noi, but it takes almost 5 hours on the road, due to the route over the mountains. On the way there we were still stuck in the heavy rain at one break stop and the bus driver also dropped guests at a few different places in Pu Luong.
My first night room is next to the infinity pool, very close to the restaurant a little bit up hill, my second night room – takes a long walk to the restaurant, but more spacious and a very good thing that both rooms with a splendid view!
Right after checking to the room, I was in hurry to open the door to the large balcony to see whether I got the good view…and immediately I was mesmerized by what’s in front of me. Mid of October is probably not the best season in Pu Luong, due to the rain, the rice fields is still in green, not in glorious golden as I expect (*). Different kind of rice having different time of harvest, the terrace fields at Pu Luong retreat is a kind of famous sticky rice and the harvest will be by the end of October.
I keep standing in the balcony, speechlessly, to admire the scenery but there is one more thing – indescribable fragrance of the rice fields…the freshness of the nature. I tried to breath in, as much as I can, just to keep that smell in me, to memorize it forever.
From my balcony down to the valley – I saw amazing Pu Luong treehouse, another popular destination for visitors, there could be more affordable but probably requires long in advance booking. I paid around 70 US for one night at Pu Luong retreat, breakfast included and that’s the rate for Deluxe bungalow, we could have another choice – the dormitory.
Stilt houses are built primarily as a protection against flooding or wild animals, the shady space under the house can be used for work or storage or for cattle. During my trekking around Pu Luong, I saw different stilt houses, either down in the valley or up to the mountain or even deeply in the jungles – each of them are so unique!
The first night my room is just two steps away to this pool, but with the view like that, no one will swim, they would rather stand in the warm water to admire the scenery which quickly changes – from the blue clear sky with the chain of mountains on the background to the dark mysteriously cloudy scenery…
I spent some time sitting by the pool or laid down on the bench from my room veranda, to look at this splendid view or sometime just to close my eyes to feel the fragrance from the greens.
You won’t find any eateries nearby in the neighborhood, but you can order either lunch or diner from the hotel restaurant. The free breakfast is quite good, I did enjoy the beef noodles or sticky rice with roasted-salted sesame…I did order some local specialities like beef soup with “lá lồm”, a pleasantly sour taste soup, or the famous duck “Cổ Lũng”
I book a whole day trekking tour for next morning. I depart from 8:30 with a local guide, the trekking was unbelievable experience as we went to some places that I couldn’t imagine and some parts of my hiking were truly a challenge for myself. There was a moment I kept wondering why I listened to this 19-year-young local guide…to go to some place like that…I will share in my next post!
(*) Late October could be the best time to stay at Pu Luong retreat when all the terrace fields turn into the golden color!