Escape the city and unplug on this 5-day village-to-village trek through the idyllic countryside of northern Vietnam. Go off the beaten path as you hike through peaceful forests and verdant valleys, and along majestic terraced rice fields. You'll get to know some of the ethnic Thai locals who call this remote region home as they host you on a series of homestays.

Highlights

  • Explore the lush beauty of Pu Luong on foot
  • Enjoy the rich biodiversity of the tropical forests and mountain landscapes
  • Get an inside look at rural village life
  • Meet the locals and dine on home-cooked meals on homestays

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Hanoi to Pu Luong Nature Reserve Don Village
Day 2 Trek from Don Village to Hieu Village Hieu Village
Day 3 The Hidden Trails of Pu Luong Nua Village
Day 4 Hike from Nua Village to Son Village Son Village
Day 5 Return to Hanoi  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi to Pu Luong Nature Reserve

A quiet Mai Chau village
A quiet Mai Chau village

You'll leave Hanoi this morning and embark on a four-hour scenic drive west to the valley of Mai Chau. You'll stop in the village of Pom Coong, where you'll visit the ethnic Thai people before tucking into lunch.

Then take a short one-hour drive to get to the starting point of your three-hour trek in the Pu Luong Nature Reserve. As you walk through the beautiful lush landscape, you'll need to scale some hills but will be rewarded with lovely views of villages and terraced fields.

You'll arrive at your homestay in the late afternoon. Enjoy a traditional dinner with your Thai host family in their stilt house for a glimpse of rural life.

Distance: about 5.5 miles (9 km) 
Trail difficulty: 3/5

Day 2: Trekking from Don Village to Hieu Village

Take in the quiet beauty of Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Take in the quiet beauty of Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Wake up early today and get to know the locals as they go about their daily activities. You'll say goodbye to your host family and head further into the reserve. You'll see valleys, more terraces, and tranquil villages on your five to six-hour hike. After a picnic lunch, continue on to the village of Hieu in the afternoon. 

Take the rest of the day to relax and explore. Perhaps take a stroll to a nearby waterfall, admire the pretty bamboo waterwheels dotted throughout the streams, or get to know the locals. You'll have the choice of having a home-cooked meal at another homestay tonight or sleeping at a small hotel in the village.

Distance: about 7.5 miles (12 km) 
Trail difficulty: 3/5

Day 3: The Hidden Trails of Pu Luong

Locals use water buffalo to help them farm rice
Locals use water buffalo to help them farm rice

After breakfast, continue trekking from village to village, stopping to cool off in refreshing streams along the way. You'll break for lunch before taking a local path through the rice paddies to reach your homestay in the village of Nua for the night.  Admire the vast rice fields that surround the village and get to know your hosts over dinner.

Distance:  6-7.5 miles in 5-6 hours (10-12 km) 
Trail difficulty: 4/5

Day 4: Nua Village to Son Village

Women farmers carrying the spoils of the rice harvest
Women farmers carrying the spoils of the rice harvest

On your full-day hike today, you'll walk deeper into Pu Luong. This is the longest leg of the trek and you'll pass through several ethnic villages along the way. After a picnic lunch, make your way to the village of Son, where you'll be treated to a spectacular sunset. Enjoy dinner with your last host family of the trip.

Distance: about 9.5 miles (15 km) 
Trail difficulty: 3/5

Day 5: Return to Hanoi

You'll be hosted by friendly local families in their homes
You'll be hosted by friendly local families in their homes

The last hike of the trip will be an easy 2.5-hour walk with gentle uphills and downhills through the rice paddies. From the rice fields, you'll trek through the jungle to reach Ton village. There, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to the town of Muong Khen for lunch. Return to Hanoi in the late afternoon.

Distance: 4.5 miles (7km)
Trail difficulty: 2/5

Map

Map of Hiking in Vietnam's Pu Luong Nature Reserve - 5 Days
Map of Hiking in Vietnam's Pu Luong Nature Reserve - 5 Days