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+ Hike with a knowledgeable guide past cool streams, rice paddies and forested mountains
+ Immerse yourself in the daily life of Vietnam’s Thai ethnic minority
+ Enjoy two nights of simple, pleasant homestay accommodations in stilt houses
+ Savour authentic Vietnamese cuisines with host families or in villages like Hang, Hieu and Kho Muong Includes round-trip hotel transport by private vehicle from Hanoi
Day 01: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Pu Luong (L, D)
Departing from your Hanoi hotel in the morning, you’re driven by private vehicle to Mai Chau and the village of Mai Hich. En route, enjoy picturesque views of the verdant countryside and chat with your informative guide about what to expect in the days ahead. Upon arrival, take a short walk to visit a community of ethnic Thai people, one of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. Then enjoy a Thai lunch before taking a 1-hour car ride to the location where you’ll start your trek. For approximately 1-hour, hike through Pu Luong Nature Reserve, enjoying the tranquil beauty of its limestone mountain forests and valleys draped with terraced rice fields. This intermediate-level trek requires some walking up hills but is worth the effort for the views of the bucolic landscape. While you hike, learn from your guide about some of the regional flora and fauna, including nearly 600 animal species. When you arrive at your Thai stilt homestay — you’ll be welcomed by your host family and have free time to rest and shower before enjoying a traditional dinner. Overnight: Homestay at Kho Muong in Pu Luong
Day 02: Pu Luong Trekking (B, L, D)
After breakfast with your hosts, prepare for a full day of trekking more difficult than the first day. From your homestay, hike for about 5-6 hours via Cao village. Here, stop alongside a cool stream to rest from the heat of the day before starting the more challenging, but equally wonderful, portion of the trek. Although the route traverses more remote areas, you and your guide will never be far from a villager tending the fields. Pass steep limestone mountains as you make your way through the rainforests of the Pu Luong Nature Reserve. A picnic lunch is served in nature. Press onward with some steeps climbs, stream crossings and valley walks until you arrive in Hieu village, perhaps one of the most beautiful settings in Vietnam. It is recommended that you stroll around the village and join villagers as they go about their daily lives. Or simply relax in one of three eco-stays set up by Flora and Fauna International (FFI) in conjunction with the locals. Here, you will have dinner and spend your second night in a typical Thai stilt home. Overnight: Homestay at Hieu in Pu Luong
Day 03: Hieu Village – Pho Doan - Cam Thuy – Hanoi (B, L)
Arise early if you’d like to observe or even take part in your host family’s morning activities. You can also take the opportunity to stroll around the village before having breakfast served by the Thai people. Your trek starts after your meal and lasts approximately 1.5-hour. Hike with your guide up to village, where you can stop for a short rest and experience the local culture. Then it’s just a short walk to the main road, where your driver picks you up and takes you for lunch. After lunch, you have free time to walk around the village before transferring back to Hanoi, arriving at your hotel in the evening.
What You Can Expect
Pu Luong Nature Reserve Including Homestay from Hanoi Depart Hanoi in the early morning to reach Mai Chau valley and the village of Mai Hich, then head into Pu Luong Nature Reserve to begin your trek. Enjoy spectacular scenery as you hike during the day, then meet local villagers at the places where you stay overnight. Meals are included and you'll enjoy traditional specialties during your two homestays. Gain a deeper understanding of northern Vietnam as you hike along hidden forest trails to several villages where you’ll come face to face with Thai ethnic communities. Your guide shares informative commentary and provides translation so that you can enjoy an in-depth experience of this beautiful and culturally rich part of Southeast Asia. Expect the trekking to be challenging at times; this trip requires an good level of fitness and willingness to do some roughing it. The rewards are worth it!
Remark: Trekking on this tour is moderate to difficult, and accommodations are basic, including a provided mattress and blanket, with bathroom facilities located outside the stilt houses.