Pu Luong Nature Reserve is located in Thanh Hoa, in central-north Vietnam. This Site has been a fascinatingly green retreat that nature lovers visit to unwind. The name of “Pu Luong Retreat” is a magnet attracting tourists to travel north and enjoy happy homestay so that their time off goes best. It covers highlights of mountains, karsts, valleys, rivers, and primitive forest that make up a beautiful haven. Let’s read full tips on Pu Luong Nature Reserve with Vietnam Travel Guide !
Scientific Information about Pu Luong Nature Reserve
- Pu Luong belongs to the territory of Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc Districts, in the northwest of Thanh Hoa Province. The northeast of the Site is bordered by the Mai Chau, Tan Lac, and Lac Son Districts of Hoa Binh Province. Its map coordinate is 20°21′ – 20°34′ N, 105°02′ – 105°20′ E
- Its topography includes two parallel mountain ridges that have different terraces and run from northwest to southeast, and are divided by a valley in the middle. Inside this valley, there live some households and the wide areas of agriculture. Its elevation is between 60 and 1.667m.
- The Nature Reserve has an area of 17.662 hectares.
- Historically, Pu Luong was not addressed in any decisions of the Prime Minister regarding the Special-use forest (MARD, 1997). However, Pu Luong was included in the proposed list of the Special-use forest in Vietnam to be established in 2010, with an area of 17.662 hectares (FPD 1998).
- In 1998, an investment project was made to propose the establishment of Pu Luong Nature Reserve with an area of 17.662 hectares, of which 13.320-ha strict protection area and 4.343-ha forest rehabilitation area (Anon, 1998a).
- In 1999, that investment project was approved by MARD on 09 January, in pursuant to Decision No. 556/BNN-KH. Then, it was accepted by Thanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee dated 27 March 1999 according to Decision No. 495/QD-UB.
- Based on such approval, the Nature Reserve management board was established on 24 April 1999 according to Decision No. 472/QD-UB (Thanh Hoa FPD, 2000). The board included 21 members of staff and 03 forest safeguard stations.
Biodiversity and Conservation Topics in Pu Luong Nature Reserve
There were two investigation programs made in Pu Luong in 1997 and 1998 (Anon. 1998a, Le Trong Trai and Do Tuoc 1998). A part of the programs was to investigate the presence of the Trachypithecus delacouri (Delacour’s Langur) which was the critically endangered species of langur in north-central Vietnam. Since 2003, other studies included in the “Pu Luong – Cuc Phuong limestone landscape conservation project” have finished the surveys about the species of plants (at least 1.109 defined species), mammals, fish, butterflies, mollusks, and invertebrates living in the caves.
Primitive forest in Pu Luong Nature Reserve Thanh Hoa is mainly defined as the seasonal tropical evergreen forest. Other five subtypes of forest exist as the results of the height diversity and the ground element: (1) the low montane broad-leaf forest on karsts (600-700m); (2) the low broad-leaf forest on sandstone and clay (600-1.000m); (3) the montane broad-leaf at the bottom of karsts (700-950m); (4) the montane coniferous forest at the bottom of karsts (700-850m); (5) the broad-leaf forest at the bottom of Bazan mountain (1.000-1.650m). Also, it preserves the secondary forest of bamboo, shrub, and agricultural land (Averyanov et al. 2003).
The fauna system has 84 species of mammals (with 24 species of bats), 162 species of birds, 55 species of fish, 28 species of reptiles, and 13 species of amphibians ((Anon. 1998a, Dang Ngoc Can 2003, Mai Dinh Yen et al. 2003, Vu Dinh Thong 2003). What’s more, the insect system includes at least 158 species of butterflies, 96 species of terrestrial mollusk, and 12 species of special mollusk only found in the region. In general, Pu Luong Nature Reserve Vietnam has the identical flora and fauna in comparison to Cuc Phuong National Park which is located 25km away to the southeast along the limestone ridges. But, with the higher elevation and larger cover of the evergreen forest, Pu Luong is said to have some species that are not available in Cuc Phuong.
Regarding the conservation topics, major threats to the biodiversity in Pu Luong are the illegal deforestation and clearance for agriculture, hunting of wild animals, forest fire, and mineral exploitation, according to Thanh Hoa FPD (2000). To handle and minimize the threats, the Pu Luong Nature Reserve management board builds projects to build 02 additional safeguard stations, prohibits people from bringing guns into the Site by cooperating with local polices, improves locals’ environmental awareness, creates general principles of forest protection in local villages, plants new 100-ha forest in the bare land in the southwestern mountains, etc.
Ecotourism in Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Around 160km from Hanoi, and taking the 4-hour drive to the southwest of the capital city, Pu Luong is an attractive eco-site to discover. Hanoi Tours often include a relaxing trip and homestay at Pu Luong retreat, making it more and more adorable to travelers. One interesting thing about this green destination is that the “Pu Luong” is a Thai ethnic name, which means the highest peak in the region. Together with the cultural experiences in the Thai villages, Pu Luong is rich in natural highlights that keep pleasing nature fanciers.
Travel to Pu Luong, you find the marvelous karst grottoes. Two of the most attractive sites for ecotourism should be Son Ba Muoi (Lung Cao Commune) and Pu Luong summit of 1.700m. Above all, make sure you opt for homestay in Pu Luong Nature Reserve which is said to be one of the most romantic and atmospheric places in Vietnam. The scenery is so sublime that you’ll be marveled at terraced rice fields cascading down mountainsides into transparent rivers, the wood-and-thatch houses, the limestone peaks poking above the cloud, etc. Check in your favorite homestay as there are some to select in this Site, from the rustic forms to the “boutique-style” lodgings.
Let’s discover Pu Luong Nature Reserve, a very charming corner of Vietnam, and find for yourself an ideal retreat to come back whenever body and mind need to take a good rest!