Pu Luong Nature Reserve is a place of wild beauty. This is the land of ethnic hill tribes whose world comprises of the mountain ranges around them, virgin tropical forests, and temperate weather all year round. Although finding an agency that offers a Pu Luong tour is much easier now than it used to be, the satisfaction of exploring the region on your own is nearly as great as Pu Luong’s nature itself. Before you head to one of the most pristine landscapes of Vietnam, helloVietnam tour operator will introduce you some tips to assist you on the way:
Bird’s-eye view of Pu Luong
Top tips for the road trip to Pu Luong
When heading towards Pu Luong, the excitement starts long before you even set foot on the nature reserve. Since the road that leads to Pu Luong is too scenic to observe from the containment of a van, travelling on the back of a motorbike is the most viable substitute that will ensure a full panorama of the region. Here is what to remember when traveling to Pu Luong by motorbike:
Prepare your bike: Pu Luong is a back of beyond region, so the chances of passing by a gas station or mechanic shop on the way are slim. Here is a checklist of what to do before you go:
- Change the oil
- Check all fluid levels
- Adjust the throttle and brake cables
- Check the tire pressure and tread
- Check horns, lights, signals, and gauges
- Fill the gas tank
If you do not have enough experience and expertise to inspect the bike yourself, have a technician do the job.
What to bring:
- A repair tool kit for a quick fix on the way.
- Coats, wind-breakers, or light jackets: Since the climate changes as you move up the mountain, it might be hot and sunny when you set off but will get colder and wetter as the elevation increases.
- Rain suits and waterproof luggage: Vietnam is a tropical country, so sudden rainfall is no stranger. Riding on mountain roads requires full vision and control of your arms, which is why rain suits (or ponchos) have an edge over raincoats in this situation. And don’t forget waterproof luggage for items you can’t afford to get wet.
- Leech socks: Strange as it may seem, these are the best barriers to prevent the slimy blood-suckers from inserting their jaws into your capillaries.
- Light snacks: Getting to Pu Luong is a lengthy journey so it is wise to pack some light snacks in case you get hungry.
What to do during the trip
Riding on mountainous trails is always risky, even for experienced riders; therefore, you can’t be too careful.
- Be extremely cautious: Head-on collisions can happen on sharp, blind curves since you never know what is coming around the corner.
- Stop if you feel tired: The route to Pu Luong is notoriously dangerous, so it is a risky enterprise to ride when your senses are less than sharp. Part of the road to Pu Luong is a dirt trail, so you will definitely have to ride off-road, which takes a lot of physical and mental energy. Don’t forget to arrange break points along the way.
- Manage your speed: Nothing increases risk more than a speed that you are unable to manage.
Prepare for a Pu Luong trekking tour
Trekking in Pu luong
Pu Luong is one of the most important nature reserves in Northern Vietnam. It is also home to an array of biodiversity. A Pu Luong trekking tour is a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with the pristine nature of Northern Vietnam’s largest national park. Before you go, it is essential to prepare:
Clothes: Trekking in a rain forest requires proper clothes that can withstand a beating. To combat Pu Luong’s humidity, bring along clothes made from natural fiber that can wick away your sweat. Leave your jeans at home since they take ages to dry, and instead pack shorts and long pants made from better material that can get wet and dry quickly. Strictly separate your trekking clothing and your night clothing, or you will end up having two sets of wet clothing at the end of the day.
Footwear: Hiking boots or supportive walking shoes are a must. Bring a pair of socks for each day in case they get wet. Flip-flops are ideal for night time to give your tired feet a break.
The Pu Luong rain forest is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and leeches, which are some of trekkers’ worst nightmares. Not all mosquitoes can transmit malaria, but Pu Luong doesn’t have the species that carry the parasite. Leeches can’t cause disease but they are able to enter inside your body. Here are some tips to cope with these little blood-suckers:
- Mosquitoes: environmentally friendly insect repellent, lemongrass, lime, and long-sleeved shirts can all help to keep mosquitoes away from you. When you get bitten, apply a little salt water to the bite and do not scratch it. After this, apply a bit of toothpaste. This will immediately sooth the itchy feeling which will reduce the urge to scratch. This is important because scratching is what invites the infection into your body. Bring along some aspirin in case you start feeling a bit ill, better safe than sorry.
- Leeches: Apply insect repellent to your legs. Your arms, armpits, shoulders, neck, and ears should be protected too, since the leech threat does not always come from the ground. There are some species that hang themselves on tree branches. Spray the repellent on your shoes, socks, hat, and shirts as well. Before you sit down anywhere, pepper salt on the ground to scare the leeches away. Fire and insect repellent can have the same effect. If you spot any leech on your body, apply some salt on it and it will recoil immediately. If there are other people around when you remove the leeches, neutralize the threats by cutting them in half or burning them. Use a bandage on the bleeding wound and check it regularly.