Exploring the North: Pù Luông - Vietnam 2022
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
📍 Pù Luông
🚶🏾♀️+🚐 Mai Châu Valley to Pù Luông
🛌 £9-40ish a night
💰 £1 = 28,000 Vietnamese dong (roughly)
Pu Luong is about an hour's drive from Mai Châu Valley and similarly offers stunning surroundings. I had quite the experience here; I got to sample my first taste of real monsoon weather. I also trekked through the jungle for the majority of the way to Pu Luong. I will speak about that lovely experience later. I stayed in another homestay which had a pool overlooking the rice fields below.
Pù Luông - The Jungle
Where do I even start with this... I pretty much hated every second. Well at the start, I was optimistic about this adventure, foolishly thinking it was a short walk in the outdoors. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for.
This expedition commenced with me happily skipping along the dirt paths, laughing and singing. I was having a great time. Walking on flat ground is fine for me but when I had to drag myself up some big hills in 40 degree heat I quickly realised my fitness levels did not match up to the task ahead. This hike was definetly not sofa dumpling friendly.
It got to a point where I was so hot and exhausted that I felt like I could not physically go on. I got so overwhelmed and fell behind from the tour group. I was rolling solo. To be honest I wanted to be alone so I could have my private breakdown 😂. This was when I knew that I didn't want to do this anymore but I was in the middle of the jungle. There was no way out. I had to continue. I actually started crying 😂😂😂. Anger soon followed where I started snapping bamboo sticks and throwing them off the edge of cliffs. I wanted to scream. I was grumpily stomping along, lost my balance and nearly fell off the side of one big hill. Complete and utter shambles.
I actually started recording part of this trek, not because I thought that I would write about it in the future but because I genuinely thought I was going to d*e.
Not even being dramatic I thought I was a goner 😂. It was so hot! I thought maybe someone would find my camera and show my family my last moments. I'll post a video below, you can honestly hear the cry in my voice. I can laugh about this now but NEVER AGAIN😂. One thing I did take from this experience is that I need to go back to the gym!
Pù Luông - The homestay + Monsoon
I was so exacerbated by that trek that I didn't really get any good pictures of the homestay. As soon as I arrived I wanted to chill! I hand-washed my shorts, put them to dry on the balcony and then headed to the pool. I was having a great time splashing my troubles away with the others in the pool. I noticed the sky was getting a bit cloudy and thought hmm maybe it'll just rain a bit.
Hand-washing is a quick and cheap way to get your clothes cleaned. Vietnam does have insanely hot weather yet it's often so humid I found that clothes rarely dried properly.
I was sadly mistaken, what looked like light drizzle turned into a full-blown monsoon. That's one thing about Vietnam, when it rains it pours! A very memorable day, deciding whether to sit in a swimming pool and get electrocuted or run for shelter. The video below illustrates this way better than I can.
Pù Luông - Standing Out
One thing about Vietnam, if you look a bit different you will have residents asking to take pictures with you. In my case to put it bluntly it was because I was black. I think during the whole time that I was in Vietnam I probably saw a max of 10 other black people. However, if you are tall and pale you will also have people asking to take pictures of you, so at least it's not a case of discrimination. Well not exactly 😂. People are genuinely curious. No one made any funny gestures or anything. Some people struck up conversations, interested in what brought me to the country and others would straight up just ask to take a pic.
This wasn’t so common in bigger cities such as Hanoi and Saigon. I guess due to the mass number of diverse tourists. It was mainly in more rural places where I would encounter “fans”. 😂 It was harmless though.
Everyone who asked to take a pic with me, I asked to take one with them too because I'm childish. I don't know if I've explained this properly but there were no bad vibes at all.
I do wonder what the heck they do with the pics though.
"Yay or Nay"
I'm not going to lie there are parts of this visit that I did not love. You know the whole near death experience. The jungle trek was big no no from me but I guess the monsoon was funny. Something I won't be forgetting anytime soon. In terms of sightseeing, if you plan to go to Mai Châu Valley first you could skip Pu Luong however I do think you do have a better vantage point of the rice fields from Pu Luong homestays.
Click here to check out my previous post on Mai Chau Valley.