Known as the epicenter of the touristic area in Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Don village remains a small one. It has naturally developed first due to its convenient location but mostly because the landscapes surroundings the village are truly impressive, rice terraces all around with the mountain ranges in the background. For avid explorers, Don village offers a central location for easy access to the Pu Luong’s highlights including waterfalls, caves, and water wheels. Seamless and convenient travel awaits in this harmonious village.
If the view around the village didn’t change from its origins, the infrastructures have considerably improved. Many homestays, hotels and retreats are now spread in different areas of the village. Unlike Sapa town, Don village still has traditional stilt houses and a countryside local life.
It starts to spread that the village is over developed but it is not, the tourist infrastructures are still low in terms of restaurant and shops. No buildings are allowed to have more than two floors in Don village, as in the whole Reserve. The atmosphere remains the one of a peaceful village lost in untouched and unspoiled nature.
How to go to Don village?
From Hanoi, you can take the daily bus starting at 7am from Hanoi Opera House, run by First Class Xpress bus, and you will arrive at the entrance of Don village for lunch. You then need to ask your hotel to pick you up, as simple as it is.
If you arrive by your own car, taxi or motorbike, you can refer to our Pu Luong Travel guide here. You will find the different ways to come to Pu Luong, so to Don village.
When to go to Don village?
As mentioned in our “Pu Luong Nature Reserve” article, the weather is pleasant all year along. From March to November, it is the rice season as there are two harvests a year. Depending on your travel dates, you could see the mirror, lush green or golden terraces. In winter, the rice fields are resting but the mountain ranges on the background, covered by the jungle and the tropical forest still provide wonderful views.
What to do in Don Village?
As the village concentrates most of the accommodations of the Pu Luong Nature Reserve, our guided tours, whether motorbike, cycling or trekking, start from there. (To start from other location, you can contact us to arrange it)
- Trekking: The beautiful rice terraces are literally surrounding the whole village. Hiking around at the rice season will take you to another world. You can walk by yourself for a short one, or choose one of our half-day or full-day guided tour to discover some hidden places. The one from Don village to Uoi hamlet is stunning.
- Climb Pu Luong peak: It is also the starting point, after reaching the main road, to start the mountain climb for a jungle experience. Trekking through the infinity bamboo forest to reach the 1700m top of Pu Luong.
- Cycling: Located at a moderate altitude, Pu Luong features intricate terrain with steep climbs and descents, making Don village ideal for organizing cycling tours specifically tailored for experienced riders. Whether opting for a half-day or full-day excursion, we can recommend exciting adventures.
- Cooking: Share time with a local family and learn how to prepare some local dishes as the tasteful banana flower salad or papaya salad. An experience to bring you as close as possible to the local life of the Thai people.
- Farming: As the rice fields are all around, depending on the season, join the farmers for some activities in the fields to learn and understand the hard labor of the local people that they still operate with a smiling face.
- Motorbike: Jump on a bike and get ready for some adventures. Don village and its central location are the perfect place to start some Pu Luong execursions. Have a look at our Pu Luong Motorbike tour article here for more information.
- Chilling: As the rice fields are 270° around the village, almost all accommodations are offering fantastic views from the balcony, restaurant or swimming pool. Enjoying a cup of tea, a coffee or even a glass of wine staring at the nature must be on your activities’ list. For the bravest, wake up at 5AM to try to catch some of the unique sunrise you will experience! Sunset lovers will also be pleased.
Where to stay in Don Village?
The range of accommodations is wide in Don Village. From the dormitory to the high-end bungalow, everybody will find the most suitable option. This is an overview of our hotels’ recommendations in Don village, you can find more details and choices in our hotel listing here.
- Puluong Retreat: The emblematic hotel of Don village, even of the whole Reserve. First high standard accommodation established in Pu Luong. At the entrance of the village, on the upper side of the Don village in Pu Luong, The view is heavenly, with a vista extending across the rice paddies, either from the infinity swimming pools (they have two) or from your terrace. Different categories of rooms decorated with eco-friendly and local materials. Our first choice!
- Gateway Inn Pu Luong: Another recent hotel, closer to the entrance of the village and situated just 200m away from Puluong Retreat, features a location overlooking layers of mountains in the distance, providing all the comforts travelers need. The fully equipped bungalows are decorated with natural materials, and there’s a sunbathing area with a panoramic view of the whole valley of Don village with rice fields, and a restaurant under a traditional stilt house for a local touch.
- Pu Luong Home: Close to the Gateway Inn Pu Luong on the lower part of the village, it is also on the first ones to have settle in Pu Luong. The rooms, though a little basic, offer a nice view on the Reserve.
- Pu Luong Valley Home: Recently established in the heart of the village, its name is well deserved with a wonderfull valley view on the rice fields and the mountains. Nice bungalows with eco-friendly furniture and a quaint pool with an infinity view.
There are many traditional homestays on stilt house available at Don village in Pu Luong. You can contact us for some recommendations. Note that all hotels mentioned above have dormitory or private room/bungalows options.