A little less than 100 miles southwest of Hanoi, the Pu Luong Nature Reserve opened in 1999 and features limestone mountain ranges running along two sides, separated by a valley that is technically not part of the reserve but is often lumped in with it for ease of reference. Travelers often liken this destination to the hill station Sa Pa, much farther north, but without its crowds. At Pu Luong and in the adjacent valley you will encounter fantastic scenery, with mountain ridges, terraced rice fields, and small settlements boasting thatched homes. Expect wonderful hiking and the chance to see the houses on stilts built by the White Tai and Muong ethnic groups. If you want to experience the tranquility of the destination at night, make a reservation at one of the homestays offered in the area.