Exploring 7 Best Destinations for Adventure Travel in Vietnam

Tourism contributes to more than 6% of Vietnam's GDP. You can find the backpackers fill the airport immigration lines anytime of the year. Fortunately for travellers, the traditional charms of culture and nature has not eclipsed. If you are one of the adventure travel enthusiasts, this South East Asian country should be on your bucket list. Check out the seven most mesmerising options for adventure travel in Vietnam.

1. Sapa

The Sapa town was first developed by the French as a summer escape from Hanoi’s oppressive heat. The place houses several ethnic minorities such as the H’Mong, the Dao and the Dai and has seen trekkers since the early 1900s. With the redevelopment done since 1990s, the dominance of these ethnic groups reduced and today is one of the biggest tourist activities in Vietnam. Getting with the organized tours is the cheapest and most hassle-free option for a trek to Sapa. Don't be threatened by the rain and do not forget the bug spray and good hiking shoes!

Rice Fields, Mu Cang Chai
Trekking in Sapa

2. Bac Ha

Flying under the radar of trekking base, Bac Ha is one of the most popular options of adventure travel in Vietnam. Its lush and green surrounding makes it a favourite choice for the eco-tourists as well.

The surrounding town wakes up to woodsmoke filling in the morning air. Bereft of hawkers, chickens and pigs snuffling for scraps dwell the main street! It's nothing less exciting for the shutterbugs to click how the clutch of traditional adobes are valiantly clinging in today's age of concrete.

Sleepy Bac Ha wakes up for the riot of commerce and colour on Sundays where folks around the place gather in the ethnic market. You can explore the life of the locals if you travel on any other day of the week.

Bac Ha makes an untroubled base to explore the hill-tribe villages and the northern highlands.  Explore the Lung Phing Valley, discover the lives of Dzao and Ha Nhi minority people and pause to stalk the beauty of the rice and cornfields.

Bac Ha
Folks around the Towns Gathering in the Market

3. Mai Chau

Planning to visit away from Hanoi's hustle? Nestling in an idyllic valley, hemmed in by hills, Mai Chau is a place where you can stop for a day to trek. The gurgling sound of irrigation streams and birdsong, the place offers successful homestay tourism in Vietnam. There are countless treks you can take from here where you can even include kayaking. The nearby Hòa Bình Lake and a little further, Pu Luong Nature Reserve are the star attractions.  It is one of the favourite destinations to carry out biking through the narrow paths of the paddy fields, hiking and relaxation. Several buses run from the capital and you can also hire motor bike and cars for the journey.

Mai Chau
Idyllic Paddy Fields

4. Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park is one of the most protected areas in Vietnam. Easily accessible from Hanoi, this place has the highest peak is Dinh May Bac (Silver Cloud Peak) at 656m. Being the habitat for more than 2,000 species of trees and some rare animals including the Delacour’s Langur, Clouded leopard, Owston’s Civet, Otters and Asian Black Bears - there are many customized tours available at Cuc Phuong. Some of the finest attractions of this adventure travel in Vietnam include sightseeing Tam Coc, visiting the endangered Primate Rescue centre and exploring the primary jungle of Cuc Phuong.

5. Halong Bay

Designated a World Heritage Site in 1994, Halong Bay has towering limestone pillars and tiny islets punctuating the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. The Bay's scatter of islands, dotted with eroded grottoes is an ethereal experience to witness. No prizes for guessing, it is one of northern Vietnam's number one-tourism hub. Green tropical climate forests with unique animals are what make this an ideal destination to trek. The best way to get to Halong City is by car, minibus or bus all of which are available from Hanoi. The sprawling Halong City, also called the Bai Chay is the main gateway to the bay. You can opt for the cruise tours like most of the others and can also indulge in other attractions such as caves and fishing villages. Choose the various itineraries to find out the one most suitable.

Cruiseboat in Halong Bay
Cruise Tour on Ha Long Bay

6. Cat Ba National Park

Home to 32 types of mammal, including most of the world's 65 remaining golden-headed langur, Cat Ba National Park is a favourite place of many local and foreign tourists coming to Vietnam. Apart from the majestically untouched beauty, Cat Ba National Park is also renowned for its archaeological connections. To hide from the heat of summer, the best time to visit the place is around June and July. As the park closes at 5pm, it is important to pick the right trek for you. The fishing village takes much longer which you must start by early morning. To go to the final leg of the journey up to the peak Ngu Lam Peak requires a lot of stamina. Cat Ba Islands are also said to be the heaven of deep water soloing, a sports that challenges your psyche.

7. Lang Bian Mountain

Hiking Lang Biang Peak in Dalat is not the best option for the beginners but experienced hikers can hardly stop themselves from making a schedule for the trek. The 4 km vertical climb can leave anyone out of breath but what a trek! Like every challenging hikes, it is not just the most spectacular views at the top but an amazing recourse that speaks hills, mountains, mist and more. Depending on your fitness level, the trek would take approximately 2-3 hours.

Lang Bian Mountain
Mist scene on Lang Bian Mountain

The peaks ranging in altitude from 2,100m to 2,400m, Lam Vien Mountain or Lang Biang Peak also offers adventure activities such as paragliding. Lang Biang has two highest peaks of Lam Vien Highland - Lang Biang (2,167m) and 2,287m high, Bidoup Ban. Commonly called the roof of Dalat, you can enjoy a marvellous view of the city.

So, are you ready to pack your bags for adventure travel in Vietnam?