Vietnam has plenty of potential when it comes to outdoor adventure destinations. Beyond the ability to go mountain trekking on the holiday in Vietnam in the north of the country, travellers can also experience kite surfing, sea kayaking, canyoning, rock climbing and other fun activities. Mui Ne in southeast Vietnam is perfect for surfing, while Da Lat is great for all-round adventure sports, and an activity like mountain biking is possible in most regions of the country.
Here are a few of the most popular destinations for outdoor adventures in Vietnam:
The most popular destination for the trekking adventure on the tours in Vietnam is Sapa and its mountainous region in the northwest of the country. Sapa gives a perfect base for the experienced hikers wishing to climb Fan Si Pan which is the country’s highest peak and quite challenging. Other destinations for a hike include the national parks like Yok Don, Cat Tien, Bach Ma, Cuc Phuong and Cat Ba, as well as regions of the central highlands like Da Lat and Kon Tum.
For the longer or more adventurous treks and especially those that include staying overnight in the villages, it helps to plan ahead and make arrangements before setting off. This is easily organized through a local tour agent in Vietnam, which can provide a completely bespoke package. Also, there is the option to organize a trek with your guesthouse or even with a guide on arrival at your destination. For some of the treks into remote regions, it may be a requirement to travel with a guide because the locals can still be quite sensitive to foreigners.
Mountain biking is an activity that continues to increase in popularity in Vietnam. Sapa is a great area to visit for the bike tours with plenty of tour operators organizing the excursion to match the particular level of fitness and experience. The biking tour can range from a simple half-day excursion to an outing that lasts multiple days, and includes staying in a homestay for the night. Other great areas for a bike trip include the Mekong Delta, Da Lat, Ninh Binh, Bac Ha and Mai Chau.
Plus, there is a well established biking fraternity in North Vietnam with the option to sign up for a tailor-made tour with an itinerary that goes off-the-beaten-track. A classic tour itinerary can include a motorbike excursion from Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south, with a journey time-frame in the region of 2-3 weeks.
Originally, the cross country biking tour travelled along Highway 1, but with the heavy traffic of buses and trucks, this has been switched to the Ho Chi Minh Highway for the most comfortable travel experience. Plus, this route passes the western Truong Son mountain chain for a very scenic journey.
Vietnam has a coastline that stretches over 2,000 miles to offer a great destination for the water sports enthusiast. However, not every part of the coastline is appropriate for water sports with a few areas potentially dangerous with strong winds and undercurrents at certain times of the year. Most of the large beach resorts put out flags or have guards in place throughout the season to indicate when and where it is safe to swim.
The best beaches for a swim along the coast include those around Nha Trang and Mui Ne, while Da Nang and Hoi An aren’t too far behind. A visit to Mui Ne on the Vietnam tour packages is perfect for the traveller interested in the hugely popular kitesurfing and windsurfing. A paradise island in the Gulf of Thailand is Phu Quoc Island, which is just off Vietnam’s southern coast, and a top destination for scuba diving and snorkelling.
Nha Trang and the Con Dao Islands are further popular destination for a diving trip and best explored with a properly registered and qualified operator.
Other adrenaline-fuelled activities like rock climbing and canyoning are best experienced inland around the rivers and waterfalls in Da Lat. Alternatively; the Cat Ba Island is a great place to combine sightseeing with rock climbing in Halong Bay. Plus, Halong Bay is great for sea kayaking trips via a tour agent and swimming – weather permitting.
For the kitesurfing or windsurfing enthusiast, Mui Ne has built up a solid reputation as a place to visit, and even hosts a few international competitions each spring for these sporting activities.
With over 800 species of birds, Vietnam is a great place for the bird watching enthusiast, especially with the opportunity to see a few birds that are rare and only identified in recent years. The most promising places to visit when travelling in Vietnam for bird watching are the national parks, such as Cat Tien, Bach Ma and Cuc Phuong. For those interested in birding, a great sight is the rare Sarus crane, which is mostly discovered in the Mekong Delta around the Tram Chim National Park, and mostly throughout the dry season.
A trip to the Cat Tien National Park is possible within about 3 hours by road from Ho Chi Minh City, and a great destination for not only the local bird species, but also the larger mammals. This park has a varied range of bird species, including sought-after birds like the Pheasants and Hornbills. Plenty of birding can take place from the main road which helps to avoid travelling off-the-beaten-track and staying away from the leeches. For the most peaceful time bird watching, it helps to avoid the major holidays and weekends.
The Bach Ma National Park is a relatively short distance from Hue (approx 1 hour drive) and has a great infrastructure at the entrance and internally. A great feature of this national park is the varied altitudinal zones which help to attract a complete range of bird species. Pheasants and partridges are among the most sought after but are quite difficult to see. But, there are plenty of other specifics to see in the national parks for both the hard-core bird watcher and amateurs on the tours of Vietnam.