The Ultimate Adventure Guide To Vietnam

Adventure Guide to Vietnam

If you’re looking for a wild journey packed full of exploration feeling like Che Guevara in “The Motorcycle Diaries” – book your next flight to one of the best countries in South East Asia: Vietnam.

Below, we’ve broken down the top festivals and adventure activities throughout Vietnam in each town along the trail and by the time you make your way through the list; when its all over you’ll be saying “Let’s do it again!”

Hanoi

Guide to Vietnam discover the streets of Hanoi

Hanoi is the perfect starting point and has so much to offer. From tasty street food and local street beer costing a few cents to the picturesque streets of old town; this busy city is hard not to fall in love with. Photo credit: Shannon Wolf

Motorbike Madness

guide to vietnam take a motorbike around High Van Pass

Driving over the famous High Van Pass awards you with spectacular views around every bend. Photo credit: Shannon Wolf

Ask anyone who’s been to Vietnam what you should do while you’re there and the first answer will always be “BUY A MOTORBIKE AND DRIVE!”

It is truly an unforgettable voyage as you drive from Hanoi all the way down to Ho Chi Minh with the wind blowing through your hair as you pass by varying landscapes while diving full force into local culture along the way.

If you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten path, do yourself a favor and drive through the North of Vietnam advised by the guru of motorcycle journeys across Vietnam – Vietnam Coracle.

Cat Ba Island

guide to vietnam discover Cat Ba island

The views overlooking Cat Ba Island. Photo credit: Shannon Wolf

Top Rope Rock Climbing & Kayaking

This exhilarating day trip starts off with a leisurely kayaking trip bringing you to your starting point before you gear up to push and pull yourself up 22m above the waters of Lan Ha Bay to uncover spectacular views around.

Note: The best tour company is none other than Asia Outdoors.

Ha Long Bay

Guide to Vietnam take a boat around Ha Long Bay

Sunset over Ha Long Bay. Photo credit: Fudoc Photo

Party Boat Through Ha Long Bay

When you think of Vietnam, you think of the famous Ha Long Bay and trust us, it’s as beautiful as they say!

If you’re looking for a mix of party and landscape; Castaway Tours offers up a 3 day, 2 night and 3hr all-you-can-drink (of beer, vodka or jungle juice) extravaganza while cruising along Halong Bay.

Spend your mornings with a hearty breakfast and afternoon taking in the sights of floating fishing villages, islands and exploring caves by swimming and kayaking.

On the 2nd day, you’re awaken for a striking sunrise before heading to a private island to surf, snorkel, kayak and swim, relax or play one of the many sports available such as volleyball and table tennis. The evening will bring about a beautiful sunset over the bay before your special dinner and dancing the night away.

Your final day is spent cruising along the bay as you enjoy your final breakfast and relaxing before heading back to Hanoi.

Sapa

Guide to Vietnam go trekking in Sapa

Sapa, Vietnam. Photo credit: Rossanna Virgolin

Trekking

If you love the fresh mountain air, traditional villages and wild views surrounded by rice fields and wild flowers; the 3-day trek to Mt. Fan Si Pan is a must and will bring you to a stifling height of 3143m overlooking Lai Chau province.

Cycling

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to explore Sapa by bike; there are various routes to choose from bringing you to a height of 3349m above sea level. Routes can be found easily at Map My Ride.

Phong Nha

Guide to Vietnam enter the dark cave in Phong Nha

Dark Cave, Phong Nha

Spend your day exploring Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park’s Paradise Cave stretching a whopping 31.4km starring up at the massive spiked formations above as well as the cavern floor below filled with pools of calcium deposits.

Next, make your way to The Dark Cave; a favorite amongst travellers leaving you crawling through mud with headlamps on, swimming through its dark interior, kayaking and zip-lining over the river.

Hoi An

guide to vietnam, hoi an lantern festival

Lattern Festival in Hoi An. Photo credit: Carla Cometto

Lantern Festival

Not only is Hoi An one of the most picturesque towns reminiscent of a fairytale with its cobble stoned streets, preserved ancient architecture and tranquil vibe but they also hold a beautiful monthly lantern festival on the 14th day of each lunar month.

As you walk down cobbled streets, you will pass by talented musicians and artists preform as you marvel at the stunning display of candles and lanterns lighting your way.

Be sure to visit the temples this day, as they’re free to the public where monks will preform candlelit ceremonies before your eyes.

Harvest Festival

Also known as the “Mid-Autumn Festival”; you can indulge your taste buds in local sweets and partake in many activities amongst locals and travellers on the 14th and 15th of the lunar month. Enjoy art exhibits, lion dancers, parades and of course hundreds of paper-lanterns dancing along the riverbanks in Hoi An.

Buddha’s Birthday

Again, Hoi An is the place to be to celebrate the birth of Buddha on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month and not to miss while you’re in Vietnam. Buddha’s Birthday is a great insight on local culture with colorful evening street parades, vegetarian dishes made by street vendors, lanterns being released along the river and a day packed full of traditional ceremonies held at various temples.

Dalat

guide to vietnam go canyoning in Dalat

Canyoning the 65m waterfall in Dalat will be sure to get your heart pumping. Photo credit: Shannon Wolf

Canyoning 65m Waterfall

Want to get your heart pumping on a full day of adrenaline? Don’t miss your chance to do a full day of Canyoning while in Dalat.

Your day begins with off-roading in a jeep through the jungles of Vietnam, trading your clothes for a wet suit, helmet and safety lessons before your plunge into the icy waters after abseiling down your first waterfall.

From here on out you go backwards and head first down the canyon slide and as you make your way down the remaining 5 waterfalls, they become increasingly higher until the mammoth at a height of 65m before cliff jumping to end off the day. It’s a wild adventure from start to finish and our #1 recommendation while in Dalat!

White Water Rafting

Get a workout as you paddle with strength at full speed through 11km of rushing waters over 10 rapids screaming with excitement before free jumping from 11m as everyone cheers you on! Along the way, you will also stop along a lush countryside village to try weasel coffee and rice wine, a silk factory and the elephant waterfall before heading back to town after an extreme day of enjoyment.

Mountain Biking

Get off the beaten path and hop on a bike to ride the strenuous 29km around Lang Biang Mountain to enjoy swimming in the crystal waters of Tham Pham waterfall!

Mui Ne

Guide to vietnam sand boarding in mui ne

On the sand dunes of Mui Ne, you can also opt for dune sliding on crazy carpets! Photo credit: Shannon Wolf

Ride an Ostrich

In the south of Vietnam in the town of Mui Ne, for $3 you can burst out in tears laughing as you ride the wild beast for a lap around the pen being sure to have video footage of proof to your friends that it in fact happened.

Off-Roading Sand Dunes

After you’ve ridden an Ostrich, why not get on a 4×4 and plow through sand dunes that look like you’ve been transported to the desert. The views from atop are a 360 view of the surrounding area and lake that will leave you speechless over the diversity that Vietnam has to offer.

Kite Surfing

Catch some air in the kite surfing capital of Mui Ne overlooking the town and blue waters below for a higher perspective of the country!

Ho Chi Minh

Guide to vietnam try the street food in ho chi minh

Street Food in Ho Chi Minh. Photo credit: Stacie Chan

Feasting on Street Food

In Ho Chi Minh’s bustling city known for it’s street food, its imperative that you tantalize your taste buds in Vietnams delicious cuisine and drinks.

Many tours are offered around the city, bringing you to the best spots serving up dishes such as:

– Bánh cuốn (rice cake styled spring rolls filled with minced pork, dried shrimp and mushrooms)
– Bún riêu (a broth made of crab meat stock, tomatoes, rice noodles, fried tofu, meatballs, chunks of pork, congealed pigs blood and shrimp or crab paste)Bún mắm (fermented fish broth, rice vermicelli noodles and an array of seafood and meats)
– Bún thịt nướng (chopped up herbs and lettuce, rice vermicelli noodles, skewers of grilled pork, fish sauce, chives and green onions, and pickles.)
– Bánh khọt (mini coconut custard pancakes)
– Cha gio (Vietnamese deep fried spring rolls fried with mung bean noodles, minced pork and a blend of spices)
– Goi cuon (summer spring rolls filled with rice noodles, pork, shrimp, lettuce and basil

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Shannon Wolf

Born in Toronto, Canada, Shannon Wolf has lived and worked around the globe as a freelance writer and photographer. Over the years her work has been featured and published both in print and online in various publications. Shannon has travelled over 40+ countries on 4 continents in the last 3 years and is an avid food lover and adventurer with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping.

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