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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
Have you subscribed to our Newsletter or Podcast? Listen to us on Apple Podcast and Spotify and follow us on Facebook, Instagram Twitter and YouTube.
Rad Season's top 5 action sports, adventure, culture events and festivals in 2023