Amazing adventure holidays in Vietnam
Magnificent mountains. Bewitching bays. Vietnam’s mind-boggling geography lends itself to an extraordinary collection of sport and adventure holidays. Swim from island to island, hike a circuit of remote villages, camp within the largest caves on the planet, weave your way on a bike through highlands and coastline. Here are four adventurous holiday ideas for your next trip to Vietnam.
Hiking through Lao Cai
It’s easy to think the highlands surrounding Sapa in Lao Cai were created for eye-popping hiking trips. This is one of Southeast Asia’s highest mountain ranges, where ancient footpaths zigzag through thick jungles and along gushing rivers. One of the best ways to explore the northern mountains is on a hike spanning several days, giving you the time to absorb the diversity of the destination. The cultural kaleidoscope is a match for the topography. As you hike from village to village, you’ll sit down to dinner with a range of different ethnic groups, each with their own language, architecture, and traditional dress.
Lào CaiLào Cai, Lao Cai, Vietnam
Open water swimming in Lan Ha Bay
Move over overnight cruising; hello open water swimming! Lan Ha Bay, Halong Bay’s shy little sister, provides all the visual drama of its more famous neighbour, with far fewer cruise ships. Experienced swimmers have new options for exploring this surreal setting, diving and gliding from island to island, stopping at secret beaches on the way. At the end of the day, tuck into a barbecue of fresh seafood or knock back a sundowner looking out to a deep orange sky. There are cultural experiences, too, with centuries-old floating villages nestled within the bay.
Lan Ha BayLan Ha Bay, Vietnam
Climbing in Hữu Lũng
At the south of the buffer zone of the Nature Reserve of Hữu Liên, well-known as a haven of biodiversity, you’ll find the commune of Yên Thịnh in the district of Hữu Lũng. Originally bolted to provide a quality outdoor crag for the growing Hanoi climbing community, the quality of the 110 climbing routes in Hữu Lũng and its wild landscapes have earned it a second-place spot on Lonely Planet’s list of the “best rock climbing destinations in Southeast Asia.”
Huu LungHuu Lung, Tân Thành, Hữu Lũng District, Lạng Sơn, Vietnam
Caving in Son Doong and Hang En
Sơn ĐoòngSơn Đoòng, Thượng Trạch, Bố Trạch District, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
In the market for an exceptional adventure? Then head to Phong Nha and embark on an expedition to Son Doong and Hang En, the largest and third-largest caves in the world, respectively. In Hang En you’ll be greeted by a cacophony of chirps from thousands of swifts that nest in the 100 metre-high ceiling. There’s also a sandy beach for camping and a semi-circular natural pool for swimming. Son Doong is nine times longer than Hang En. The cave is punctuated by two enormous ceiling collapses that create unique underground jungles. Despite Son Doong’s superlative status, you’re never in complete darkness because the collapses allow enormous shafts of light to pierce the ceiling.
Hang En (Swallow Cave)Hang En (Swallow Cave), ĐT562, Tân Trạch, Bố Trạch District, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
Cycling from Hue to Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam’s jagged coastline lends itself to some heart-pounding road bike adventures. You can cover a lot of ground quickly on two wheels. Take in the country’s diverse geography, skirting around serene bays and climbing lush highlands all in one day. The route from Hue to Ho Chi Minh City covers intense mountain passes, crumbling ancient towns and cities of skyscrapers. Best of all, you can stay in hand-picked accommodations and sample changing regional flavours as you head from the spicy centre to the sweet south.
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