Home #WHERETONEXT Asia & Pacific 4 Off-Beat Things to Do on Your Trip to Vietnam

4 Off-Beat Things to Do on Your Trip to Vietnam

Vietnam is a dream destination for many, and for good reason. With its dramatic landscape, beautiful beaches, the mesmerizing Mekong Delta, and unique culture, it’s a country that fits the definition of a tropical paradise in every sense of the word.

However, Vietnam is also a place that offers plenty of exciting off-beat experiences that go beyond the usual mundane touch-and-go kind of travel.

Here’s a list of the best off-beat travel experiences that you must try when in Vietnam.

1. Do a Bike Tour in Vietnam

Vietnam is a paradise for cyclists. Pretty much the entire country, from north to south has some amazing cycling routes, with a variety of terrains. You could go cycling in the north, with its dramatic hills if you like riding through the mountains.

Central Vietnam has some amazing coastal scenery and some of the prettiest beaches anywhere in the world such as those around Hue and Hoi An.

Southern Vietnam is home to the Mekong delta. You can also combine cycling in southern Vietnam with a tryst into nearby Cambodia to check out the famous Angkor Wat temple.

We’d suggest opting for a guided bike tour rather than a self-guided one. There are plenty of experienced Vietnam bike tour operators that offer high quality guided tours at great prices.

2. Go Hiking in the Sapa Valley

Located high up in the mountains of northwest Vietnam, Sapa is a paradise for adventure lovers. Vietnam’s highest mountain, Fan Si Pan, located at an altitude of 3,147.3 meters (10,326 ft) above sea level is also located in Sapa. There are plenty of other high mountains in the vicinity. The climate in Sapa is pleasant, and occasionally, it even snows in the winter.

Some great hiking routes in this region are:

  • Binh Lu Valley to Pa Pe village
  • Muong Hoa to Lai Chai to Ta Van
  • Ca Nhay waterfalls and Ban Ho village

The terraced rice fields cut into mountain sides are a special attraction in this region, making for mesmerizing sights. The region is also inhabited by ethnic minority tribes such as the Hmong people who still preserved their ancient tribal culture.

3. Go Kayaking in the Lan Ha Bay

While Halong Bay is famous among tourists in Vietnam, Lan Ha Bay is arguably the more spectacular, and without doubt, less crowded.

Located in northeast Vietnam, Lan Ha Bay has sparkling emerald waters, and numerous limestone karst mountains topped with tropical rainforests, offering a truly mesmerizing experience.

The bay is dotted with several islands, the largest of which is the Cat Ba island. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique ecology, the island is also home to the Cat Ba national park, where resides the critically endangered Cat Ba Langur. A species of old world monkeys, only 68 Cat Ba Langurs are left in the wild today.

There are numerous operators that run kayaking tours in the Lan Ha Bay, and you can pretty much kayak all day long in this beautiful place.

4. Do a Luxury Cruise in the Ha Long Bay

No adventure trip to Vietnam is complete without a visit to the Ha Long bay. And for good reason. The image of boats serenely floating in the Ha Long Bay while the sun goes down behind stunning limestone mountains is perhaps the idea of Vietnam that most visitors carry in their head when they think about the country.

A luxury cruise in Ha Long bay usually unfolds over 2-3 days, and takes you through several amazing spots such as a prehistoric cave, a floating fishing village, visiting a pearl farm and a small island where you swim along the beach. You can even go snorkeling and scuba diving in the bay’s serene waters.

Truly, an experience not to be missed.

Wrapping Up

Vietnam is an incredibly beautiful place all by itself. But to make your experience even special, you can always combine a Vietnam sojourn with an adventure in one of its neighboring Southeast Asian countries. 

For instance, you can always combine a cycling adventure in Vietnam with a Thailand bike tour. Or you can combine trekking in northern Vietnam with a trekking adventure in Laos. Since Cambodia shares a long border with Vietnam, you can always head into Cambodia from Vietnam. The border crossings between the countries are usually smooth, and do not require much hassle.

Happy traveling!