Adventures in Vietnam

  
Adventures in Vietnam
With a surreal landscape of limestone islands in Halong Bay, some of the world's most spectacular caves in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, buzzing cities with a tornado of motorbikes in Hanoi, and with an absolutely breathtaking and exotic outdoor appeal, Vietnam is a thrill seeker's paradise. Whether you are into watersports like kayaking, diving, snorkeling and surfing, or you pump your adrenaline inland with activities such as trekking, cycling and motorcycling, there are world-class adventure opportunities for every adventure seeker.
Planning
As Southeast Asian country, Vietnam's climate may vary drastically and is monsoon-dependant. As such, you need to carefully plan your trip and what season will suit best itinerary so you can make the most of this wonderful country.
If you are into surfing and kitesurfing, the best time to catch the waves is from November to April. If you are surfer, however, you might want to avoid these months as the water visibility is quite poor; the best time for you dive would be during the months of June, July and August.
If you like outdoorsy activities that involve climbing and trekking, you might want to avoid the rainy season from May to September.
Trekking
From highland valleys to limestone mountains, Vietnam is blessed such dramatic scenery that surpasses any trekker's expectations.
Safety
Whether you are an experienced hiker or an amateur, Vietnam can become a dangerous place to trek if you explore remote paths on your own. As the country is also full of unexplored terrain, you should hire a local guide. Fortunately, they usually speak English, they are unexpensive and they can communicate with tribal villagers.
Whether you are on a budget or not, it might be worth it to invest in boots with ankle support if you are planning on trekking in Vietnam.
Best trekking
The best area to go trekking is Northern Vietnam where you will find ethereal mountain paths and beautiful trails across wonderful national parks. Trekkers from all over the world flock to Sapa, Vietnam's trekking Mecca. Boasting dramatic scenery, spellbinding tribal villages, impressive mountains and bright green rice paddies, Sapa attracts so many hikers that trails can get very crowded and there are plenty hiking operators and hire stores (renting out sleeping bags, boots and waterproof gear). Although there are many hikers around, you'll need a local guide to explore remote paths.
Bac Ha is another unmissable spot for trekkers, which offers fascinating highland hiking opportunities, along with picturesque village homestays. While Mai Chau offers ethereal landscapes and the mysticism of tribal villages, Dong Van offers top-class mountain scenery.
If you go to central Vietnam, it is imperative you hike across the limestone hills of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park where you'll also be able to explore the world's largest cave, Hang Son Doong.
Nature lovers are in for a treat in Southern Vietnam, which boasts amazing national parks, such as Yok Don National Park, where you might get a glimpse of a mammal, and Cat Tien National Park, home to crocodiles.
Motorbiking
Riding a motorcycle in Vietnam is probably the best way to get your adrenaline pumping, particularly because your survival instincts will be at their prime when you try to find yourself at a 4-way intersection with no traffic lights and tsunami of bikers on the road. Apart from the thrill of survival, motorbiking is the best way to soak in the local culture, not only because it's Vietnamese's favourite mode of transport, but also because commuting on two wheels allows brings you a step a step closer the country's smells, people and scenery. Riding a motorcycle is also an exciting way to explore a city and it shows you the place from a different perspective.
Surfing
Dotted with a good left-hand break, Bai Dai beach is an ideal spot for experienced surfers. Amateurs, however, should head instead to Mui Ne, which boasts multiple breaks around the bay, including short- and left-handers. In season and when conditions are perfect, you can catch some of the best waves in Vung Tau.
Diving and snorkelling
Although Vietnam's underwater world is not as impressive as other Southeast Asian countries', it might still be worth seeing, but don't expect excellent visibility. The most popular diving spots are around Nha Trang, Cham Islands and Phu Quoc Island. Just do some research before hiring a tour operator as there are some dodgy dive shops in the country. Go online and look for reputable dive schools with certified instructors and equipment in optimum conditions.

 

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