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Best Places to Trek in Vietnam

Best Places to Trek in Vietnam

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Nov. 2, 2022

Whether you’re a soft-adventure fan or a seasoned trekker, Vietnam offers excellent experiences in jungle trekking, mountain hiking and city strolling.

Sapa is a go-to trekking destination up in the northern mountains. Along the central coast you can do a 2-day trek in one of the National Parks or follow the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Other popular destinations are: the beautiful green valley of Mai Chau, easily reachable from Hanoi and ideal for a 2-day trip; the longest cave in Southeast Asia in Phong Nha-Ke Bang; or the jungle experience along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, good for seasoned trekkers.

The hot season is ideal for trekking, a period blessed with sunny days and gorgeous green landscapes. First obtain a comprehensive guide and destination list for your Vietnam trip.

  • Hike in the jungle of Can Tien National Park
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Trekking in Vietnam

Vietnam is a country blessed with a good weather almost all year round, so trekking is possible all the time. If, however, you really want to get the best out of your experience, we recommend trekking in the northern hills (for example in Sapa), especially during the hot season, from April to September.

From north to south, Vietnam offers different and amazing landscape. The nature is rich and varied, truly breathtaking.

Trekking will give you a chance to get close to the exotic lifestyles of the ethnic minorities living in the countryside and on the mountains. It is a unique opportunity to blend in with the local and experience the essence of the country.

Trekking is also an economically and environmentally friendly way to travel, away from smog, cars, traffic and big cities. And it is also extremely healthy and rewarding!

Apart from all this, maybe the most important thing is the quality time you can have with your loved ones: taking your family for a trek on the Vietnamese hills is something that will be worth the travel.

For families, we highly recommend 1 or 2 days of trekking: the treks are easy and slow-paced. You will have your own professional guide, and it is a great chance for the kids to learn a lot about nature and different lifestyles.

For adults, it is a good way to relax mentally and have a break from everyday life.

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Top places to trek in Vietnam

Here you can find the best places in the country to trek: choose the one that suits you best – every place is unique and offers a different and unforgettable experience.

Trekking in Sapa

With its rice terraces, Sapa is one of the most famous places in Vietnam. It is in the north of the country, and the best way to go there is via bus or train from Hanoi. The two cities are 320 km apart, so you cannot visit Sapa on a day-trip.

There is plenty to choose from: from a half-day trip to a full-day hike. You can also choose to spend several days exploring the area.

If you are willing, we recommend a home-stay. Trekking in Sapa means to go up and down the hills and visit the numerous villages everywhere, always surrounded by a view of the rice terraces.

The best time to visit Sapa is from March to May: the sky is clear, the weather is nice, the flowers are blooming, and the view is amazing… truly unforgettable.

Mai Chau Trekking

Mai Chau is 135 km from Hanoi, home to a beautiful green valley with numerous villages.

We recommend a 2-day trip from Hanoi: in addition to trekking, you will have a chance to join exciting activities such as biking to villages to see the rice fields, weaving scarves, watching traditional music shows and much more.

On the first day, you will trek among the rice terraces and visit the local villages. If you choose a home-stay, you will have a chance to help cook a meal for everyone and learn something about the local culture.

On the second day, you will take a car to reach another area and keep trekking among rice terraces and villages like Sam Khoe.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang

Starting from Phong Nha town, you can visit this beautiful national park on a day trip.

The main attractions are the 8 Ladies Cave, the memorial temple for soldiers who died there during the war, and Paradise Cave.

Paradise Cave is about 10 km from the other cave. It is full of stalactites and stalagmites, and is the longest cave in South East Asia (31 km). After lunch here, you will visit the Nuoc Mooc Spring for a relaxing swim.

Ho Chi Minh Trail Trekking

The trail is a logistical system built during the 1960s, and is one of the greatest achievements of military engineering of the last century.

Trekking here means to experience the lives of that generation of Vietnamese soldiers. The trail goes through the country, and maybe the best way to reach it is to start from Hue (about 3 hours away).

A typical tour starts and ends in Phong Nha and covers 16 km. It involves a night camping with experienced guides who teach you how to survive in the jungle.

After obtaining supplies at the local market, you will head to a farm for dinner. Then you trek to your campsite, and sit on the beach around a clear natural spring where you can swim and relax. After spending a night in the forest, you will trek back to Phong Nha early in the afternoon.

If you are an experienced trekker, we recommend a 3-day trip on this trail.

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Cat Tien National Park

Located about 160 km from Ho Chi Minh City, a trip to this national park usually takes two days (summer is especially recommended).

After entering the park, you will cross the Dong Nai River to reach the park’s center, where you will check in and have lunch.

After lunch you will start walking on a 3 km ecological route inside the jungle, home to many species of flowers.

On the second day, a jeep will bring you outside the main road for a 5 km trip to Crocodile Lake station. Here you can enjoy some activities such as rowing and birdwatching.

You will leave the park on a boat crossing the river and then take a bus back to Saigon.

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Tips for trekking in Vietnam

  • Choose your route wisely: take your physical condition, travel duration and who you are traveling with into consideration. If you are traveling with children under 15 years of age, it is better to do soft trekking of 2 days’ maximum.
  • If you are hardcore trekkers, we’ll make special arrangements to bring the trip up to another level.
  • Normally, one major tourist city (such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) requires at least 2 full days. Add one or two extra days if you are up for a trek.
  • Travel light: bring necessary gear and a light day-pack, and buy anything else you need on the road.
  • Trek in small groups: For safety, we recommend trekking trips for small groups of no more than 10 people. It may be easier to keep up with the pace. All our tours can be customized.
  • Getting a tour guide is essential to: know the right direction and good places for unique sceneries; have a better chance to learn about the locals; avoid language barriers. Our trekking tour guides have been professionally trained and all possess first-aid skills.
  • Weather can be unpredictable: bring hat, gloves, sunglasses, sun screen, raincoat, and waterproof shoes.
  • Respect nature and different cultures: be open-minded about different lifestyles and get used to some simple accommodation. Don’t litter when trekking in the wilderness and protect water resources.

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