Vietnam is a beacon for people looking for natural beauty, the great outdoors, stunning scenery, and opportunities for walking and trekking. Trekking in Vietnam is varied and always wonderful, particularly in northern Vietnam where there are many different places to visit for different walks of varying difficulties.
One of the best areas in Vietnam for trekking is the region close to the Chinese border in the north of the country, which includes Sapa, Cao Bang, and Ha Giang. If you want to get outdoors in Vietnam you can’t go wrong when you visit this area. It is stunningly beautiful, the people are friendly, and you get a real sense of the indigenous culture of the country when you trek to isolated hill tribes.
When you are planning a trekking trip to Vietnam, try to aim for the dry season, which are the months between October and March. This is a good time to come as you will not generally encounter any problems associated with the rainy season, which is mainly the heat and the humidity which are not ideal for strenuous exercise.
Make sure you are wearing the right clothes and take layers and waterproofs because the weather can change rapidly in the hills, and you may even experience some snow at higher altitudes. Wear high quality walking boots or shoes that you have already tried out and broken in. You may need to take your own sleeping bag with you, depending on whether you are going with an organized tour. And it is important to hire a local guide, or go with a good tour company, as some of the trails are not well-marked and it can be extremely difficult sometimes to navigate around the area.
Best Places for Trekking in Vietnam
Far and away the most well-known and arguably the most picturesque trekking area of Vietnam is Sapa. Sapa has an extraordinary landscape with gently sloping hills and rice fields, and there are many hill tribes and ethnic minority communities living in the area. It is a beautiful area for trekking and the weather is largely good for outdoor activities for most of the year.
You can come to Sapa when you want to climb Vietnam’s highest mountain, Phansipan. And there is a wonderful pass that goes between Sapa town and Lai Chau, the Tram Ton Pass. Stay with local people in a homestay arrangement to get an even deeper immersion into this wonderful country.
2) Hoerang Lien National Park
Hoang Lien is around 15 kilometers from the town of Sapa and it is from here that you can find Mount Phansipan. This is a lovely place for trekking, even if you do not climb the mountain, as there is a rich variety of flora and fauna, and some impressive forests. You can also visit many ethnic villages and meet the people who live deep in the Vietnamese countryside.
3) Ha Giang
A wonderful place with varied and stunning scenery, this is one of the best trekking spots in the whole of the country. Inside this area lie Dong Van Karst Global Geopark, the Meo Vac, Ma Pi Leng Pass, and many more. it is one of the furthest places to visit as it is located in the far north of the country but it is well worth the effort.
4) Dong Van Karst Global Geopark
This park is on the Chinese border. There is an abundance of fossils here in this park, and the area is a stunning site for trekking as well as finding out more about the history of the country. There are a variety of trekking trails and many ethnic groups live in this region.
5) Mai Chau
Another interesting stop in northern Vietnam is Mai Chau, a favorite trekking place for short day walks and more challenging treks up into the mountains. The best spots here are the Pu Luong Nature Reserve and the Hoa Binh Lake. From here you can visit small villages like Van Lac, Hang Kia, and Dong Bang.
6) Pu Luong Nature Reserve
This site was established as a national park in 1999 and it is a good place for some short, light walks and also for cycling. It is a good place to spot birds and wildlife although it is recommended that you come with a local guide in order to best see the wildlife and also to safely navigate the park.
7) Cao Bang
Cao Bang in the northwest is a trekking spot with lots of mountains, some high altitudes, rivers, waterfalls, and jungle. The Ban Gioc waterfall is a particularly impressive feature in this region.
8) Ba Be National Park
In the center of the mountain range in Bac Kan Province, Ba Be National Park has a huge lake and also a lot of other natural features like caves, waterfalls, rivers, and valleys. The area is incredibly picturesque and green.
For more information and places to go trekking in Vietnam, visit PhuketOn. Your guide to Asia travel – PhuketOn.