Adventure seekers rejoice! From steep jagged peaks to plunging green valleys and jungles filled with abundant wildlife, a Vietnam hiking trip enables you to experience some of the most remarkable scenery in Southeast Asia.
Presenting a range of challenges, hiking in Vietnam suits anyone from novice trekkers to extreme hobbyists; whatever the case, everyone will love the pristine landscapes presented by Vietnam’s trekking trails. For those heading north, tours to Sapa from Hanoi are among the most popular trekking trails offering travellers an insight into the hill tribes of the northern regions and a favourable colder climate.
However, there isn’t just one place to find the best hiking in Vietnam; each destination offers something different from tiers of rice fields and soaring limestone mountains to mouthwatering food, rich history, ancient villages and a pristine coastline.
With over 2,000 miles of coastline, a 1,500-year history, three major city hubs and traditions that will warm your heart, choosing to trek Vietnam will be a trip you’ll never forget.
The Top 9 Iconic Destinations for Trekking in Vietnam
Presenting some of the subcontinent’s best nature experiences, we’ve narrowed down the nine most iconic trekking destinations that will offer something for everyone regardless of where they sit on the hiking experience spectrum.
#1 Sapa Vietnam Trekking
A vibrant green northern paradise, Sapa is no secret. Sapa trekking tours from Hanoi are extremely popular with those that would like to extend the cultural reach of their Vietnam trip to spending a few days in the hills hiking to remote villages.
Whilst Sapa is well-trodden (excuse the pun), there are still many routes and trails that make it feel as though trekking North Vietnam is still a secret. Depending on how long you are looking to spend hiking Sapa, Vietnam, you can choose from a wide range of routes, all varying in distance, difficulty and length.
One thing is for certain that on any Sapa trek in Vietnam, you’ll be greeted with spectacular mountain views, tiered rice paddies and unique culture as you encounter some of the Vietnamese ethnic minorities that call these mountains home.
Explore the villages of Cat Cat Village, Lao Chai, Sin Chai and more on this three-day Sapa Vietnam trekking tour.
#2 Jungle Trek in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park
Home to 30 national parks protecting the abundant wildlife and beautiful marine, coastal and inland scenery, jungle trekking in Vietnam presents an array of opportunities. If you’re looking to go trekking in South Vietnam then look no further than Cat Tien National Park, the country’s own treasure trove of biodiversity.
From gibbons to wild boars and sambar deer, Cat Tien National Park enables visitors to see a number of endangered species in the wild. Just 160 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City, Cat Tien is the perfect break from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you’re not looking to spend multiple days trekking in Vietnam’s jungle then Cat Tien gives you the opportunity to delve into the rare flora and fauna on an overnight trip from the southern metropolis.
With trails of varying distance, you’ll be led through the park’s great ecosystem, past 100-year-old trees with exposed roots taller than you. You’ll hope to spot rare gibbons, over 400 species of butterfly and a number of the 79 reptile species which call these lands home.
Let one of our expert Local Suppliers in Vietnam take the headache out of organising and planning your Vietnam hiking trip.
#3 Cao Bang – Alternative Hiking in Northern Vietnam
One of the greatest destinations for Vietnam trekking tours, Cao Bang’s karst mountain scenery, deep gorges, tiered rice paddies and astonishing waterfalls form the perfect backdrop to any adventure.
Situated on the Chinese border in the depths of Northern Vietnam, the Cao Bang province is home to the Ban Gioc Waterfall which makes for one of the most scenic hikes in the country. One of the most majestic waterfalls in Southeast Asia, Ban Gioc can be reached in less than a day on a short trekking tour of North Vietnam.
Alternatively, it can make up one part of a four-day tour which takes you through a series of tribal villages, to famous caves and through the fascinating Ba Be National Park. Connect with one of our Local Suppliers in Vietnam if this sounds like your ideal trip.
#4 Trekking Da Lat, Vietnam’s Highland Region
Perched 1,500 metres above sea level in Vietnam’s southern central region, Da Lat was a French colonial resort town that flourished into a city adored by locals and expats alike. If you’re on the hunt for Vietnam’s stunning karst scenery and endless beaches, then Da Lat is not the place. However, what you will find here is a refreshingly cool climate, tumbling waterfalls, a thriving local culture and endless hiking trails.
For those that love an adventure, Vietnam’s Da Lat is your playground; hiking, rock climbing, camping, caving and more are on offer. From its history as a colonial town, Da Lat has held onto its little ‘touch of Europe’ making for a wonderful place to spend a few days.
Those interested in trekking Vietnam’s central highlands will want to head just outside of Da Lat’s centre to Lang Biang Mountain, a symbol of the city. The gentle trekking trail, perfect for beginners, takes around four hours to complete. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with the view of Da Lat city from the height of 2,167 metres.
Design your own Vietnam hiking tour to Da Lat with the help of one of our trusted Local Suppliers.
#5 Ha Giang Trekking
Much more than a Hanoi day trip to Sapa, the northern province of Ha Giang is equidistant from the northern capital but offers a different experience to its more popular counterpart. As the northernmost province of the country before you hit China, Ha Giang is sometimes referred to as the ‘final frontier of Vietnam’.
Ha Giang is known for its sweeping views, karst mountains, colourful ethnic minorities and, come spring, its carpet of blooming flowers. Whilst its deep valleys and high peaks are awe-inspiring, trekking Ha Giang in Vietnam is more for those that are looking for shorter routes. Several trails run through the valleys, along the mountains from one remote village to the next. However, the views at every turn are utterly tremendous.
One of the mountain passes – Ma Pi Leng – offers a panoramic view of limestone peaks, deep canyons and mountain ranges stretching as far as the eye can see, dotted with green fields and the occasional settlement.
For those that are looking to ‘get off the beaten track’, Ha Giang is the place. Strolling on the gentle paths between villages home to ethnic minorities you never know what you might find; from grazing buffalo, ladies weaving baskets and over-excited children at the sight of ‘foreigners’.
Plan your perfect Ha Giang trekking experience in Vietnam with one of our Local Suppliers who can tailor a trip to suit your budget, interests and travel style.
#6 Pu Luong Nature Reserve – Hanoi Hiking Day Trip
From a starting point like Hanoi, trekking opportunities are abundant in the north of Vietnam. If you’re not looking to spend your entire trip hiking North Vietnam, then looking to the nature reserves scattered beyond the capital offer the perfect opportunity.
Just under 100 miles from Hanoi, Pu Luong Nature Reserve is home to two mountain ranges facing each other with a valley in between. In the valley, you’ll find tiered, lush green rice terraces, limestone hills and forests. Covering an area of almost 18,000 hectares, Pu Luong is the biggest nature reserve in Northern Vietnam.
Best explored on an overnight trek, you’ll encounter stunning waterfalls, endless rice terraces, mountain scenery and ethnic communities. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, you can hike the 9,793-foot Mount Phu Luong.
Explore Pu Luong Nature Reserve on this three-day North Vietnam trekking trip which takes you on a journey through this tranquil corner of earth.
#7 Bach Ma – Trekking Hue, Vietnam
Central Vietnam’s beauty cannot be disputed. Stretching mountain ranges, incredible coastal scenery, beautiful waterfalls and abundant wildlife await you when trekking Central Vietnam. Bach Ma National Park in Hue is no exception.
Sitting 1,450 metres above sea level, Bach Ma National Park was first discovered by a French architect in 1932 and was later transformed into a luxury French retreat favoured for its cooler climate. Inside the national park is a vast ecosystem filled with over 2,000 species of plants and over 1,500 species of animals.
There are three major trekking routes in Bach Ma National Park, the most popular is the 4,757-foot Hai Cong Dai Mountain – the highest point in the park. The route to the top of the mountain is 16 kilometres long and takes around four to five hours to complete. The challenging trek is truly rewarding as from the top, you’ll be greeted with stunning views of the entire Bach Ma range, Truc Lam Temple and Truoi Lake.
If you’re keen to spend your next trip trekking Central Vietnam then connect with one of our Local Suppliers in Vietnam to make your dream trip a reality.
#8 Trekking Central Vietnam’s Paradise, Phong Nha Ke-Bang National Park
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, Phong Nha Ke-Bang National Park (Phong Nha for short) is one of Vietnam’s most unique national parks. Home to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, and over 64.6 miles of underground rivers and caves, Phong Nha is a remarkable place to go trekking.
Trekking national parks in Vietnam offer an array of different challenges and routes, as does Phong Nha. One of the most popular day treks is through Paradise Cave which leads you on a 4.3-mile trek deep into the cave before turning around. There are also a number of overnight treks which take you deeper into Phong Nha’s fascinating karst mountain scenery, deep into the jungle and through caves. You’ll spend your breaks cooling off in waterfalls and underground rivers.
Those with a chunk of spare cash and time on their hands would be in favour of the four-day trek into Son Doong cave, the cave with a cavern so big a Boeing 747 could fly through it. Whatever sort of trekking trip you’re looking for, our Local Suppliers in Vietnam can make it a reality.
#9 Trekking Fansipan, Vietnam’s Tallest Mountain
Known as the ‘Roof of Indochina’, Mount Fansipan is the highest peak in Vietnam at a staggering 3,143 metres (10,312 feet). Situated in the northern mountain province of Sapa, you can reach the start of the varying trails to the top of Fansipan on an overnight train from Hanoi.
The pride of local residents, whilst trekking up Mount Fansipan, you can expect to encounter serene gardens, beautiful pagodas and friendly locals making their way up or down the mountain. From the summit, the views are captivating but don’t expect to be alone up there. With access by cable car and various ‘easier’ routes, Mount Fansipan sees around 1,000 trekkers every day.
There are three routes to reach the top, each varying in length and difficulty. The easiest route is from Tram Tom which enables you to return on the same trail, taking a total of three days to ascend and descend the mountain.
If trekking Fansipan appeals to you, then connect with one of our Local Suppliers in Vietnam to start planning your dream hiking trip to Vietnam.
How to Prep for Your Vietnam Trek
Take the following preparatory steps into consideration to ensure you experience the best trekking in Vietnam;
- Think about where you want to go and try not to cram too many places into one trip as you could spend most of your trip travelling.
- Be prepared for the mental, as well as the physical, challenge that comes with trekking.
- Strongly consider hiring a guide for a more authentic, knowledgeable experience.
- Hire porters for more challenging routes so that you can truly enjoy the trek.
- Make sure you have comfortable footwear that you have broken in before the trek.
When to Go Trekking in Vietnam
It almost goes without saying but before embarking on any trekking trip, it’s important to check the weather and be prepared for any eventuality. Vietnam experiences drastically different climates in different regions at the same time of the year.
With this in mind, it’s important to plan your trip to ensure it coincides with the best possible trekking season for the destination you’ve picked.
Best Time to Trek North Vietnam
The most ideal time for a Northern Vietnam trekking trip is from late September to October. Post rainy season, the scenery is picture-perfect and the climate is pleasantly cool. Later into the year, the temperatures can drop so bear this in mind.
Best Time to Trek South Vietnam
Unlike the north, the south of Vietnam experiences pleasantly warm weather year-round. However, you should look to avoid the height of summer (March to May) and the rainy season (June to November). The best time to trek South Vietnam is the shoulder seasons when the weather is cooler and the rain holds off.
Best Time to Trek Central Vietnam
During its rainy season, Central Vietnam is frequented by big storms and typhoons. In order to avoid these harsh trekking conditions, travellers should avoid Central Vietnam between August and November. November to February can be a little cool and wet but come March, the weather turns and you have a few months of optimal hiking conditions before the heat becomes unbearable in June and August.
Want to Create Your Own Trekking Tour Through Vietnam?
Our Local Suppliers in Vietnam are experts when it comes to designing custom trips to suit your budget, travel style and interest. Whether you want to make your entire trip about trekking in different destinations in Vietnam or you’d like a mix of everything, our Local Suppliers can make it possible.