Vietnam might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of holiday destinations, especially if you are an adventurous tourist. You will be pleasantly surprised, however. There are a large number of activities in this beautiful country, which has shaken off its legacy of war.

For those who like scuba diving, the central coast of Vietnam offers many opportunities for this activity. The new Hon Mun Marine Park, consisting of the islands around the coastal town of Nha Trang, is arguably the best area for diving in the country. There are mostly smaller fish and it is an excellent site for less experienced divers, as there aren’t any sharks or mantas.

Wildlife safari holidays   in Vietnam are very exciting and varied. The flora and fauna of this tropical country is exotic and much attention is being given to conservation of the ecology. Elephants roam alongside bears, tigers, monkeys and squirrels and more than 800 species of birds live in forests, including rain forests. Travelling and camping with seasoned guides among habitats varying from equatorial lowlands to temperate plateaus and even alpine peaks is an experience of a lifetime for nature lovers.

Mountain biking tours are especially popular in the far north west of Vietnam. The roads are quiet and far from the hectic highways and the scenery is beautiful and diverse. Mingling with the many hill tribe people such as the Hmong and Tsao is fascinating and enriching. Riding is not easy, as the terrain is rocky and mountainous but well worth the effort.

Motorcycle tours

Another way of seeing the country close up is on a motorcycle tour. Most start off in Hanoi but go anywhere you wish. There are no pre-scheduled tours, so you need to make a booking for your group. This will then be a private and customized tour where you can decide on the itinerary. You need not have any of your own equipment, as everything can be rented. Motorcycles could be road bikes, off-road or enduro, depending on the terrain to be covered. You could even hire little mopeds on which to explore the cities, whether as part of a tour group or on your own.

Tourists who enjoy extreme water adventures will enjoy white river rafting, especially on the Langbian River. You need not have any experience to enjoy this exciting activity. You will be supplied with a life jacket, helmet and (in colder areas) a wetsuit. Kayaking in the Ha Long Bay in the northeast is especially spectacular, considering the hundreds of islands and crystal clear shallow water. You can explore the many caves and lagoons at a leisurely pace and swim off the many beautiful sandy beaches.

Food tourism

Food lovers will have a marvellous time in Vietnam. There are a large variety of food tours. Nearly every village has a few people who are eager to teach you about the local dishes and about Vietnam’s fusion cuisine, with influences from a number of countries through the ages. Along with this, there is village tourism. You will live in the home of your host family and will be able to share their daily chores with them, eat their food and get to know their customs first hand.

Other adventure activities in Vietnam include wind surfing and kite surfing in Mui Ne Bay and a very wide range of walking tours of varying levels of difficulty. For tourists interested in cycling, the most popular destinations are Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hue. Sailing courses are presented in many areas, including courses on dinghies or larger boats.


Shelley Brown writes regularly on adventure travel for a range of travel websites and blogs. She is a seasoned adventure holiday   traveller and enjoys visiting off the beaten track destinations. She has been on several safari holidays in Africa and Asia.

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