9 ways to experience Vietnam

For adventurous travellers seeking an experience in an exotic destination rich in culture, history and geographic splendor, few can resist the lure of Vietnam. Stretching down the southeast coast of Asia, Vietnam is full of magnificent emerald mountains, bustling cities, lush jungles, laid-back river villages and rich historical legacies. With so many experiences to be had, there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in this spectacular country.

How many, exactly?

We’ve narrowed down the top 9 ways to experience Vietnam. Find out how you can visit the mountains on foot and interact with friendly locals, or visit the highlights of Vietnam by bike and cycle through rural villages. Discover the river cruising options that take you past vibrant floating markets, and what family adventures await. With eco retreats, multi-activity adventures, community projects and more, rest assured whatever your travel-style is, there’s an adventure waiting for you.

  1. Trek through Vietnam

Sapa_trek-mediumVietnam offers excellent trekking opportunities in the north that allow travellers to experience a range of pretty landscapes first hand – from the cascading rice paddies, soaring limestone mountains and the deep highland valleys. One of the most spectacular regions to trek is in the cool mountains of the Sapa region in northwest Vietnam. Famous for its picture postcard scenery, minority villages and dramatic mountain trails, there is no shortage of fun to be had in this region. There is a photographic opportunity every step along the way as you meander along agricultural mountainsides, passing bubbling rivers that are crossed on quaint wooden bridges and lead to small farming villages where the locals come out of the fields to welcome you. Combined with a visit to Hanoi, this is a perfect way to experience the diversity of Vietnam.

Experience It!

Trek in the beautiful valleys of Sapa in Vietnam's remote northwest on the 7 day Sapa Trek. Departing daily year round, this is your chance to experience an area of stunning natural beauty home to diverse ethnic minority hilltribes. Book your space now

  1. Cycle through Vietnam

Image credit: Richard I'Anson

Vietnam has established as one of the leading travel destinations in South East Asia, thanks to its distinctive culture, fascinating history and incredible geography. Its buzzing cities, ancient towns and rural villages are studded with limestone mountains, deep-green countryside, tranquil highlands and palm fringed beaches. One of the most spectacular ways to discover this diversity is to soak it all in while in the saddle. Exploring the unspoilt charm of this country off the beaten path and on two wheels allows travellers to experience Vietnam’s friendly, welcoming and hospitable culture first hand. As you cycle by small countryside towns, be prepared to meet curious and friendly locals, where invitations to visit their homes are a frequent occurrence.

Experience It!

Join the Vietnam By Bike Tour, a 15 day exploration of the Vietnamese coastline. Beginning in Hanoi, you’ll explore the spectacular Ninh Binh and Halong Bay, pass through ever-changing landscapes along the highlands, beaches and coconut groves before making your way to Ho Chi Minh City. Find out more

  1. Take a river cruise down the Mekong River

Floating_market-mediumAnyone visiting Vietnam simply cannot pass up a visit to the powerful Mekong River. The longest river in Southeast Asia, the Mekong runs through China’s Yunnan province, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia before finally passing through Vietnam and emptying into the South China Sea. There's a world of life in this historically significant river, home to a myriad of villages that reside along its lush banks, and the best way to explore these intricate villages is by river cruise. As you cruise down the Mekong River at a gentle pace, you’ll see a part of Vietnam that other travellers rarely experience. Cruise past lush rice paddies, fruit orchards and fish farms and encounter the villages and towns that reside along – or float on top of – the river itself. A cruise along the Mekong is the perfect way to gain insight into local life and to explore the pristine eco-environments unreachable by anything other than a river boat.

Experience It!

Book on the Mekong Explorer River Cruise and take a journey into the heart of Indochina in comfort and style. Find out more

  1. Relax in a Vietnamese Eco Retreat

Sapa_eco_lodge_view-mediumIf you want to relax in the pristine and untouched environments of Vietnam, then a stay at an eco-lodge is a must. Experience the highlights of northern Vietnam including the ethnic communities, deep valleys and breathtaking mountain scenery. After only a few days soaking up the mountain views of the Hoang Lein National Park, you can be guaranteed you’ll leave refreshed and rejuvenated. The Topas Ecolodge in the Sapa region of Vietnam is largely untouched by the modern ways of life – which means no distractions from the panoramic vistas and exciting day walks available in the area.

Experience It!

Discover North Vietnam's fascinating ethnic minority groups and stunning terraced landscapes on the Sapa Eco Retreat trip with World Expeditions. Learn More

  1. Join a multi activity adventure

Image credit: Richard I'Anson

If your idea of the perfect trip is one that challenges your mind and body each day, and is jam-packed with adventures, activities and exhilaration, then a multi-activity adventure in Vietnam is a must! Taking active adventures as you travel gives you a real opportunity to experience the diverse landscape of the country. If you can’t choose between exploring national parks on foot, cycling the rural roads or kayaking the tranquil bays, then why not do it all? Vietnam provides the perfect destination where active travellers can have their cake and eat it too!

Experience It!

Join on the Hike, Bike and Kayak Vietnam trip and paddle, cycle and trek around northern Vietnam as you gain a fascinating insight into the diverse cultures of this wonderful country. Find out more

  1. Take an adventure tour

Credit: Richard I'Anson Credit: Richard I'Anson

Adventure tours are the ideal way to combine spectacular places, local interactions and light physical challenges with an unforgettable experience. If you’re a spirited adventurer who likes to get off the beaten track while still dining, sleeping and travelling in comfort, an adventure tour that encounters the highlights of Vietnam is the perfect way to experience the country. Get involved with local communities, visit the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh, take a trip back in time and visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, and visit the picturesque highlands of Dalat. Or, take the coastal route and visit the white sands of Nha Trang, or the spectacular heritage sites of Hoi An and My Son. There are a number of exciting locations to visit that provide you with genuine cultural experiences on adventure tours – where all you need to do is sit back, relax, and take in the surrounds!

Experience It!

If you want to uncover the varied landscapes and cultural delights of Vietnam, join the Best Of Vietnam adventure tour. Take in the sights from Ho Chi Minh City to the beautiful highlands of Dalat, Hoi An and Hue, exploring bustling Hanoi and ending in tranquil Halong Bay! Find out more

  1. Bring your family on a Vietnam active holiday

Ninh_Binh_Vietnam-medium (1)Escape the typical family holiday and have a family adventure instead. Vietnam is a fantastic destination where children of all ages can experience all of the highlights of the country in a family friendly way. From the markets and vibrant streets in Ho Chi Minh City, to home stays in the Mekong delta, visits to the former sea port of Hoi An and relaxing cruises in Halong Bay. Active families can leisurely cycle along country roads and be immersed in the local Vietnamese rural life, or take cooking classes to prepare and cook exquisite Vietnamese cuisine. With such a multitude of experiences and leisure time, it's a true adventure that will appeal to the interests of the entire family.

Experience It!

Join our Vietnam Family Explorer for an interactive adventure designed to engage and entertain all the family, exploring the highlights of Vietnam by bike, on foot and on water.

  1. Join a Vietnamese community project

Community_Project_in_Vietnam_building_the_village_schoolhouse-mediumWhy just visit a Vietnamese community when you can contribute to one, and dedicate part of your travel experience to volunteer work on a Community Project! A community project adds a special and unique depth to a travel experience, and changes the perspective of your place in the world. Communities such as that of the Muong people in the northern region of Vietnam rely on crop cultivation (mostly wet rice), animal husbandry and fishing to sustain their lives. Some have little to no government funding for schools and buildings, so dedicating a portion of your time in a meaningful way to a community project that is sustainable, consultative, collaborative and educational can be one of the most rewarding experiences to have. Whether you build classrooms, assist with roofing or construct libraries, these projects allow you to collaborate with the community on the work, using your strength, basic skills, time and effort to improve the living conditions of an isolated community.

Experience It!

Join on the Thahn Son Elementary School and Kindergarten upgrade and help renovate an elementary school and kindergarten- while discovering the hillside paradise of Mai Chau. Learn more

  1. Culinary Excursion

Credit: Richard I'AnsonCredit: Richard I'Anson

Take your tastebuds on a culinary tour and experience all of the tantalising flavours of Vietnam. If your passion lies in food and travel, Vietnam is sure to delight as you explore the landscape, culture and history of the country. Vietnam has one of the freshest and most fragrant cuisines on the planet, and offers a diverse array of dishes that are characterised by a brilliant balance of sweet and sour, spice and aromatics. Culinary tours in Vietnam teach you about the perfect blend of flavours, getting a feel for the ingredients, preparation, methods and presentation of the food. As your knowledge grows, you begin to understand how much of the food is shaped by the history, geography and culture of this fascinating country. Whether it’s the southern tropical climate influencing the coconut, jackfruit and herb flavours of a meal, or the 18th century French influence that characterises the pork, fish patties, sardines and pickled carrot fillings, there’s no better way to experience Vietnam’s vibrant culture than through its food.

Experience It!

Unlock the secrets of Vietnam's cuisine on the Food Lover's Vietnam adventure. With hands on cooking classes on this foodie journey through stunning locations. Book Now!

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