The lush landscapes of Vietnam are absolutely amazing to explore on an active holiday – and it might surprise you to hear that active breaks are real winners when it comes to discovering cities too. So, today I’m aiming to give you an idea of how active trips can combine plenty of culture with things like trekking and cycling. And if you like the sound of what you read, you can find more detailed information on potential itineraries on this website.
Hanoi is a good place to start your adventure, it being Vietnam’s capital city and all. You can kick things off with a good old fashioned walk – the charming Old Quarter is ideal for exploring on two feet, especially as it’s filled with historic buildings and interesting stalls.
After enjoying this nice, gentle introduction to the city, you can spend the evening exploring the Frog Market, as well as Nghi Tam street and the Tay Ho district. As a quick tip, you can pick up some great street food here, so tuck in as you amble around.
Over the next few days, spend your time seeing the capital’s top sites, like the One Pillar Pagoda, before heading into Cuc Phuong National Park. An absolutely beautiful nature reserve that’s home to wonderful plantlife and even a rescue centre for endangered primates (well worth a visit!), this place is perfect for trekking.
Next, head to Halong Bay – one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage sites you’re ever likely to lay eyes on. Now, generally Halong Bay is explored by cruising, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mix things up a little bit.
For instance, if you book yourself on to an active organised tour of Vietnam, you could visit places like Titov island for a spot of trekking and swimming, or spend a few hours merrily kayaking through this impossibly scenic region. Any of these activities will make your trip here all the more memorable – and trust me, this landscape is one that’s well worth exploring in depth.
The city of Hue is a great place to grab a bike and explore on two wheels – especially since there are so many places in the surrounding area well worth taking a trip out too. Among the places you should add to your cycling itinerary are the royal tombs of Minh Mang and Khai Dinh, while the village of Cau Ngoi Thanh Toan is a wonderful place to experience traditional Vietnamese life.
Make your way to Hoi An next – another city that’s really well suited to exploring on foot. Indeed, this place is so historic and elegant that it is a joy to walk around; indeed, it is so full of beautiful buildings that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Expect to come across a fascinating mix of sites, including Chinese pagodas and a Japanese-style covered bridge.
Swapping your feet for a pair of wheels, you can bike out of the city and into the countryside to visit nearby destinations like Cua Dai and Cam Thanh village.
Ho Chi Minh City
Round off your active adventure in Ho Chi Minh City, which is jam-packed with historical and cultural sites. One of the most important of the former, the Cu Chi tunnels offer an insight into the war with America, and you can cycle out to see them (though it’s worth starting on the outskirts of the city rather than the centre).