Best Outdoor Activities in Vietnam

Although Vietnam was slow to develop itself as an outdoor adventure destination, things have changed drastically in the last few years. With captivating scale mountains, national parks, fascinating minority cultures, and the deepest caves worldwide, Vietnam offers a multitude of opportunities for enthusiasts of outdoor activities.

Today, Da Lat is famous as Vietnam’s adventure sports capital and Mui Ne as the surf city with picturesque landscapes all over. You can take a walk on the wild side, go kitesurfing on the rugged coastlines, trek around the mountains, or burrow inside the caves of the planet here. Here are the best outdoor activities in Vietnam!

1. Caving in Phong Nha

Did you know? Vietnam is one of the top caving locations worldwide.

Its city Phong Nha is a rising destination for adventures and hosts some of the largest caves on the planet. There are more than 300 caves, with types to suit the preferences of all. Some of the famous ones here are Hang Son Doong, Hang En, and Hang Pygmy. They are huge, and you can organize multi-day expeditions to all three of these cave kingdoms.

You can also go on a family-friendly caving trip. These tend to span over a half-day, with Dark Cave and Paradise Cave being the popular picks. If you are into nocturnal climbing, jungle camping, or subterranean swimming, we recommend the Tiger Cave Series and the Tu Lan Cave System.

2. Rock climbing in Hữu Lũng

Rock climbing in Hữu Lũng

Vietnam is home to multiple ranges for rock climbing. It is a rocky paradise for intermediate and advanced climbers with beautiful experiences to offer.

The commune of Yên Thịnh in the district of Hữu Lũng, Only two hours from Hanoi, lies in between the foothills of the northeast mountain provinces and the Red River Delta.

The terrain varies from enclosed fertile valleys to majestic vertical karst outcrops. Undercut cliffs and remnant towers provide an excellent playground for rock climbers and nature enthusiasts. It has rapidly become a firm crag on the international stage. One hundred and one sport routes vary here from 5c to 8b.

3. Off-road biking in Sapa

Sapa is a remote mountain town with spectacular rice terraced hills and access to hiking and ethnic homestays. But, if you are looking for both thrills and scenery, why not try off-road biking? Ribbons of dirt tracks envelope the mountains. Climbing routes take you through minority villages, while downhill runs take you through rice terraces. You can tailor the path to your skill level, interests, and abilities. Handspan is one of several companies in Sapa that structure custom tours.

4. Canyoning in Dalat

Dalat is a beautiful mountain town with a fresh spring climate. It is increasingly becoming popular as a nature tourist destination. It is a perfect place for outdoor activities like canyoning, ringed with rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. It allows for the daring yet adventurous combination of scrambling, swimming, climbing, abseiling, and hiking. The best part? Tours here comply with the international safety standards. So, wait no longer as the pools and waterfalls of Dalat await your presence for a plunge and climb down!

You can sign up for tour guides like Hello Dalat that offer exciting canyoning experiences there.

5. Camping in Cat Ba

If you want to wake up to a multitude of jungle-blanketed karsts with some being as old as thousands of years, a camping experience awaits you in Cat Ba as one of the best outdoor activities in Vietnam.

Cat Ba is a large northern Vietnamese Island. Its picturesque landscape makes it the best adventure hub here. Here, you can hike, kayak, or go climbing. From the sporty dome tents to basic camping and luxurious glampers, there are several options you can try here to make your camping experience more fun. 

6. Hiking in Pu Luong

The northern highlands in Vietnam offer excellent hiking opportunities, especially the Pu Luong nature reserve. It nestles in the southwest of Hanoi, with dramatic mountains surrounding and dominating its horizon.

Carry the necessary gear to traverse through the cascading rice terraces, misty rainforests, and minority hamlets. In the end, you can take a dip in the pools or waterfalls for a rejuvenating finish.

We recommend staying at Ban Hieu or Ban Don. These are villages with hotels and rooms where many hikers reside.

7. Kitesurfing in Mui Ne

Who says beach vacations are boring? Kitesurfing in Mui Ne is a great way to add some excitement to your trip. Blue waters surround this golden sand beach with year-round sun and steady winds. It is the premier watersports destination, particularly for kitesurfers.

Kitesurfing schools in Mui Ne provide comprehensive instruction for all skill levels. If you are new, they will show you the ropes. If you are a seasoned kitesurfer, one-on-one lessons can help you learn new tricks. 

8. Kayaking and SUP in Lan Ha Bay

Although UNESCO-listed Halong Bay receives the most attention, neighboring Lan Ha Bay is equally spectacular. It is a fantasy world filled with jungled karsts rising from emerald waters, secluded beaches, and hidden caves.

Its calmer waters also make it ideal for kayaking and stand-up paddling. There are many guided tours here. Sign up for one to not get lost in the Vietnamese waters!

9. Diving in Nha Trang

Diving in Nha Trang

While Vietnam is still relatively unknown on the scuba diving map, the Nha Trang diving experience is a thing to behold. From the underwater gems to people in the tour groups, you can experience its beauty and people. The waters are also clean with biodiverse marine wildlife.

The place also has hot springs, heavenly beaches, and a colorful coral reef. It is also called the diving capital of Vietnam. You may also snorkel here.

Check out more places to scuba dive and snorkel in Vietnam here.

10. Climbing the Top of Mount Fansipan

Mount Fansipan, belonging to the Hoang Lien Son Mountain range, is the highest peak in the country. It is under the protection of the Hoang Lien National Park, offering an opportunity for climbers. However, make sure you go prepared with the right gear. If you are a novel climber, sign up for a guided tour as it may be dangerous alone.

Some Other Outdoor Activities

There are other activities like bird watching that you can do in Vietnam. For the former, Vietnam has over 850 species of birds. Many of these got identified in the past few years only. The best sites for birdwatching are their national parks, including Cuc Phuong (famous for its springtime butterfly displays), Bach Ma, and Cat Tien. The rare Sarus crane, amongst many other species, spends the dry season in and around the Tram Chim National Park in the Mekong Delta.

People also enjoy sandboarding here because of the dunes available. Finally, you can experience sports out here. Wondering what sports are popular in Vietnam? Here is our guide on the popular sports in Vietnam!

The Bottomline

Vietnam is a beautiful country with a rich landscape for a multitude of outdoor activities. You can go kayaking, trekking, camping, swimming, scuba diving, canyoning, kitesurfing, biking, and a lot more for an unforgettable experience. You might also want to check the Top Travel Destinations in Vietnam.

So, why are you still waiting? Get on board and embrace the fun that awaits you in Vietnam.