If you are interested in immersion and cultural growth, trekking across any country is an ideal way to meet new people and better understand their lives. If you are interested in trekking in Vietnam, you have many options in terms of topography and intensity. No matter if you plan to hike the coast, check out the mountains or enjoy the tiered agricultural regions, you will know a lot more about yourself and the people of Vietnam at the end of your adventure.
Vietnam has a long winding coast along the Gulf of Tonkin. While planning your treks near the coast, make sure you keep electrolyte boosters in your first aid kit. Much of the land along the coast is warm and wet. Once you get approval for your trek from the authorities, your time on the ground may include long treks through tropical rainforest.
If you are new to hiking and trekking, consider hiring a guide who can help you manage your gear. For those who prefer not to hike with a guide, it is critical that you pack along more than enough water to protect yourself. While it may not be sunny under the canopy, it will be hot and humid on Cat Ba Island. The biodiversity will be worth your hard work and every drop of perspiration!
Straight north of Hanoi is the largest natural lake in Vietnam, Ba Be Lake. Your trip here will take some work but will be completely worth it. Hiring a guide for this trek could be extremely helpful as it may include transport to the base of the mountains. This mountainous region features limestone peaks, many water features including waterfalls, and caves to explore.
For your trek to Ba Be Lake, make sure your pack includes
- rain gear
- waterproof boots
- long sleeve tees for warmth under the canopy
- a hat with a broad brim
Consider treating yourself to an oversized rain jacket that you can either leave unzipped to allow for airflow or fill up with layers should you get chilled. Additionally, you will want to invest in a sun hat that has a large, broad brim that you can use to hold the hood of your raincoat off your face. If you love to take photos, a broad brimmed baseball cap or sun visor can protect your electronics as well as your face.
Trekking Across the Highlands
While the southern area of Vietnam features a more tropical climate, you can enjoy dryer, cooler air in the Yok Don National Park. There are many fresh water features in this region and the wildlife is acclimated to deciduous forest.
This region is fairly flat and offers long, easy treks. You can also get to this park fairly quickly; the airport at Buon Ma Thuot offers fast access to this park.
The Yok Don National Park is a wildlife preserve that serves as a home to several elephants, so if your trekking shoes have to take a break, you can enjoy a ride on a trained elephant and see the region from a whole new perspective!
Options for Amazing Scenery
Not all trekkers are interested in mountain climbing, but you can find treks that take you to the top of the mountains of Vietnam. Lang Bian mountain offers great views that don’t take technical skills to get to. Once you gain some altitude on Lang Bian, you will be able to see many of the most beautiful features of the central highlands.
The agricultural features of the Sapa region offer travelers a remarkable view of history. The people of Vietnam have accomplished remarkable terra forming throughout the highlands for the growing of crops, particularly rice. While under tremendous pressure from nearby nations and powerful colonial forces, this region has endured for centuries.
This verdant region, northwest of Hanoi, features many mountain treks that will give you views of the tiered rice farms of northern Vietnam. If you packed for the jungle, now is the time to bring out your warmer gear. The mountains of this region include dryer, arid climate and can include chilly nights.
Check the Regulations
Carefully review the rules and regulations of trekking in different regions of Vietnam. Be aware that hiring a guide service can also include permits and certificates as needed. A guide can also assist you to find ways to transport your supplies as necessary to outlying areas.
Watch the Calendar
Trekking during the rainy season will not do much for the views you hope to see. If you cannot book time during the dry season for treks in southern Vietnam, which is generally from November to May, you may have better results in the central and northern highlands. Be aware that, since Vietnam hugs the coast, you may still experience a lot of rain on your trip.
Your trekking travels to Vietnam will give you memories that you will enjoy forever. Find a guide who can help you navigate the rules and regulations before you arrive. Make sure that you have waterproof gear, a snug fitting pack to avoid balance challenges, and a hat to keep the rain off your face.