When visiting popular tourist destinations like Vietnam, it’s always fun to get off-the-beaten-track and discover hidden gems, in addition to the highlights. Here are Intrepid Travel’s top five suggestions for ways to avoid the hordes of tourists and find a little slice-of-paradise for yourself on your Vietnam adventure
Most travellers daydream about seeing the iconic limestone islands of Ha Long Bay, and with good reason – they are a work of art. However, Lan Ha Bay is another place where you will find over 300 of the limestone beauties, plus a number of pristine, white beaches to enjoy. In fact, the only reason more tourists don’t venture here is that it is much further away from Ha Long City.
But, getting to Lan Ha is no problem when you’re taken there by your expert crew on a small ship Adventure Cruise. If you feel like snorkelling off the back of the boat, you’ll be sharing the sea with over 200 specifies of tropical fish and beautiful corals – and if you’re lucky, you may even enjoy a visit from some local seals and dolphins.
See Lan Ha Bay for yourself, on Intrepid Travel’s 8 day Northern Vietnam Coastal Cruise.
While Colombia or Ethiopia may initially spring to mind when you think of coffee, Vietnam is actually the world’s second largest coffee producer. Their unique twist on this popular beverage is loved by locals and tourists alike.
The coffee is strong, but is offset by the addition of condensed milk, creating a drink that will be heaven for sweet-tooths. In Ho Chi Minh City, it’s worth tracking down The Maker and Mockingbird, in Hoi An try Rosie’s and The Espresso Station and in Hanoi head to Café Nola and Pho Co. While some of the entrances may be hidden, the coffee and experience are worth the hassle. Or, if you want to try a genuine local delicacy, order an egg coffee at Café Dinh by Hoan Kiem Lake. We recommend you stir well before drinking.
Taste traditional Vietnamese coffee on Intrepid Travel’s 12 day Real Food Adventure.
Lonely Planet calls it Vietnam’s final frontier, the last area of wild Vietnam. The northern region called Ha Giang has breathtaking scenery but is often skipped over by tourists, given how much further north it is than other well-worn tourist trails.
The dramatic mountain peaks of Dong Van Geo Park and the Mai Pi Leng Pass are brilliant places for motor enthusiasts to enjoy a drive and the deep valleys of the Hoang Su Phi district are a photographers’ dream – with rice terraces stacked dramatically up steep hillsides, it’s no surprise the area has been identified as a National Heritage site.
Visit Ha Giang on Intrepid Travel’s 10 day Northern Vietnam Adventure.
Mui Ne has a population of just over 300,000, making it tiny by Vietnamese standards! It is known for its two, contrasting areas of sand dunes; red and white, that were formed by ancient iron mines.
On the white dunes, visitors can race along pristine ivory sand on ATVs, with a lake filled with lotus flowers between the slopes. Renting an ATV is certainly an experience, with the 100-foot dunes making a pretty decent playground for adrenaline junkies.
In contrast to the thrilling white dunes, the red dunes (that look a bit like the Sahara Desert) are the perfect spot to unwind and watch the sunset. If you’re looking for a bit of fun, you can always rent a sled and cruise down their tame hills.
Stop for a break in Mui Ne on Intrepid Travel’s 15 day Cycle Vietnam trip.
Phong Nha-K? Bàng National Park is so unspoiled and pristine, that you’ll feel a million miles away from the bustling cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Buses were not even allowed to visit Phong Nha until 2015! The area was relatively unknown to foreign tourists until 2009, when a local man led the British Caving Association to discover the largest cave in the world (plus lots of other cool stuff) hidden in the jungle.
There are so many caves to visit, but Paradise and Jungle are the most popular – the former feels as if you’ve been transported to the moon or Jungle can be reached via zip line. Photos just don’t do these beauties justice, you’ve simply just got to see them in person.
Explore Phong Nha-K? Bàng National Park on Intrepid Travel’s 10 day Hoi An to Hanoi adventure.
Do you want to uncover your own hidden gems in Vietnam? Global Journeys are a trusted partner of Intrepid Travel and are ready to help you get on your way. Book now.