There is more to Vietnam than mouthwatering food, rich history, and customs. Perhaps less known that Vietnam offers you some picturesque awesome hikes with varying levels of difficulty and experiences. Not making adventure seekers, Ecohost delivers you a short list of top iconic trekking trails in Northern Vietnam and some essential hiking guides.
The Top 5 Trekking Places in Northern Vietnam
Undoubtedly Vietnam’s premier hiking place, Sapa is home to a dense network of trails boasting the most spectacular mountain scenery and a landscape including terraced rice paddies & wonderful mountain village. If picking up a 10-day adventure with an array of Sapa’s challenges and pleasures, you start with a walk to Huong Hum Commune and then discover deeper into more communities such as White Hmong, Dao, and Giay to admire some fabulous valleys, mountain peaks, and clear streams. Another trail is an uphill and downhill walk to Nam Pung Village, helping you explore the most remote villages and their tribal history. The hardest and most dangerous rout only for professional trekkers is Fansipan called “Indochina roof” due to its height of 3.143m.
A trail which is seductive to hikers is the ascent to the highest peaks of Dong Van – a border town with an impressive array of breathtaking passes and valleys. Several routes run along the mountains from Dong Van to Meo Vac, crossing many passes and climbing some summits. Especially, the top of Ma Pi Leng – one of Vietnam’s four hugest Passes provides you with a panorama of mountain ranges, limestone peaks, and canyons. Do not miss visiting the Hmong Palace featuring a traditional Chinese-style mansion with four double-story wings. Especially, the more remote trek, the better you admire the imposing mountain vistas and locals’ friendliness.
As one of Vietnam’s greatest hiking destinations, Cao Bang is dotted with the landscape of karst mountains, rice terraces, meandering rivers, and glorious waterfalls. A spectacular stop is Ban Gioc waterfall – Vietnam’s largest waterfall and one of the most majestic cascades in Southeast Asia. You will have a chance to cross a series of tribal villages of the Tay, Hmong, Nung, and Red Dao people before transferring to Pac Bo Cave where Ho Chi Minh Led revolutionary activities in early 1941. This comparatively walks also refers to stunning views of Ba Be National Park, which is home to a variety of caves, lakes, and ponds.
Away from 130 km from the hectic city life of Hanoi, Mai Chau in Hoa Binh offers peace and greenery and the paradise of fog. Trekking around Mai Chau delivers a spectacular landscape of rice fields and tiny villages, which makes this one of the best sites for casual hiking in Vietnam.
Apachai (Dien Bien Phu)
Apachai (meaning the “Enormous Land”) is the westernmost point of Vietnam where the borderlines of Vietnam, Laos, and China intersect. The starting point of the trek is at 317 stations. During the 4-5 hour- trek, you will enjoy Cortaderia Selloana fields which are as tall as you, sheer slopes, and primitive forest areas. You trek to reach the final destination – the westernmost point which is regarded as the best place to enjoy the sunset in Vietnam.
Some Essential Tips for Trekkers in Vietnam
• Double check the weather before choosing a trekking date. You should avoid raining days as it will cause you a lot of difficulties.
• Bring enough water and food for the whole trip to keep the energy.
• Do not forget sunscreen, anti-insect cream, and a first-aid kit too.
• Wear comfortable shoes. Many routes require you to walk through a bamboo forest, hop across ditches, and scramble up a mountain; therefore, a pair of running shoes is necessary. For the 2-day trek or longer, you should invest in a pair of hiking boots.
• Hire a guide. There are lots of reasons to consider hiring a local guide when discovering hillside. They typically have a full understanding of the best lookout spots, changes in weather, and terrain. Another option is that you can book a local Vietnam Ecohost or tourism office to arrange the guide. The guides are so kind, friendly, and English-speaking, giving you the greatest experience while trekking.
• Do not forget the camera. The scenery in North Vietnam is truly majestic, so you will be regretful when forgetting a fully charged camera. Taking the memorable snaps helps you save the best moments in your life.