JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Vietnam is the new adventure capital of Asia Pacific

Monday, December 18, 2023, 18:19 GMT+7
Vietnam is the new adventure capital of Asia Pacific
Travelers join a canyoning tour at Datanla Waterfall in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

Take a look at your bucket list. For many, it might include trips to New Zealand to go bungee jumping or surfing in Bali. For a generation or more, these places have been known for their adventure, and thrill seekers from all over the world put them on their must-see lists. 

But that is changing quickly. Now, Vietnam is fast becoming one of the top five on the bucket lists of many thanks to a range of adventure experiences that are nowhere near as accessible in other countries.

Water sports

A file photo shows people playing windsurfing and kitesurfing in Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam in March 2020. Photo: Son Lam / Tuoi Tre

A file photo shows people playing windsurfing and kitesurfing in Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam in March 2020. Photo: Son Lam / Tuoi Tre

Surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing are among dozens of new adventure experiences growing in popularity in Vietnam. From the beaches east of Vung Tau City, across to Phan Thiet and Mui Ne, and into the central parts of the country from Nha Trang to Da Nang, there are many beaches with quality surf for visiting thrill seekers. Many surfers will tell you there are better waves in iconic locations like Hawaii and Bali, but Vietnam can definitely hold its own.

With perfect beach weather all year round in southern Vietnam, water sports are a must-try for many travelers. 

A man performs on a flyboard in a lake in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A man performs on a flyboard in a lake in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Many of these water sports can be done in Nha Trang Bay, including scuba diving courses to become a certified diver and see some of the amazing underwater ecology off the coast of the city, parasailing, jet skiing, canoeing, and just about anything that can be done on or in the water. 

Likewise, the holiday island of Phu Quoc off the coast of southern Vietnam now has water sports of all kinds for everyone from children to adults, including adventure playgrounds at the beach, offshore snorkeling and fishing, and all sorts of adventure tourism offerings.

Biking

On a recent trip to Phu Quoc, I chose to take advantage of the pristine natural wonderland of the eastern and northern parts of the island and take a bicycle ride. 

The 110km trek took me to parts of the island that have never been inhabited, as well as through natural forests and pepper farms. 

It was an adventure of a lifetime and a day that I will cherish forever. I really was a world away from society as I rode my bicycle through the natural bushland of the northern part of the island and was able to see some native animals and trees at their absolute best. Phu Quoc Island has as many adventures on land as in the water, there is an adventure awaiting anyone who wants to experience something new.  

View from the sky

Paragliding in Son Thai – Giang Ly mountain, the south-central provinces of Khanh Hoa. Photo: Nguyen Ngoc Thanh / Tuoi Tre

Paragliding in Son Thai – Giang Ly mountain in Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Ngoc Thanh / Tuoi Tre

Paragliding and parasailing adventures have also exploded in popularity in recent years. Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and several other towns and cities along the coastline now have adventure experiences available to anyone wanting to take to the skies for a unique view of Vietnam. 

In Ho Chi Minh City, you can fly down the Saigon River with the majestic Bitexco Tower and Landmark 81 off to your right. I’ve read the photo opportunities are breathtaking and, if you want to see Ho Chi Minh City’s beauty from a truly unique perspective, then paragliding is the adventure for you. 

Hoa Binh, near Hanoi, has some of the most magical mountains and green valleys in the country, and experiencing this at the end of a parachute 400 meters above the valley would be mind-blowing for any adventure seeker. 

Motorsports 

Motorsports are also available in Vietnam with karting tracks becoming a regular thrill seeking adventure for young locals and tourists alike. 

There is a track now operating in Ho Chi Minh City with others available in various locations around the country, some within theme parks and others as stand-alone karting facilities. 

In addition, Binh Duong, 40km north of Ho Chi Minh City, boasts a car racing circuit that is also available for a range of activities. 

More to explore

More accessible adventures include those available in the tourist hotspots. Da Lat, in the Central Highlands, is one location that offers a range of mountain-based adventures. 

A traveler takes a zip-lining ride over a valley. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

A traveler takes a zip-lining ride over a valley. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

From driving a jeep off-road, treetop adventures, hiking to whitewater kayaking and a host of other adventures, a week in Da Lat is no longer just for lovers. Da Lat now has a multitude of adventures that will keep you busy for days as you experience the unique mountain city lifestyle. 

Around 100km north of Ho Chi Minh City is the city of Tay Ninh. The most famous attraction in this city is Nui Ba Den (Ba Den Mountain). This mountain is the highest in the region and from the top you can see into Cambodia and, occasionally, catch a glimpse of the lights of Ho Chi Minh City on a clear afternoon. This mountain has a very popular pagoda that is often visited by local tourists. It also has two cable cars, one to the original pagoda and the other to the more modern facility at the top of the mountain. 

Whilst a pagoda may not seem like a place of adventure, there are some great experiences to enjoy at this mountain. If you really want a challenge, you can try climbing the mountain. With few tracks and many large rocks, climbing this 996m mountain will take you the best part of the day and it is advised to always start early in the morning. It is a challenge and so many young people like to do it at least once in their life to say they conquered Nui Ba Den.

Coming down is also an adventure with an Alpine coaster available if you want a more exciting way to descend the mountain. The ride takes seven to ten minutes and winds its way through the rocks and trees. The small two-person cars are controlled by you and give you a real sensation of speed and adventure. It is one of my favorite experiences in Vietnam. I have even visited the mountain three times just to ride it again.  

If getting off the ground is your thing then there are plenty of locations that provide an exhilarating experience. 

Cable cars are some of the longest in the world and are found in most mountainous cities. 

Bungee jumping operates for those crazy enough to jump off a platform with an elastic band on your ankles. 

Flying Fox cable runs are a popular attraction as well. You are strapped to a guidewire and thrown down a mountain, traveling at a speed of up to 70kmh. The best known Flying Foxes include Vung Tau, Da Lat, Nha Trang, and Da Nang but there are many others across the country.  

It is now very easy to say that Vietnam has an adventure for just about anyone. From the bottom of the ocean to high in the clouds, across the country, operators provide real adventure and a new way to see this amazing country. 

My advice is rethink your adventure travel plans and consider Vietnam as your next place to visit because the variety of adventure opportunities makes it the new capital of adventure tourism in Asia. 

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Ray Kuschert / Tuoi Tre News Contributor

READ MORE

Read more

Photo

Video

Video of the day: Beeswax drawing – a craft passed down through generations in Mu Cang Chai

For Mong women, beeswax drawing is a part of their life

(Video) Jellyfish a new pet in Ho Chi Minh City

When she first started her jellyfish journey, Dang Viet Trinh encountered several difficulties due to a lack of experience and the absence of a local jellyfish community.

Check out this Cao Bang-style banh cuon stall in Hanoi

A stall at 253 Thuy Khue Street in Tay Ho District, Hanoi has been serving banh cuon in the Cao Bang style for the past eight years.