1. Reasons why you should choose hiking in Vietnam

Vietnam is a country that offers endless reasons to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails. From the breathtaking landscapes to the rich cultural heritage, Vietnam has it all. Immerse yourself in the lush greenery of the towering mountains, where mist-shrouded peaks and cascading waterfalls create a dreamlike setting. Traverse through dense forests, alive with the sounds of exotic wildlife and vibrant flora. But it’s not just about the scenery—hiking in Vietnam allows you to delve into the heart of its vibrant culture. Encounter friendly locals in remote villages, where time seems to stand still, and learn about their traditional way of life. Taste the tantalizing flavors of Vietnamese cuisine, indulging in delicious street food along the way. Therefore, hiking in Vietnam promises a truly immersive and awe-inspiring experience that will leave you with memories to cherish forever.

2. 10 Best Places for Hiking in Vietnam

2.1. Sapa (Lao Cai)

Nestled in the stunning mountains of northern Vietnam, Sapa is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts. With its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant rice paddies, and rich cultural heritage, Sapa offers an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking an immersive adventure. Embark on a journey through enchanting villages like Cat Cat, Y Linh Ho, and Ta Phin, where you can witness the daily lives of ethnic minorities and learn about their fascinating traditions. Explore the majestic Muong Hoa Valley, soak in the panoramic views from Ham Rong Mountain and Sky Gate, or challenge yourself with a trek to the summit of Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam. Sapa is a hiker’s dream destination, offering a truly authentic and awe-inspiring experience in the heart of Vietnam’s natural wonders.

Level of hiking: Easy 

Best time: from March to May; and from September to November

Popular routes hiking in Sapa:

  • Lao Chai Village 
  • Sin Chai Village 
  • Ta Van Village 
  • Muong Hoa Village 
  • Ta Phin Village 
  • Fansipan Mountain 


2.2. Mai Chau (Hoa Binh)

Escape the bustling city and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Mai Chau, just a short distance from Hanoi. This enchanting destination offers a picturesque rural landscape, with serene valleys, a peaceful ambiance, and a slower pace of life. Explore the region’s highlights, including Thac Bo Temple, Thung Khe Pass, Mo Luong Lake, White Rock Pass, Chieu Cave, Go Lao Waterfall, and Hoa Binh Lake. To experience the authentic way of life, venture to villages like Ban Buoc, Cun Pheo, and Hang Kia, where you can interact with the friendly Thai and H’mong people and embrace their rich cultural traditions. Mai Chau is a great option for people who love beautiful trails for hiking in Vietnam

Level of hiking: Easy 

Best time: from late September to early May

Popular routes hiking in Mai Chau – Hoa Binh:

  • Thac Bo Temple
  • Thung Khe Pass
  • Mo Luong Lake
  • White Rock Pass
  • Go Lao Waterfall
  • Hoa Binh Lake
  • Ban Buoc Village
  • Cun Pheo Village

2.3. Ha Giang

Located in the northernmost region, Ha Giang offers a mesmerizing landscape of towering mountains, winding roads, and vibrant ethnic communities. Hiking through this untouched paradise allows you to witness jaw-dropping vistas at every turn, from the iconic Ma Pi Leng Pass to the stunning rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of the region by visiting local villages such as Lung Cu, Dong Van, and Meo Vac, where you can interact with friendly locals and learn about their traditions. Ha Giang offers a unique and unforgettable hiking experience that will leave you in awe of Vietnam’s natural wonders.

Level of hiking: Easy 

Best time: from October to December 

Popular routes hiking in Ha Giang:

  • Dong Van valley
  • Meo Vac valley
  • Si Phai Mountain Village
  • Hoang Su Phi Village
  • Trung Son – Bo Dot – Hop Nhat
  • Tam Son town (Heaven’s gate)
  • Ma Pi Leng Pass


2.4. Cao Bang

Cao Bang is Vietnam’s hidden gem in the northeast region, where majestic limestone karsts, cascading waterfalls, and serene lakes await. Lace-up your boots and explore the stunning Ban Gioc Waterfall, a breathtaking natural wonder that straddles the Vietnam-China border. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region by visiting traditional Tay and Nung ethnic villages. Don’t miss the chance to trek through the mesmerizing landscapes of Nguom Ngao Cave, Coc Bo Cave or embark on a challenging hike to conquer the peaks of Phja Oac-Phja Den National Park. Cao Bang offers a truly off-the-beaten-path hiking experience in Vietnam, where nature’s splendor and cultural immersion combine to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Level of hiking: Moderate

Best time: from October to April

Popular routes hiking in Cao Bang:

  • Ba Be National Park
  • Pac Po cave – Trek Nam Nhung
  • Tong Cot Village
  • Ta Lung border town
  • Nguom Ngao Cave
  • Coc Bo Cave


2.5. Ba Be National Park (Bac Kan)

Escape to the enchanting beauty of Ba Be National Park in Bac Kan, Vietnam, where a hiking adventure awaits. Nestled amidst lush forests, emerald lakes, and dramatic limestone mountains, this pristine destination offers a tranquil retreat for nature enthusiasts. Coming here, tourists can explore the park’s well-marked trails, which lead you through dense forests, past glistening waterfalls, and picturesque viewpoints. Discover the awe-inspiring landscapes of Ba Be Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam, and encounter the diverse wildlife that calls this place home. You also visit nearby ethnic villages, where you can experience the warm hospitality and traditional way of life. 

Level of hiking: Easy 

Best time: from October to April

Popular routes hiking in Ba Be National Park:

  • Po Lu village
  • An Ma Island
  • Puong Cave
  • Dau Dang Waterfall

2.6. Cat Ba National Park (Cat Ba Island) 

The next place Metta Voyage highly recommends for hiking in Vietnam is Cat Ba National Park, on Cat Ba Island. Hiking in Cat Ba, you have a chance to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of this tropical paradise. Visitors can discover the park’s diverse ecosystems, including dense jungles, coastal mangroves, and pristine beaches, or hike to the summit of Ngu Lam Peak for panoramic views. On the journey you can encounter rare wildlife species, such as the Cat Ba langur, as you explore the park’s protected areas. Unwind on secluded beaches, take refreshing dips in crystal-clear lagoons, and marvel at the vibrant marine life while snorkeling. Cat Ba National Park offers an unforgettable hiking experience amidst the natural wonders of Vietnam’s stunning island landscape.

Level of hiking: Easy 

Best time: from September to October

Popular routes hiking in Cat Ba National Park:

  • Kim Giao Forest – Ngu Lam Peak
  • Trung Trang & Uy Ban Grottoes
  • National Park HQ – Ao Ech – Viet Hai

2.7. Cuc Phuong National Park (Ninh Binh) 

Cuc Phuong National Park is not only a sanctuary for a vast array of plant and animal species but also a haven for avid hikers. Explore the park’s extensive network of hiking trails, where you can immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of nature. While some trails can be explored independently, there are unique routes that may require the assistance of a local guide. One of the most enticing routes is the trek from the main forest to Muong Village, a 30-kilometer journey that spans over two days. For a mesmerizing experience, don’t miss the opportunity to conquer May Bac Peak, standing at an impressive 700 meters in height. Cuc Phuong National Park beckons adventurers with its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity, promising an exhilarating hiking experience in the heart of Vietnam.

Level of hiking: Easy 

Best time: from December to April

Popular routes hiking in Cuc Phuong National Park:

  • Cuc Phuong primary jungle – Muong village
  • May Bac peak

2.8. Pu Luong Nature Reserve (Thanh Hoa)

Pu Luong Nature Reserve in Thanh Hoa is another place can offer you an extraordinary hiking experience. When you visit here, you can immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes as you hike through dense forests, traverse rice terraces, and explore charming villages like Ban Sai, Ban Hang, Ban Kho Muong, and Ban Hieu. Spend your days traversing the verdant valleys, crossing bamboo bridges, and discovering hidden caves. The best time to visit Pu Luong is during the rice harvest season, from September to November or from February to May when the fields come alive with vibrant golden hues. 

Level of hiking: Easy 

Best time: from September to November or from February to May

Popular routes hiking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve:

  • Sai Village
  • Hang Village
  • Kho Muong Village
  • Hieu Village

2.9. Son Doong Cave (Quang Binh)

Son Doong Cave is an extraordinary natural wonder nestled in Quang Binh, Vietnam. With its remarkable size and pristine condition, Son Doong is a true masterpiece of nature. Discovered locally in 1991 and relatively untouched since this cave offers an unparalleled underground expedition. As the largest cave in the world, Son Doong unveils a series of unique environments waiting to be explored. However, access is limited to a fortunate few, with only 200 permits granted each year. To experience the marvels of Son Doong, meticulous preparation and advance registration for your trekking adventure are essential. Hiking in Son Doong Cave definitely will be a memorable experience for every tourist.

Level of hiking: advance

Best time: from February to August

Popular routes hiking in Son Doong Cave:  Son Doong Cave

2.10. Lang Biang Mountain (Da Lat)

Rising 2,169 meters above sea level, Lang Biang Mountain offers a rewarding and unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts. As you ascend the mountain, be mesmerized by the breathtaking vistas of lush forests, rolling hills, and picturesque valleys below. When exploring the well-marked trails that lead you through diverse landscapes, you can encounter beautiful waterfalls, vibrant flora, and perhaps even spot rare wildlife. At the summit, revel in panoramic views of Da Lat City and its surrounding countryside, a sight that will leave you in awe. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a nature lover seeking a new challenge, Lang Biang Mountain promises an exhilarating hiking experience amidst the natural wonders of Da Lat.

Level of hiking: Moderate

Best time: from September to November

Popular routes hiking in Lang Biang Mountain: Lang Biang Peak

3. Conclusion

In conclusion, Vietnam is a haven for hiking lovers, offering a diverse range of breathtaking landscapes and unparalleled outdoor experiences. From the towering mountains of Sapa and the untouched beauty of Cao Bang to the pristine national parks like Ba Be, Cuc Phuong, and Pu Luong, there are many destinations for hiking in Vietnam waiting to be explored. So, pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the natural wonders of Vietnam.

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