Walking can bring a great deal of relaxation, happiness, and a guaranteed dose of nature. Embracing the great outdoors of Vietnam with a knowledgeable guide is easier and more enjoyable in a group. However, as with other forms of travel, some ground rules and preparation must be laid down before embarking on your group walking tour to explore Vietnam.
Breathtaking natural beauty of the North
Some great trails to try
Vietnam tailor-made tours are a great way to satisfy your desire for the karst topography, cascading rice terraces, and massive mountain ranges with your favorite people. Here are some suggested routes helloVietnam tour operator thinks you should try:
Ta Lien Son Mountain
The northwest of Vietnam often gets overlooked for adventures, but there are many scenic trails that are on par with the famous Sapa or Cao Bang. The trek to Ta Lien peak, one of the highest in Vietnam, leads from dense primary forests over steep passes to deep chasms. Ta Lien Son route is a wilderness mountain route that boasts spectacular scenery. Much of the trail is in a remote area where there is no settlement at all. There are no shortages of steep ascends and descends, as well as treams that require fording. It is not a trail for novice but the reward is great. This route doesn’t cater to a large number of people so small group tours are advisable.
Cat Ba National Park
Cat Ba National Park
This trail is definitely not an easy walk. It runs through many varied landscapes – steep slopes, rolling hills, and a tribal village. Thanks to its proximity to Halong Bay, Cat Ba’s tourism infrastructure is pretty well-established, making it an ideal destination for a North Vietnam group tour. Therefore, prepare to share your route with a few other groups or a crowd in peak season.
Cross over the footpath near Frog Lake, where hundreds of Va Nuoc trees are jutting from the water’s surface, before traversing the dense tropical forest to Viet Hai village. This part of the trail is craggy with numerous slippery and sharp rocks, but the last 30 minutes of trekking before reaching the village is reduced to a leisurely stroll.
Summit Fansipan Peak, Sapa
The route to conquer the highest peak in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia is suitable for those who have a head for heights. The crux of the trail is the repeated descent and ascent undulating hills. Here, ladders are bolted to the rock in certain places to aid the steepness.
The range of options is wide in terms of length of tours. Hardcore travelers can do it in a day, with or without a guide. A trek of intermediate level spans two days and the easiest one is three days and 2 nights. These two longer tours require guides.
Mount Pu Luong, Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Pu Luong Nature Reserve
The mountainous terrain of Pu Luong is tough, but rewarding and exhilarating for trekkers. En route, the trail passes through Mexican sunflower meadows, bamboo forests, and various streams.
How to choose your trekking buddies
Choose you trekking buddies wisely
Nothing can make a trekking tour go sour faster than getting stuck with the wrong travel companions for hours on end. Here are some tips to pick out your dream partners:
- Look in the right places: Forums, clubs, and apps that revolve around your interest will be good places to start. Note down some activities that you would like to align with your trekking trip in Vietnam; birding or photography for example; and find someone who shares at least one of those interests.
- Look for complimentary skills: Although most competent tour operators are capable of providing a decent guide to help motivate and assist you, a companion who can teach you something new will add more excitement to your trip. After all, one of the ultimate goals of traveling in general is to broaden your horizon. She is a savvy traveler who is familiar with Vietnamese customs and you are an experienced trekker? Perfect.
- Match personalities: people with personality traits you click with will help keep you in the best mindset to take in and enjoy the scenery and culture. On the flip side, if you are more of an introvert, an extroverted partner would not be a bad idea to glue the group and rev up the atmosphere.
What to bring
A list of essential accessories will probably be sent to you by your tour operator long before the trip. However, that list is for the general mass. To make sure you pack all the gear you need, cross-checking it with your own list is a good idea:
Sudden monsoon rain
- Light waterproof jacket and poncho: just in case you get caught in the North monsoon downpour
- Fast drying and well-ventilated shorts/T-shirts: Heat pretty much comes as given. This clothing will keep you feeling fresh in the intense heat of Vietnam. Due to the high humidity in the North, your clothes will take ages to dry once they get wet, so anything that is fast drying will be your best friend.
- Waterproof and breathable hiking boots with good grip: Choose the type that can lace up to your ankles and tuck your pants into them. This will keep you protected from leeches and your ankles and feet secured.
Hiking boots that lace up to your ankles
- Bug repellent spray: Trekking in the tropics brings huge rewards, but that kind of environment is also the breeding ground for mosquitoes and leeches, which will not hesitate to feed on you. Make sure you bring enough insect repellent and your body is totally covered.
- Waterproof backpack: Such backpacks can mean the different between drenched clothes, wet cellphone and dry gear.
Waterproof backpack is your best friend while trekking in the tropics
- Trekking socks: The higher the cuff of your footwear, the taller you want your socks to be to prevent your skin rubbing directly against your boots. Change your socks and dry your feet off regularly to avoid blisters.
Learn more about Northern Vietnam here: