One of the main factors that draw travelers to Vietnam is the fact that it is a world away from what they know back home. Although the tourist industry is booming in Vietnam, some parts of the country have successfully escaped the modern development to maintain their pristine and exotic condition. However, you need to hurry before heavy tourism gets to them too.
Ho Chi Minh Trail
A part of Ho Chi Minh Trail (Source: Internet)
The legendary paths of the Ho Chi Minh Trail have barely changed after four decades of the notorious Vietnamese-American War. It used to serve as a logistical system that runs from the North to the South to provide support for the People’s Army of Vietnam. The trail has been praised by the United States National Security Agency as “one of the great achievements of military engineering of the 20th century”.
Smeared with mud, the trail snakes upward through the mountains, then falls away in verdant rice fields to a valley below. The isolated villages you would see on the way look as though they have been forgotten by civilization. Their dwellers still maintain the life style of their ancestors and live in perfect harmony with nature. They will welcome you in their home but besides that, miles after miles, there will be just you, your bike, the bumpy road and not a single soul in sight. It’s an adventurous biker’s Holy Grail and casual traveler’s nightmare.
Son Doong Cave
Son Doong Cave in Vietnam (Source: Internet)
It is a 3 million-year-old cave that stretches for more than 5 kilometers and reaches the height of 200 meters, one of the largest in the world. It even has its own localized weather and a unique eco-system.
Before trying to win a place in the only tour to Son Doong, just bear one thing in mind, this cave is not for the timid. The two-day trek and river crossing through the dense jungle just to reach the entrance of the cave is already an adventure itself. Travelers are required to trudge up and down repeatedly, climb, and swim through underground rivers and even crawl to reach the end of Son Doong. It will take your every last strenuous effort, courage and endurance to finish the trip but it is well worth it. This is one of the best adventure tours you can find in Vietnam. Exploring one of the largest, Jurassic-like caves in the world is not something everyone can do.
Con Dao National Park
Con Dao National Park (Source: Internet)
Con Dao has born witness to one of the most horrible parts of Vietnam history. It used to serve as the prison in the French colonial era. However, Con Dao is a place with natural beauty, secluded beaches, and extensive coral reefs. It is a rare off the beaten track destination for explorers.
You will have good fun diving and swimming in Cao Dao but most travelers are fascinated with the hiking trails. Here are some options that hellovietnam have listed for you to choose from:
Ong Dung Beach: the trail is paved, 1.4 km long and an ideal choice for casual hikers.
So Ray Beach Loop: comprises of both rugged and paved trails, 7.4 km long, perfect for healthy and social hikers.
Dam Tre Beach: a total distance of 11 km, a mix of paved, rugged and concrete trails, suitable for hardcore hikers.
A part of Ha Giang from above (Source: Internet)
Considered the final frontier of Vietnam, Ha Giang boasts nature that is true to the meaning of the word “pristine”. The border with China has kept most tourists away from Ha Giang, which is bad for tourism but allows it to keep its intact nature. Here is a recommended motorbike loop to further explore the region:
This loop covers the following destinations: Ha Giang, Tam Son, Yen Minh, Dong Van, Meo Vac and Bao Lac with a total distance of 320 km. Two days is enough to finish it but if you want to take in the full scenery, it can take up to four days. The route is not very challenging as most of it is paved and in good condition. Motorbikes are available for rent in Ha Giang City at about 7 to 10 USD per day. A permit of around 14 USD is required if you want to visit the area.
Despite the fact that tourism is mushrooming in Vietnam, there are some places that have escaped the craze and are perfect destinations for adventurous souls and nature lovers.
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