Adventure

A sunbeam entering the first doline, or skylight, illuminating the section of the cave known as Watch Out For Dinosaurs inside Hang Son Doong by Ryan Deboodt Take me there

Adventure awaits in this land of dense jungles, crashing waves and untrammelled coastlines. Though Vietnam’s cities offer modern comforts and sophisticated service, rugged types looking to heed the call of the wild will never have to go far. From canyoning in Ðà Lạt to kitesurfing on waves crashing on the beaches of Mũi Né, trekking the lush highlands of Sapa to climbing the jagged limestone karsts of Hạ Long Bay, spelunking in the depths of the immense Hang En cave to scuba diving in the crystalline waters off of Phú Quốc, the number of options for adrenaline-junkies is almost overwhelming.

Even true die-hards will find plenty of ways to push themselves to their limits here. Multiple full-length marathons in Ðà Nẵng and the scenic north give distance runners a chance to test their mettle. Cyclists can navigate virtually the entire 1,650-kilometre length of the country. No one would call this grueling ordeal over varied terrain through tropical heat and humidity easy, but those who rise to the challenge will pass undulating rice paddies and local villages that most travellers never see. Less avid athletes can always choose a shorter route, or opt instead for an epic motorcycling journey over back roads and through hidden corners. If that still sounds a bit strenuous, there are other ways to get off the beaten path, from a homestay in a hilltribe village to cross-country rail journey.

Best of all, thrill-seekers can experience many of Vietnam’s highlights even on a shoestring. Affordable accommodations and local transportation, not to mention world-renowned street food practically everywhere, have long made the country a favourite on the backpacker circuit. No matter what your budget, this is a land that rewards those hoping to discover something new.

Adventure