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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Vietnam adventure travel

Introduction

Vietnam has done very well tourism-wise since reopening its doors to foreign tourists in the mid 1990’s. Combined with a good train system, affordable and frequent flights and a tourist-orientated minibus system, a bunch of very worthwhile destinations have developed into what has become a pretty well worn path running up and down the length of the country.

Most first time visitors try to get a taste of the north and the south of the country, but be warned, Vietnam is deceptively large and if you try to do too much in too short a time, you’ll wind up needing another holiday to get over your Vietnamese one.

Running north to south, visitors commence with the capital Hanoi, with many doing side-trips to both Sapa and Ha Long Bay before heading south, generally stopping at Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang then either Da Lat or Mui Ne before running into Saigon. From there many do a trip into the Mekong Delta. For those with more time, the northwest mountains, the Central Highlands and deep into the Mekong Delta are all well worthwhile extras.

How long a holiday?

While you could see the basics on a top to tail trip in as little as a week to ten days, we’d strongly suggest — at least — two to three weeks as being a more realistic timeline. If you can’t give that much time to Vietnam, then consider just seeing one part of the country and saving the rest for another trip.

Ways to see more in less

Fly, fly, fly

Both Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airways have affordable domestic fares — a couple of one hour flights can save you 36 hours on a train or bus.

Suggested itineraries for Vietnam

HIKING TOURS
Trekking Mai Chau (4D/3N)
Mai Chau easy trek & home stay (3D/2N)
Sapa Trekking & Home-stay (4D/4N)
Sapa trek & Topas Eco Lodge (5D/5N)
Sapa Long Trails (6D/6N)
Different Sapa - Different Trek (6D/6N)
Conquer Mount Fansipan - Cat Cat Route (6D/6N)
Conquer Mount Fansipan - Heaven Gate Route (4D/4N)
Conquer Mount Fansipan - Sinchai Route (5D/5N)
Conquer Mount Fansipan - Mt. Fansipan & Hoang Lien National Park & Ban Ho Valley (11D/11N)
Trekking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve (6D/5N)
Trekking Cuc Phuong National Park (2D/1N)
Bach Ma National Park Trek & Camping (2D/1N)
Trekking Nam Cat Tien National Park (2D/1N)
Jungle Fever - Trekking Dalat (2D/1N)
MOTORCYCLING TOURS
Motorcycling the Ho Chi Minh Trail - Half Challenge (11D/10N)
Motorcycling the Ho Chi Minh Trail - Complete Challenge (18D/17N)
Motorcycling Northwestern Trails (7D/6N)
Taste of Ho Chi Minh Trail (3D/2N)
KAYAKING TOURS
Kayaking Halong Bay 4days(4D/3N)
Kayaking Halong Bay 3days(3D/2N)
Kayaking Halong Bay & Trekking Cat Ba National Park (5D/4N)
Trekking Cat Ba National Park & Kayaking Lan Ha Bay - Halong Bay (4D/3N)
BIKING TOURS
Mekong Explorer (4D/3N)
West to East Biking Exploration (11D/10N)
Biking Pu Luong Nature Reserve (4D/3N)
Biking Hidden Paths of Mai Chau & Ninh Binh (4D/3N)
A Taste of Mekong (2D/1N)
Biking Mai Chau (2D/1N)
Biking Dalat - Northwest Circuit (2D/1N)
Biking Adventures Mekong & Centre Highland (11D/10N)
FAMILY TRAVEL
Family Adventures in Vietnam (12D/11N)
Northern Highlights (10D/9N)
The Mighty Mekong (3D/2N)
Discover Vietnam & her National parks (20D/19N)
INDOCHINA ADVENTURE
Vietnam-Laos Adventures (17D/16N)
Mekong Delta & Angkor Wat (10D/9N)

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