Vietnam Adventure Travel – A Smart Choice for Vietnam Holidays

Vietnam is getting to be too hot a travel destination after a couple of decades the country is open to the outside world. There is no doubt tourism has helped the local economy tremendously and millions of people have benefited from participating in tourism business in Vietnam. The question is for how long it is going to be that way?

 Dong Van Plateau, Ha Giang, VietnamWell, you may say the answer is simple that if travelers keep coming and spending money, then Vietnam tourism will keep thriving. Well, the simple answer may not be that simple in reality which requires good planning and implementation by Vietnam tourism authorities, Vietnam tour companies and travel agencies, local communities and of course smart decisions by the travelers.

 While local authorities, businesses and communities do what they could; for us, the traveler, what do we do to have great trips for ourselves and our family? And do you wait for others to do it good, then you embark on a good journey for yourself? For certain we travel to places with good reputation, good service and good prices. Hey! It is a crowded small world; choosing those places are not easy nowadays. And what if you or your family still want to go to Vietnam, then? It seems to boil down to making smart decisions for your holidays after all.

 I talked with a buddy, who works with a travel agency offering holidays to Vietnam; he also said that some places are too crowded, especially in A path amid rocky mountains at Dong Van Plateau, Ha Giang, Vietnamthe summer time when millions of Vietnamese (along with about that number from neighbor China) spend their holidays on beaches and at hill stations. Travel agencies in Vietnam and Vietnamese tourismauthorities try to advertise many other untouched and charming attractions, but it seems most travellers would follow the crowd ending up to travel to the same places. Some cite that they are suggested by other travellers who have been there before... And the consequences are that prices at all popular tourist places keep skyrocketing from one year to another; service quality has been on the decline during the high tourist season; rubbish is just ubiquitous and is getting to be the symbol of local tourism...!

While I do believe that many travellers would follow advice by other travellers; I also thought that there might be a chance that most don't have enough information, hence not many choices in making decision on their trip. Transports in Vietnam nowadays are just easy and convenient. There are flights between major tourist attractions, there are frequent trains from one place to another, there are local buses between most cities in Vietnam… So it's just that while information may be available somewhere, most foreign travellers to Vietnam don't really get it; or that information is too overwhelming and foreign visitors don’t get it all the same. And the Vietnamese tourists tend to go to 'trendy' places only...

Ba Be Lake, Bac Kan, VietnamDrifting for almost half of my life as a spoiled traveller moving from one place to another mindlessly tasting local sensational food, loosing myself to the wild and stunning nature, or forgetting about the world engaging myself into the life of local communities, embarking on the adventure of a life time..., I have been busying enjoying life and haven't been hassled at all on my trips....It may be that I travel mostly to areas that are not touched by mass tourism where nature is pristine, where local culture is undisturbed and where local life remains unchanged...; it may be that I got a philosophy of an adventure traveller to expect the unexpected and to travel with an open mind and heart...that I am such a happy traveller?

I don't really know much about how a tourist attraction would get more tourists than others....I have been so busy enjoying myself and have no complaints about the places that I have been to. And in fact, I have mostly enjoyed to the hilt on my journeys.Golden rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai, Vietnam

It might be right that each traveller would have a different taste for holidays and people just get unhappy because they expect something while getting something else...., and normally I go to places that others don't normally go to. Also, many places are only crowded during Vietnamese tourist season while they are empty at the other times of the year… You travel to these spots during the off tourist season, you have my guarantee that the service is good, the prices are cheap and the locals are more likely friendly to you. So maybe it'd be good to share some experiences, hoping that we could do something better for ourselves, for the natural environment that we travel through and for those, be it communities or individuals, who serve us well on our holidays.

I’ll go briefly through my experiences from the top north to the bottom south of Vietnam. The destinations range from high plateau with cool climate, to idyllic countryside in the delta, to deserted sandy beaches,… Hopefully you can pick out something for yourself so that your trip in Vietnam is a memorable experience.

1/Ha Giang, northernmost territory of Vietnam, has brought me 2 great experiences: a solo traveler strolling leisurely amid serrated ridges of the rocky plateau of Dong Van and a memorable stay with a mountain dweller family amid golden rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi.Tea plantations at Moc Chau, Son La, Vietnam

It was in the afternoon of a lovely autumn day. The air was dry and chilly. I was dumbfounded arriving at Yen Minh. It was all rock around me. Everything of that world was of rock. The mountains looked like in fairy tales. I felt I was so lucky bringing more than enough memory cards for my camera and had filled up my flask with hot coffee at the restaurant back at Yen Minh Town. My days at Dong Van Plateau are to last forever.

On another trip to Hoang Su Phi Ha Giang, I stayed with a local Dao Family (Zao) my time was lost amid the golden rice terraces. The homestay amid terraced rice fields overlooked a gorgeous valley with sublime mountains in the front.

2/My trip at Ba Be National Park (Bac Kan) was a great experience leaving hectic city life behind adopting to the simple life by the serene lake with surrounding forests and towering mountains. The trip was during autumn with pleasantly warm sunshine on brisk and breezy days. On this trip, I stayed with a Tay family living by the Ba Be Lake. Another highlight of this trip was yummy food cooked by the hostess. A note for you is that Ba Be may be busy at weekends in the summer when Vietnamese tourists travel.Bac Ha Sunday Market

3/Bac Ha has come into my lasting memory since that winter. Bac Ha is on a plateau with cool climate all year round. But I only love the villages in the winter when the air is dry and cold and of course purely fresh. The villages look more charming in thin mist. I could hike with ease from one village to another observing local ethnic people in their daily life. Late afternoon is so relaxing sipping hot coffee watching villagers going back to their home and gathering around their smoky kitchens! It was heartwarming and it was when time stood still!

4/Mu Cang Chai is amazing with rice terraces just before the harvest season. The rice turns into golden colors which make the hill sides shine! The golden rice shows the best time from mid September to early October.

5/Moc Chau Plateau is the best place to get away from the heat of Hanoi in the summer. But avoid weekends as many Vietnamese tourists may travel to this mountain town, too. Moc Chau has eye-pleasing tea plantations which come into different geometrical shapes. Everyday it is fresh with pleasant temperatures, mild sunshine and caressing breezes.Rowing boats amid mountains at Tam Coc Ninh Binh, Vietnam

6/Ninh Binh is a backwater with flooded rice fields and imposing limestone mountains. Visiting Ninh Binh, you’ll either cycle or stroll amid the rice fields with amazing outcrops around you, or take a rowing boat trip which travels through underwater caves to huge secret valleys further and further inside… While it is beautiful all year round, autumn is the best time to visit Ninh Binh. When the rice turns into golden colors, you bet you have the most spectacular photos.

Ninh Binh is abundant in fish, water snails, goat meat,… Local food in Ninh Binh is sensational always. You could get up early in the morning and join locals in a country market, or walk or cycle amid pure fresh and beautiful countryside, you’ll have beautiful days added to your life!

7/Cua Lo Beach is crowded in the summer but it is empty during the winter. Travel to Cua Lo Beach in the winter, you have luxury hotels, abundant seafood and the empty and clean beach to yourself. Prices are just reasonable. The sea waters are usually quite warm for travelers from Europe.Sa Huynh Beach, Quang Ngai, Vietnam

8/The beaches in Da Nang are too crowded in the summer, but they are empty in the winter. Come and enjoy those of the best beaches in Vietnam yourself then. There are full range of luxury travel services and there quite a few tourist attractions nearby which you can day-trip to.

9/Sa Huynh Beach is mostly unknown to both Vietnamese tourists as well as foreign visitors. There is a luxury resort on the beach and local fresh seafood is of good prices. Sa Huynh is just north of Quy Nhon Beach.

10/Tuy Hoa Beach is an empty beach most of the time. There are good hotels and luxury hotels in and around the city of Tuy Hoa. Enjoy a beach vacation at Tuy Hoa, you can take day trips to explore the amazing coastline in Phu Yen Province. Tuy Hoa is south of Quy Nhon.