Previously, we’ve given you a whole lot of good reasons to rediscover Vietnam as an ecotourism destination, and now it’s time to start planning an actual trip and quench your thirst for adventure! Planning an eco-adventure trip in a country that has so much to offer might seem like you’d need a few months to cover everything. But if you plan according to activities located in northern, central, and southern Vietnam, you get to come back to this amazing country more than once just to cover everything over a few trips. We’ve done the research for you to help you start. Here is Part 1 of our list of 10 exciting eco-adventure activities you can do around Vietnam.
1. Sandboarding and more at Mui Ne
News flash - You don’t have to fly to the Middle East for an Aladdin-like experience. You can get it at the sand dunes of Mui Ne! It takes about 4 hours and 20 minutes to get to Mui Ne from Tan Son Nhat International Airport and the most reliable way to go is by bus. No magic carpets (or lamps) are available for rent at the sand dunes, but plastic sandboards start at a rental of RM5, promising simple fun sliding down nature’s massive slide. Quad bikes are also available for rent starting at RM130, depending on which rental company you choose. It might also be useful to know there are both red and white sand dunes in the area, and the best time to go would be early in the morning for the sunrise and cool weather or in the evening to catch the sunset on a hot air balloon!
2. Waterfall canyoning in Dalat
Not too far away from Mui Ne, is Dalat - A treasure trove of fun for nature-loving thrill-seekers. One of the most popular activities here is canyoning, which is similar to rappelling or abseiling. Challenge yourselves to make your way down 20 meters of the mighty Datanla waterfall with just a rope (and lots of protective gear) before going for a swim in the pool of water below. How exciting is that! Prices for canyoning tours range between RM200 - 300 depending on which one you choose. There are also other beautiful waterfalls to check out around Dalat such as the Pongour Waterfall or the Elephant Falls, but Datanla is the only one with canyoning facilities and a permit to do so.
3. Bike ride to Ganh Da Dia
Source: TripAdvisor @ Long G
Another fascinating natural phenomenon in Vietnam that’s to be appreciated are the rock formations at Ganh Da Dia reef. People often call it the “Giant’s Causeway” of Vietnam, in reference to similar mystical-looking basalt columns found in Northern Ireland. While there doesn’t seem to be any folklore tied to this area, we know that these rock formations were also the result of volcanic action millions of years ago, creating a surreal location for filming movie scenes or just great Instagram photos. In Vietnamese, Ganh Da Dia translates to “The Sea of Cliff Stone Plates”. It is listed as a National Heritage site by Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The best way to get here is to rent a motorbike and enjoy your bike adventure along the coast of An Ninh Dong Commune in Tuy An District of Phu Yen.
4. Go on a cable car ride at Sun World, Phu Quoc
One of the best ways to appreciate the environment is to have a bird’s-eye view of nature, and that can easily be done on a cable car ride at Sunworld, Phu Quoc. This cable car ride starts at Phu Quoc and ends at Hon Thom “Pineapple Island” with a total distance of 8 km, giving you an incredible 360° view of the An Thoi Archipelago. The Guinness Book of World Records has even noted it as the world’s longest non-stop three-way cable car! You can purchase a ticket for about RM89 (adult price) or RM62 (child price). Sun World Hon Thom Theme Park itself is scheduled to be completed in April 2020.
5. Kayaking along Thu Bon River, Hoi An
Image by GrassHopper Adventures
Head up to central Vietnam and you’ll find the picturesque Thu Bon River of Hoi An. It’s one of the largest rivers in the area, making it a prime location for fishing and trading back in the 16th and 18th centuries. The best way to really about the life and history of that important river is to hear it from the locals themselves on a boat tour. Traditional paddle boats with local guides leave from Hoi An daily and you’ll get to experience life along the river bank, including stops at a carpentry village. You could also rent your own kayak for two at about RM40 per hour and take a leisurely paddle down the river on your own. One of the best times to visit is during the festival season where you’ll get to witness traditional rituals and celebrations taking place along the river. The Hoi An Full Moon or Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 14th of every lunar month and the Thu Bon Goddess Festival (also known as the Lady Thu Bon Festival) is celebrated yearly on the 12th day of the second lunar month.
6. Explore the ruins of My Son Sanctuary
There are a total of 53 ethnic minorities in Vietnam, making the history and culture of the whole nation more fascinating than it already is. My Son Sanctuary is a perfect example of that, being one of three Hindu temples built by the ethnic Cham people of Vietnam in the 14th century. It was used as a place for religious ceremonies and as a burial ground for royalty. It has now been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site, representing the presence of a minority religion in a country which predominantly identifies itself as Buddhist or atheist under its communist influence. Visiting My Son is like stepping far back into Vietnam’s past. While you enjoy capturing photos of yourself in action, Indiana Jones-style, remember to do so respectfully.
These six different locations and activities should give you plenty of exciting things to do on your first trip to Vietnam already. All you need to do now is to book your flight with us and pack your bags. Or you can stay tuned for Part 2 of the list, where we take you further up north!