Vietnam is a traveller’s paradise, is the top travel destination in South-East Asia and one of the top ones around the whole wide world as well. This culturally vibrant, technologically savvy and naturally blessed country is ideal for those looking to have a holistic travel experience that expands your horizons in terms of culture, sightseeing, exploration and of course unlimited adventure opportunities!
In terms of people having once in a lifetime kind of adventures, Vietnam’s reputation has been like a roller coaster that only goes up! More and more people around the world have started travelling to Vietnam for witnessing some incredible naturally occurring phenomena, world class jungle trekking opportunities and exploring some of the world’s biggest and most magnificent underground caves.
The flawless landscapes
One of the factors that make trekking in Vietnam so special is the never ending beauty of the landscapes that your eyes would surely sink into! While trekking in Vietnam, the landscapes around you will blow your mind with vast pristine jungles that are rich in extraordinary flora and fauna, gigantic caves, gorgeous hill tops, towering mountains, breathtaking valleys, waterfalls and serene rivers decorating the nature.
The exhilarating terrain
Vietnam is considered one of the world’s best trekking destinations also due to the challenging yet highly thrilling terrain it provides to trekking enthusiasts worldwide. Trekking in Vietnam will have you in trekking trails of jungles, mountains that full of sharp limestone rocks, slippery surfaces, pebbles, mud, slush, moss, sand and even rivers. Slide, crawl, climb while trekking in Sapa (Lao Cai Province), Ta Nang Phan Dung (Lam Dong) and so much more places in Vietnam will be your best experiences.! The major part of such incredible trekking trails lies in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, in the central region of Vietnam and is believed to be the best trekking in Vietnam!
In every experienced traveller’s conversation about the best trekking in Vietnam, the top spot goes to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, which is based in Quang Binh Province of Central Vietnam. Trekking in Vietnam is always a surreal experience, but trekking in the otherworldly beautiful and challenging terrain of Phong Nha is on a different level altogether! Imagine trekking through extraordinary landscapes, untouched beauty of the dense jungles, the jade river bodies, huge limestone mountains and of course the ever majestic caves! Owing to the life changing jungle and cave adventures that Phong Nha offers, it is popularly considered as the “Adventure Capital of Asia”.
About Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
Phong Nha is one of those last few places on Earth, which are yet to be completely discovered. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, Phong Nha Ke Bang National park is truly a marvel of nature. This magnificent land is hidden away in the depth of dense jungles, valleys, jungle clad Karst Mountains and the serene rivers.
The fact that the Phong Nha is home to the world’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong cave, is what attracts passionate adventurers worldwide. Not just the glorious Hang Son Doong, but this region has the most spectacular caves in the world, including Hang En – The world’s third biggest cave; Hang Va – owning the rarest cave formations in the world, Nuoc Nut Cave – one of the world’s most attractive natural wonders for exploratory journeys in Vietnam and the nearby gigantic Tu Lan Cave System that is made up of over 10 caves! If you’re looking for the best trekking in Vietnam, Phong Nha is the place to be.
What makes Phong Nha the best trekking destination in Vietnam?
Here are some reasons why Phong Nha is considered synonymous to “best trekking in Vietnam”:
Son Doong Cave Trail
The trek to Son Doong – the world’s largest cave is believed to be the most thrilling trail on Earth. There are some treks in the world that are all about the journey and not just the destination. Son Doong Expedition is a world ahead on both the journey and the incredible destination. Imagine trekking straight into the depths of the world’s largest cave which can fit a Boeing 747 flying through the largest passage, on an expedition unlike any other.
Son Doong Cave is a masterpiece of nature with otherworldly landscapes, enormous stalagmites and statuesque stalactites – hanging from the ceiling and rising from the ground like an alien species. The real jungle inside the cave will amaze you in every way, while misty clouds envelope the scene. The fossil passage will give you the opportunity to understand the formation of this ancient limestone.
Hang En Cave Trail
This trek is so special and engulfed in beauty, that you’d not realize how arduous it actually is. Ascending and descending on steep jungle hills, crossing rivers, wading through streams and making your way along a river valley will form a major part of this trek. With an elevation change of up to 550 m, multiple river crossings and a total of 22 Km jungle and mountain trekking on limestone rock terrain, this is one of the best trekking adventures in Vietnam and even Asia!
You’ll also get to visit the remote jungle village called Doong Village and even get to interact with the eccentric jungle tribe as you’ll be welcomed with smiles and open arms! Your destination after the trek is the Hang En Cave – The Third Largest Cave in the World! It would interest you to know that this trail also leads to the World’s Largest Cave – Son Doong Cave.
You’ll be navigating through steep hills and going down is a bit challenging yet a very fun experience. Apart from this, you’ll also get to do some river crossings, admire the butterflies flying around, scramble, slide and even swim inside the Nuoc Nut Cave and Hang Va Cave! All through the trek, you’ll find yourself surrounded by beautiful silhouettes and beautiful limestone rock surfaces.
If you’re looking for an easier trek in Phong Nha, the Phong Nha National Park 1-Day trek is the perfect itinerary for travellers looking for an easygoing day filled with fun and memorable moments, which includes a short trek to explore Nuoc Nut Cave, along with an introduction to the Phong Nha National Park, kayaking down a spectacular stretch of the iconic Chay River and unwinding at the Chay Lap Water Sports Center.
Tu Lan Cave System Trail
The trek on the Tu Lan cave system trail is considered to one of the most challenging and exciting treks in Vietnam! Those adventurers who consider themselves physically fit and who regularly like to participate in outdoor activities will surely have a thrill throughout this journey.
This awesome trek takes place in the region of the Tan Hoa commune, the place where the Hollywood Blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island” was filmed! This mind blowing trek will have you trekking and exploring about 30 km in the mysterious jungles, mountains and on rocky terrains, exploring over 10 caves in the system, 5 km of caving and almost 800 m of swimming inside the caves!! The elevation change of up to 300 m also adds to this adventurous challenge greatly! You’ll also get to part of more exciting adventurous activities on this tour. You’ll undoubtedly get a true taste of trekking in Vietnam on this journey!
Exploring this trails with options from 1 to 4 days tour. The longer the journey, the more trekking you experience:
Hang Tien Cave Trail
Hang Tien trekking trails has nothing similar with other routes, not only trekking through dense jungle with hill & mountains but also crossing through rocky terrain before getting into the cave. This trek will test you both physically and mentally; and at the end of it all, you’ll come out much happier with a big sense of achievement!
To experience this trail, you will have options from 1 to 3-day tours to choose from, the longer the trek, the more you will experience:
It’s also vital to know the best time to visit Phong Nha. Taking into consideration that climate trends in this region and possible risks that tag along, experts say that the ideal time to visit Phong Nha is anytime between mid-November to mid-September. Other than that, the rains take over this mystical land. Trekking through the challenging terrain during this time is highly unsafe and you should completely refrain from participating in an adventure during this time. Phong Nha offers the best trekking in Vietnam and its exclusivity is also due to the factor of weather change!
Trekking in Vietnam and especially in Phong Nha is an experience of a lifetime and those who do it remember it till the end of time. This place is a magical land and offers travellers much more than just thrilling adventures. You can ride a cycle around the countryside, visit the peaceful local villages, try some authentic Vietnamese cuisine, go kayaking, do a sunset cruise, ride your motorbike on the Phong Nha loop and much more!
In a nutshell, the style of trekking in such adventures at Phong Nha involves: