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Vietnam Travel: The best places to get away from the crowds

To get the most out of your trip when you travel through Vietnam, you’d definitely want to visit destinations that bring you closer to the culture and exotic vibe of the country through breathtaking natural landscapes and peaceful surroundings that are away from a city’s chaotic bustling.

Vietnam tourism has seen a major development over recent years and has surely become a travel trend among travellers worldwide. To enjoy your Vietnam travel experience more peacefully, closer to nature and without huge crowds swarming around, here’s a list of the Top 5 places in Vietnam where you can get away from the crowds and feel the authentic experience in its true essence:

1. Ha Giang – Northern Vietnam

Ha Giang is a truly beautiful remote province in the North of Vietnam and is yet to be tapped as a place for mass tourism. Having a population of over 90% ethnic minorities, diversified, unique cultures and lifestyles, Ha Giang will definitely woo you with its incredible landscapes and beauty; engulfed by big hills, valleys, ethnic minority villages and almost negligible tourist crowds, this place will undoubtedly give you an authentic Vietnam travel experience. Make sure you visit the highlights of the region; Quan Ba, Dong Van, Meo Vac, Ma Pi Leng and the glorious Lung Cu peak.

The simplicity of the locals and their lifestyle is what gives Ha Giang its charm, apart from the spectacular scenery. One of the top things to do here is to ride the Ha Giang motorbike loop and try the Thang Co soup, which is cooked from every part of the animal and you will be amazed at the amount of ingredients in the soup for sure!

2. Moc Chau, Son La province – Northwestern Vietnam

As a rural district belonging to the Son La Province in the Northwestern region of Vietnam, Moc Chau’s natural beauty appears to be straight out of a dream when traveling in Vietnam. Moc Chau boasts of enormous green tea hills, lush greenery, high plateaus and some of the most eye catching sights you’ll see on your Vietnam travel journey.

With a distance of 200 km between Hanoi and Moc Chau, riding a motorbike or taking a sleeping bus/limousine is considered to be the best way to get to Moc Chau from Hanoi, as you’ll be thoroughly mesmerized by the sights you see along the way. You can also easy look up for Moc Chau tours from Hanoi if you would love to go on a designed itinerary.

Since not many people are aware of this part of Vietnam, you’ll be able to peacefully enjoy the area’s gorgeous natural landscape like the Dai Yem waterfalls, pine forest of Ang village, Son Moc Huong cave, Xuan Nha Nature Reserve, Pha Luong mount etc. Another interesting fact about Moc Chau is that it is home to hill tribes such as the White & Back of the Thai people and the Muong people.  Make sure you visit the heart tea hill, pine tree forest and the Pha Luong Mountain!

3. Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh province – Central of Vietnam

When you travel to Vietnam, making a trip to Phong Nha is a must and this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a one stop destination adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Hidden away in the depth of dense jungles, Limestone Mountains, valleys and the serene rivers of Central Vietnam, the magnificent land of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park is where your Vietnam travel goals turn into reality.

Phong Nha is blessed with some of the World’s biggest and most extraordinary caves, including Son Doong Cave, the world’s biggest cave and Hang En, the world’s third biggest cave; Paradise Cave; Phong Nha Cave; Hang Va cave with magnificent rare cave formations or Tu Lan Cave System – a hot filming destination for Hollywood blockbusters. Phong Nha is also believed to be the adventure capital of Asia, with the best adventure tours in Vietnam that you wouldn’t want to miss. If adventure is not your thing, Phong Nha also offers a wide range of soft activities. Travelling to Phong Nha is an exclusive experience, as you’ll have plenty of places to visit and things to do where you won’t find big touristy crowds.

The tranquility that Phong Nha offers travellers has never been disrupted in any way, unlike many places when you travel to Vietnam. You can find blissful solitude almost anywhere and everywhere in Phong Nha; riding your bike into the countryside, watching the sunset over the spread out rice fields; kayaking on the Son River, exploring the caves and much more! Phong Nha surely deserves the top spot on your Vietnam travel itinerary.

4. Bach Ma National Park, Hue – Central of Vietnam

Travelling to Vietnam, you just can’t miss the Bach Ma National Park in Hue. It’s considered to be among the best and most peaceful places to visit in Vietnam, despite a gradual growth in the area’s tourism. This old hill station offers travellers some amazing hiking trails, stunning waterfalls, lots of wildlife and even a campsite! You’ll find that there are very few travellers around you exploring the area and this is primarily due to its geographical location that many people aren’t probably aware of.

Lying midway between Da Nang and Hue, Bach Ma National Park remains actually quite easily accessible and gives you an incredible jungle trekking experience along with some great Mountain ranges to be explored when you travel Vietnam. It is believed that about 65,000 tribal minorities live inside the national park’s ‘buffer zone’; this includes a community called the Khe Su hamlet and can be visited while you’re in the park. Make sure you also check out the French Villas here, that dot the landscape.

5. Quy Nhon, Binh Dinh province – Central of Vietnam

Considered to be a rather non-tourist destination, Quy Nhon is absolutely underrated! This developing port city finds itself outlined by some of Vietnam’s most stunning beaches and spectacular countryside. Known to have existed since the 11th century, Quy Nhon is also a must visit destination if you wish to enjoy some exceptional seafood when you travel Vietnam, as fishing happens to be the main industry here.

Don’t forget to visit the Binh Dinh museum while you’re there, along with the Thap Doi Cham towers and Long Khanh – Quy Nhon’s biggest pagoda. When you travel Vietnam, the highlight of visiting Quy Nhon is the fact that you can spend a lot of time unwinding at the beaches, far away from crowds. You’ll find stark differences between the beaches here and elsewhere; you’ll hardly find any trash littered around or big loud groups. You’ll literally have the beach to yourself.

Oxalis Adventure Tours:

ONE DAY TOURS

If you are seeking a taste of the caves and really don’t have enough time then we recommend a one-day cave and jungle trek. We currently have three tour options for you to select, each with a slightly different style and suitability.

• Phong Nha National Park 1-DayOur family adventure in the Phong Nha offers a great taste of untouched jungle and impressive wild caves. It is the easiest level of adventure but there is still 5km of trekking and 2km of caving, and optional swimming during warmer weather into one cave. It’s suitable for kids from 12 and above with good fitness, and so this makes for a great day for everyone! It costs VND 1,650,000 per person (USD 72).

• Tu Lan Experience – 1 DayThis is one of our original one-day tours and still one of the best adventures in Vietnam. This one-day tour includes rock scrambling, 50m swimming through a wild river-cave, and up to 9 km of trekking through the lush jungles. You will also strap yourself in for a 15m descent down a ladder. It costs VND 1,800,000 (USD 78) per person.

• Hang Tien Discovery – 1 DayThis one-day tour is perfect for trekking enthusiasts eager to see the largest cave of Tu Lan but without time for the two-day experience. Hang Tien is a dry cave so no swimming required, but still includes up to 4km of trekking through mostly flat jungle and about 500m exploring this incredible cave that will no doubt impress with its grandeur. It costs VND 2,000,000 per person (USD 87).

TWO DAY TOURS

Our most popular cave adventures start from two-days providing an immersive jungle and caving adventure, each targeting a slightly different kind of adventure-seeker, or perfect for those who want to combine a couple of tours to see different caves and areas on one trip to Phong Nha.

• Tu Lan Cave Encounter – 2 DaysOur most popular tour exploring the famous jungle area of Tu Lan. On this overnight camping excursion, you will trek through a number of different dry caves, swim up to 500m through a couple of river caves, witness outstanding cascading waterfalls underground as featured in National Geographic, and spend the night at our jungle camp beside a gorgeous waterfall. It includes 12km of trekking and 3km of caving in total and is for those with a good adventurous spirit. It costs VND 5,500,000 per person (USD 239).

• Hang En Cave Adventure – 2 DaysFor two days, this is our best-value-for-money tour that includes one of the most jaw-dropping natural landscapes you will see in this lifetime. This cave is considered the second largest cave in Vietnam and third largest in the World, and it also makes up one night of the original five-day Son Doong Cave Expedition being so close to the largest cave in the world. It includes visiting Ban Doong Ethnic Village, located in the jungle, and a magnificent campsite on a sandy beach inside the cave. It includes 22km of jungle trekking at times quite rocky, multiple knee-deep river crossings, and elevation change of 400m (the ‘hill’ you won’t forget), and 4km of caving. This is a level 3 adventure on a scale of 1 to 6. It costs VND 7,600,000 per person (USD 330).

• Hang Tien Endeavor – 2 DaysA two-day trek into the jungle to see the largest dry cave of the Tu Lan area, exploring 5.5km of this truly stunning cave, with a variety of karst formations. This 13km trek is suitable for those not too keen on cave swimming or too many hills, but still up for an adventure. This is a level 4 adventure between 1 and 6, with 6 being the most challenging. It costs VND 6,500,000 per person (USD 283).

• Hang Va Expedition – 2 DaysA technically challenging, but equally rewarding two-day caving adventure in the heart of Phong Nha National Park. This tour takes you deep into the jungle to one of the most spectacular river-caves, with formations not seen anywhere else in the world! It involves rock scrambling, wading through an underground river, bouldering and rope-traversing within the cave, to reach the rarest tower cone formations. This involves quite a lot of technical work due to safety, but is not overly difficult, it includes 10km of trekking and 3 km of caving.  This is a level 4 adventure, with 6 being the highest. It costs VND 8,000,000 per person (USD 348).

THREE-DAY TOURS

Now, if you really want to increase the adventure and soak up the wild jungle of Vietnam, with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the area, we highly recommend a three-day caving tour of our Tu Lan or Hang Tien.

• Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer – 3 DaysThis tour incorporates the very best of Tu Lan with two different jungle campsites besides stunning waterfalls, 3km of cave exploring through a number of caves, 1km of cave swimming and visiting some additional areas not included on our shorter experiences. Our three-day tour is very popular and tends to be booked out so get in quick to enjoy this thrilling jungle adventure. It includes 17 km of jungle trekking and with quite a bit of swimming you will need to have a good level of fitness. It is not for the faint-hearted, but still only considered level 3 adventure level compared to level 4 of the Hang Tien 3-day tour. It costs VND 8,000,000 per person (USD 348).

• Hang Tien Exploration – 3 DaysThis three-day tour stands out for combining a taste of Tu Lan with some river cave swimming, before crossing a mountain range to reach the valley for Hang Tien – the most astounding dry caves in the region, where you will enjoy trekking, bouldering over various rocky terrains to witnessing breathtaking patterned calcite walls & ceilings of Hang Tien. It’s challenging and definitely more suited to adventure enthusiasts who have trekking experience and prefer more challenging routes. It includes a total of 22km of trekking, 6.5 km of caving and an elevation change of 150m over one particular hillside. You will get wet, you will be challenged, but you will not be disappointed. Hang Tien is located adjacent to the Tu Lan area so you will enjoy the best of both worlds – a level 4 adventure out of 6 adventure levels. It costs VND 8,500,000 per person (USD 370).

FOUR & FIVE-DAY TOURS

For those looking for the ultimate adventure experience in Vietnam, and thriving for the real grand expedition of the world, you should opt for these 4-day journeys to explore the entire cave system of Tu Lan and the largest cave on Earth

• Tu Lan Expedition – 4 DaysYou will also explore all of the extraordinary caves in Tu Lan, including Kim Cave and Secret Cave that boasts phenomenal natural falls and karst formations inside these two unbelievable river caves. Complete a trek through Hang Tien Cave – famed for its vastness and magnificent formations. Our secluded jungle campsites are spectacular and mostly different from those visited on our shorter treks in the same region. This is a perfect alternative expedition for those who are unable to do Son Doong Expedition, still it’s challenging and not recommended for those without experience. It includes an additional night at Chay Lap Farmstay before the tour to ensure you are well rested and ready to depart early the following day. Level 5 on our 6 adventure levels. It includes 30km of jungle trekking, 5 km of caving, about 800m swimming through caves and one abseil in a cave in the pitch black – highly adventurous! It costs VND 15,000,000 per person (USD 652).

• Son Doong Expedition – 4 DaysBy now you would have seen some pictures of Son Doong Cave, and even they don’t do it justice. The record-breaking Son Doong Cave is hands-down one of the most stunning places on this planet Earth. The expedition is tough, but not too difficult so long as you have a strong resolve to achieve. It is surely one of the newest wonders of the world. Son Doong is not just another cave tour – it is life-changing to say the least. It includes 25km of trekking, 9 km caving including rope climbs, and the 90m ascent of the Great Wall of Vietnam using a ladder, elevation change of 400m and many river crossings inside and outside the cave. Level 6 on our adventure levels. It costs VND 69,800,000 per person (USD 3000).

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?  Visit our FAQs section where we have a lot of answers for your questions and concerns. https://oxalis.com.vn/faq-general/

WANT TO SEE VIDEOS OF OUR TOURS? Visit our youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/OxalisAdventurTours

WANT TO CHAT LIVE WITH OUR ADVENTURE CONSULTANT? Please look at the green icon at the right corner on your screen below to talk to our Adventure Consultant.