What would you say if I told you that you could experience one of the world’s most picturesque landscapes while getting your blood pumping and heart racing? If you’re like us, you’d say “where do I sign up?!”
If this is you, you’ll be pleased to know that Vietnam is the beauty in question, offering everything from classic outdoor activities to extreme sports all with a simply stunning backdrop. If you’re looking for adventurous things to do while in Vietnam, sit back, relax, and be prepared for us to blow your mind!
Mui Ne is pretty much the adventure sports capital of Vietnam, with some even claiming it for all of Asia! Whatever your stance, it guarantees good adventure activities to be had. Our favorite? Sandboarding! Imagine waking up at sunrise and heading out to the summits of the pristine sand dunes. At this time, the sand isn’t too hot, so it’s the perfect temperature to practice surfing and rolling down the dunes.
Once you get more confident you can take on the daddy dunes, maybe even try your luck with standing. One thing is for sure at this second best sandboarding destination in the world, and that is, you’ll have so much fun! Regardless if you haven’t tried this before, rent a board and enjoy just goofing around and rolling down the dunes- it is heaps of fun!
Where to do it: Mui Ne
Take on Mount Fansipan
If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Vietnam, then why not try and conquer its highest peak? At 3,143 meters high, Mount Fansipan is also the highest peak in Indochina, so expect a tough challenge that will take you 3 days to claim your victory.
Nothing says adventure like battling against biting winds, rough terrain and steep climbs, so only attempt this climb if you’re fit (potentially mad) and want to get your blood pumping. Although very challenging, the trek will take you through some of the most remote and beautiful areas, ending with the most rewarding panoramic view of Vietnam from the roof of Indochina.
Where to do it: Lào Cai Province
Resources: It might be worth checking out some of our trekking guides before this trek such as the Beginner’s Guide to Trekking: Everything You Need to Know
If you’ve ever been canyoning, you’ll know that it is a lot tougher than it looks but it’s crazy fun! The best place to do it in Vietnam? Without a doubt, we have to say Dalat. Dalat is the perfect place to learn the art of canyoning, providing easier routes and ideal half day tours while still offering routes that are not for the faint-hearted.
We absolutely love canyoning as it’s a great mixture of adventure and skill. Plus, who wouldn’t love to abseil, swim, hike, and slide and jump down waterfalls in their own outdoor playground?
Where to do it: Dalat
You can do kayaking in many places in Vietnam but the best place by far to do it is in Ha Long Bay. Why? Ha Long Bay is simply stunning, with hundreds of limestone islands protruding from the waters. It’s usually misty, but this makes for an incredibly atmospheric landscape that is probably the reason why it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Although some areas have become packed with tour boats and day trippers in kayaks, there are many untouched places on the outer fringes of the bay. So what are you waiting for? Rent a kayak, paddle between islands, discover secluded beaches and explore hidden caves where no one has gone before!
Resources: For accommodation ideas, check out our Best Places to Stay in Hanoi article
Drive a Motorbike from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi (or Vice Versa)
Crossing the road in Vietnam is an adventure in itself, so why not rent a bike and explore the country as the locals do! If you’re up for an adventure, take the ultimate plunge and buy a motorbike while in Vietnam and drive it from end to end. Although driving across the country provides ultimate freedom, do watch out for common travel scams in Vietnam.
Not only do you get the ultimate freedom, but you also get to experience a country with every one of your senses. There’s nothing like the experience of zooming around country roads with breathtaking scenery surrounding you. Seriously, we actually have an article “Vietnam by Motorbike: The Best Six Weeks of my Life” written by my brother that explains this thrill!
Not confident on two wheels? If you’re not up for hiring a bike yourself but you still want the thrill, consider opting for a Vietnam motorbike tour! It’s a great way to see the sights such as Ho Chi Minh City at night, plus it will build your confidence to take a bike on an adventure to the country by yourself later.
Resources: Check out our useful guides Beginners Guide to Riding a Motorbike in Asia and Vietnam by Motorbike: 8 Things You Should Read First.
Marble Mountain Rappelling Tour with Temple and Cave Exploration
A perfect adventure for adrenaline junkies is this marble mountain rappelling tour with temple and cave exploration. It might not sound like much, but you’ll soon change your mind when you’re doing it. Imagine yourself dangling over the edge of sheer cliff faces and descending down into a never-ending pitch black cave, hanging only from a rope high above the earth’s surface. Now, this sounds like my kind of adventure!
Where to do it: Hoi An, from Da Nang
Resources: Things to do in Da Nang
Although you might not think of diving when you hear Vietnam, the country offers pretty good scuba diving opportunities that even non-divers won’t be able to resist! Being a relatively new destination for diving, new dive sites are continuously being discovered with pristine untouched waters. That’s exciting in itself! What’s even cooler though, is the unspoiled underwater life that comes with it.
Expect to see a rich reef life full of dugongs, bamboo sharks, basslets, barracuda and a variety of nudibranchs. With the main diving season at its peak from March to October, you have plenty of time to explore this underwater paradise! The diving in Vietnam is very season dependent so if you do go, you might catch it during an off time similar to one of our trips making the diving in Nha Trang slightly lackluster. However, we hear that when the waters are warmer, the diving gets better!
Where to do it: Nha Trang (Moray Beach and Madonna Beach), Hoi An (Hon Mo and Hon Nhan), Phu Quoc (Dry Island and Nudibranch Gardens)
What better way to end our adventurous things to do in Vietnam list than with cliff jumping! Whether you’re the type that needs to work yourself up for a jump or the one who heads straight to the top, cliff jumping in Nha Trang will produce a thrilling high in everyone.
The best place to jump has been said to be at Ba Ho Falls. An hour-long motorbike ride from Nha Trang, you will find a stunning and isolated waterfall with crystal turquoise waters that are just begging to be jumped into. As well as the jump itself, the hike up to the jumping point is quite tough and slippery so be safe and jump responsibly!
Where to do it: Ba Ho Falls at Nha Trang
Resources: Best Places to Stay in Nha Trang
When we think of Thailand, our minds go to images of long-tailed boats anchored in clear waters on the beach, when we think of Vietnam, the image that is conjured is likely to be Sapa; Sapa is an area that is full of rolling green rice paddies, perfect for exploring via bike!
One of the top adventurous things to do in Vietnam is mountain biking, probably because of the serious hills that the country has. Let’s just say, you’ll have to remember to bring your thigh and calf muscles with you if you want to bike here! Mountain biking is the perfect way to explore the countryside and there are plenty of tours or DIY routes on offer whether you fancy a day out or
Mountain biking is the perfect way to explore the countryside and there are plenty of tours or DIY routes on offer, whether you fancy a day out or hardcore 14-day ride from Hanoi to Saigon!
Where to do it: Sapa, Hoi An, Lai Chao, Dien Bien Phu, Fansipan
Among the adventurous things to do in Vietnam, and rightly so, is kitesurfing! Referred to as surfing’s older brother, this sport is the more extreme version where surfers hang from a kite and ride the waves. If you’ve ever seen an experienced kitesurfer perform high-octane acrobatics, jumps, and adrenaline-fuelled flights through the air, then you’ll know how extreme it is. Although a difficult sport to master as a beginner, it is nevertheless, just as fun and exhilarating as surfing itself!
Where to do it: Mui Ne
Last but not least, no adventurous things to do in Vietnam list will end without mentioning the spectacular caving activities available for extreme adventurers. Our cave of choice? The legendary Hang Son Doong, the largest cave in the world.
This cave is so large that a Boeing B747 can fly through the largest passageway. Home to its own eco-system, exploring this cave is a once in a lifetime experience, reserved only for true adventurers. To date, only one company is allowed to carry out expeditions to the cave, making the entire experience so much more unique.
Where to do it: Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park in the Quảng Bình Province
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, as does our epic list of adventures in Vietnam. If you’re as sad as we are, then there is only one thing left to do, go out and do them! Head on down here and go on an adrenaline binge with the wide variety of things to do and places to see.
Looking for other guides to Vietnam? Check out these articles
- Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip to Vietnam
- Festivals and Celebrations You Need to Experience in Vietnam
- Basic Vietnamese for Travelers: Essential Phrases You Need to Know
- What to do in Vietnam: Top Things You Shouldn’t Miss!