The Best Ways to Explore Vietnam

Vietnam is a fascinating Southeast Asian country that everyone should see at least once. It offers many historical sights to explore and stunning natural landscapes to discover. Whether you have your heart set on taking a scenic train ride from Hai Phong to Hanoi or biking through the lush rice fields of Sa Pa, here are the best ways to explore Vietnam.

#1 – Enjoy a Train Journey

stunning train ride in Vietnam
Stunning train ride in Vietnam

Vietnam has an extensive and decent rail network connecting the country’s big cities and provinces. Train travel is ideal if you have a flexible schedule and don’t mind the long journey. Aside from saving a few bucks, your train journey will treat you to picturesque landscapes as it traverses through lush countryside, tranquil coastal roads, and charming mountain villages.

If you’re not keen on spending overnight on a train, consider taking the 2-hour 45-minute train ride from Hai Phong to Hanoi. At over a hundred kilometres, the railway route takes you through scenic rice fields and bustling towns portraying local village life. The highlight of this journey is when the train passes through the iconic Long Bien Bridge as you arrive in Hanoi. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the window and admire the majestic Red River and the verdant rice field along the riverbanks.

Another incredibly stunning train ride in Vietnam is from Da Nang to Hue. The extraordinary journey spans over a hundred kilometres, taking about four hours. It takes you through the famous Hai Van Pass, one of Vietnam’s most spectacular roads with views of magnificent mountain ranges and sparkling blue ocean waters. As the train is about to arrive in Hue, be on the lookout for the stunning sight of the blue waters of Lang Co Bay.

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#2 – Rent a Motorbike

Rent a motorbike in Vietnam
Rent a motorbike in Vietnam

Vietnam is an incredibly diverse country to explore. And if you’re adventurous enough, consider exploring the country on a motorbike. The thrilling adventure will take you to long highways and dirt roads, crisscrossing the country, begging to be explored.

You won’t have a hard time renting a motorbike in Vietnam. In fact, one of the first things you’ll notice upon arriving in the country is the thousands of motorbikes zooming past its busy streets. If you can’t find one, your hotel will most likely connect you with a bike rental company if you ask.

One of the most famous motorcycle routes is the Ha Giang Loop, which flows in a loop through the Ha Giang province. The views are incredibly scenic, with roads taking you through lush mountains. You will also find several family-owned guesthouses to spend the night – an ideal way to integrate with the local culture.

For an epic motorbike adventure in Vietnam, conquer the Central North Loop, which could take 10 to 25 days! You’ll drive west towards the Dien Bien Phu military area and loop to the mountainous city of Sa Pa. From here, head towards Ha Giang and into the quieter area of Cao Bang.

#3 – Join a Bike Tour

motorbike adventure in Vietnam
Motorbike adventure in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of those countries you can best explore on a bike. The vibrant and incredibly diverse country offers all kinds of bike adventures. Some are within its bustling major cities, while others take you to the majestic countryside, home to warm and friendly locals. With beautiful views around every corner, a cycling adventure in Vietnam is exciting and rewarding.

You will have numerous options when joining a Vietnam bike tour, making it an excellent option for cycling enthusiasts. Consider a bicycle tour in Ho Chi Minh, which takes you towards mountain passes and into glistening rivers and jagged valleys. The incredibly stunning beauty of Vietnam’s landscapes will leave you in awe, and the smooth highway with little traffic is a dream for avid cyclists.

An English-speaking local will guide you on your journey. You will have several stops to admire the spectacular views and explore historical sites like the Imperial City of Hue. The Ho Chi Minh bicycle tour runs almost 2,000 kilometres along mountains, jungle trails, and wide highways. Many paths crisscross along the road, cutting through the countryside with spectacular landscapes. The unique bike tour is the best way to explore the most scenic northern to central section of Vietnam, ending in the ancient city of Hue.

#4 – Hire a Car

Vietnam Road Trip
Vietnam Road Trip

With its diverse culture and breathtaking scenery, Vietnam Road trips offer an incredible and unforgettable journey from bustling cities to serene countryside. It’s the best way to explore the country’s highlights and discover hidden gems, creating memories to treasure for a lifetime!

Indeed, hiring a car is the best way to explore Southeast Asian countries. If you want to discover the northern part of the country, consider driving from Cao Bang City to Ban Gioc Waterfall, which takes you through the country’s most rugged and unspoiled landscapes, including the breathtaking Ma Phuc Pass, renowned for its thrilling winding turns and magnificent views of rice terraces. Stop by some local villages for lunch and experience the local village life.

Driving along the epic Ha Giang Loop is another exciting and adventurous journey to consider for your Vietnam Road trip. It takes you through high mountain passes and deep valleys of northwest Vietnam. The loop route begins in Ha Giang City and into the majestic Ma Pi Leng Pass

#5 – Take a Boat Excursion

Boat excursion to Vietnam
Boat excursion to Vietnam

You can explore some of Vietnam’s most popular attractions on a boat. A boat excursion to Vietnam is the most relaxing way to discover the country, allowing you to gain valuable insight into what life was like for locals living along Vietnam’s waterways. Along with soaking up the beautiful scenery, you can explore local villages and engage in fun activities such as kayaking and sightseeing.

A trip to Vietnam is incomplete without a boat trip to the iconic Halong Bay. The best way to admire the rugged limestone islands of Halong Bay is on an overnight boat excursion, where you will sleep in a luxury cabin with views of the emerald green waters. Your boat excursion will include fun activities like swimming, kayaking, fishing, and cave exploration. Of course, your stay includes sumptuous Vietnamese meals, from delightful spring rolls to a piping hot bowl of Pho.

Aiden Higgins