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Vietnam Off The Beaten Track

Travellers In Small Boats On Ba Be Lake In Vietnam

Where to go in Vietnam besides Ha long Bay and Hanoi

Welcome to Vietnam, a country that's got it all - breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and mouthwatering food. But if you're thinking Vietnam is just about the crowded streets of Hanoi or the bustling markets of Ho Chi Minh City, think again. We're here to show you a side of Vietnam that's less ordinary and way off the beaten path.

Hike past gorgeous lakes and waterfalls in Ba Be National Park instead of the well-known paths of Sapa. Or chill in the serene coastal town of Quy Nhon, far from the crowded beaches of Nha Trang. From hidden waterfalls and untouched caves to small villages where time seems to stand still, Vietnam's got plenty of secret spots waiting for your attention!


Reasons to love Vietnam

Vietnam has it all, from the lively streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to the peaceful Mekong Delta and the stunning northern mountains. You can explore ancient temples, bustling markets, and gorgeous beaches. Check out the amazing karst formations in Ha Long Bay, the terraced rice fields in Sapa, and the huge caves in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

And of course, you have to try the food—Vietnamese cuisine is all about fresh ingredients and bold flavours. No matter if you're up for adventure, relaxation, or diving into the local culture, Vietnam's got you covered.

Check out our favourite experiences in Vietnam

Ba Be National Park

Ba Be National Park in Bac Kan Province is a real hidden gem with Ba Be Lake at its heart. And it's a great alternative to popular Sapa. Unlike Sapa, which can get pretty crowded, Ba Be National Park offers a peaceful escape with beautiful landscapes and a calm vibe. There aren't a lot of other tourists around, which is a huge bonus!

You can trek through thick forests, explore cool limestone caves, and kayak on the gorgeous lake itself. The park is home to diverse wildlife and stunning scenery, from waterfalls to lush valleys. Don't miss the boat trip on Ba Be Lake—it's a great way to check out the Puong Cave and Dau Dang Waterfall. For both nature and adventure, Ba Be National Park is definitely recommended for your trip to Vietnam. 

Check out our 3-day Ba Be National Park Trekking and Caving Experience

Group of travellers walking through rice fields on the Ba Be Lake trek in Vietnam

Bai Tu Long

Bai Tu Long Bay is a quieter and less commercialised alternative to the famous Ha Long Bay. Located just northeast of Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long boasts the same breathtaking karst landscapes and emerald green waters but with far fewer tourists.

This area is perfect for those seeking a little peace and quiet, along with a large dose of natural beauty. Or for those who simply want to make their friends jealous with some pretty pics. We won't judge you either way.

But you don't have to just sit around and do nothing. While in the bay, you can enjoy a bit of kayaking, swimming, and exploring secluded beaches and caves such as Thien Canh Son Cave. Bai Tu Long is also home to diverse marine life and coral reefs, making it a great spot for snorkelling. 

Check out our 3-day Bai Tu Long cruise

Boat in Bai Tu Long Bay during sunset

Quy Nhon

Quy Nhon, a coastal city in south-central Vietnam, is a hidden gem with pristine beaches, cool historical sites, and a super laid-back vibe. Unlike the busy tourist hub of Nha Trang, Quy Nhon is still off the radar for most travellers heading to Vietnam.

You can chill on beautiful beaches like Ky Co and Bai Xep, check out ancient Cham towers, and make a stop at the impressive Thap Doi Twin Towers, which seem to rise from the woods. The seafood here is amazing, with lots of local spots serving up fresh catches of the day. Don’t forget to try the grilled fish and shrimp! We'd say Quy Nhon is the perfect place to relax, take in some local culture, and enjoy the beach without any crowds around.

Ong Corp Bridge, the longest bridge in Vietnam, is located near Quy Nhon

Explore Vietnam by motorbike

Opting for an Easy Rider motorbike tour is a fantastic way to explore Vietnam’s Central Highlands and beyond. Unlike the more common bus or minivan tours, an Easy Rider tour provides a very different experience. You’ll ride through stunning landscapes, including mountains, waterfalls, and coffee plantations without any windows in between you and the world you're exploring.

We know it sounds like an overused buzzword, but it does really feel more immersive when you're travelling like this. There are several routes possible depending on if you start in Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh or Da Lat, and you'll take a stunning 3-6 day route along the coast or through the very pretty highlands.

The guides, often locals themselves, share their knowledge and personal stories, giving you an insider’s view of Vietnam. The freedom and adventure of travelling by motorbike allow you to really connect with the country and its friendly people.

Check out our 6-day Ha Giang Loop for a taster!

Group of KILROY travellers on Easy Rider motorcycles in Vietnam

Phong Nha

While the Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City are a well-known historical spot, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province offers a whole different kind of adventure. Instead of tunnels, here you'll find incredible cave systems.

The park is home to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, as well as other impressive caves like Paradise Cave and Phong Nha Cave. Visitors can go spelunking, kayaking, and trekking through the stunning jungle. The park is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognised for its geological significance and biodiversity. Phong Nha-Ke Bang is perfect for nature lovers and anyone looking for some serious outdoor fun.

Check out our 5-day Hanoi to Hue Phong Nha Caving Adventure

The Son Doong Caves in Phong Nha

Do a homestay in the Mekong Delta

Instead of just doing the typical floating markets tour, consider a homestay in the Mekong Delta for a more immersive experience. Staying with a local family allows you to learn about their way of life, take part in daily activities, and enjoy home-cooked meals.

You can explore the delta’s intricate network of rivers and canals by boat (you can, of course, still visit the floating markets), visit fruit orchards, and try your hand at traditional fishing techniques.

In Vietnam, most homestays give you an insight in their communities, while you bike through rural villages or visit local workshops or cooking classes. It's a personal experience, giving you a deeper understanding of the Mekong Delta’s culture and traditions.

Vietnamese man rowing on the Mekong river in Vietnam

Pu Luong Nature Reserve

For a quieter alternative to Mai Chau, head to Pu Luong Nature Reserve in Thanh Hoa Province. This hidden gem is one of our highlights because of its stunning terraced rice fields, scenic valleys, and traditional stilt houses of the Thai and Muong ethnic groups.

Trekking through Pu Luong, there are fewer other tourists in your way and that's why the experience feels more local. You can hike to Pu Luong Peak for panoramic views or visit the charming Hieu Village with its beautiful waterfalls. Pu Luong is the peaceful retreat you didn't know you needed, with lots of room for nature and local traditions. 

Check out our 3-day Pu Luong Discovery

Green mountainous rice fields in Pu Luong Nature Reserve in Vietnam

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