Posted By : Threeland Travel / Vietnam Travel Guide
Characterized by S shape with the over 3000-km coastline, Vietnam has every reason to pride itself on the incredibly diverse offers that can satiate the thirst of any traveler. Whether you fancy venturing through the charming ancient capital, cruising the majestic waterways, or emerging in the bustling life of metropolitan cities, you can always tailor your own Vietnam tours filled with culture, history and breath-taking landscapes.
Besides the worldwide known Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or Ha Long Bay, Vietnam has more than that to offer adventure buffs who are intrigued by stepping off the beaten track and into the land of the lesser-known. Let’s kick off your plan for the upcoming Vietnam Tour Package with these overlooked yet epic destinations.
Northwestern Mountainous Areas (Son La – Dien Bien Phu)
When coming to northwestern areas, it is no surprise that Sapa stands at the top of the list due to the reputation it has gained globally. With the extraordinary surge in tourism in Vietnam and the great attention to Sapa, the town has experienced such rapid development with new concrete infrastructures such as resorts, hotels, restaurants, cable cabs,...to meet the demand of mass tourism.
Thus there is no doubt that, from a small and remote town, Sapa has annually welcomed approximately 2 million visitors in the past few years. If you are an active and adventure traveler who wants to discover the northern mountainous places of Vietnam but preferably avoid the crowds and concrete, Son La and Dien Bien Phu would be some ideal alternatives.
Majestic landscape in Dien Bien
Though being well-known for its excitingly rugged, breath-taking landscape filled by the steep loops and hundreds of stepped rice terraces, many people fail to notice Son La due to the overwhelming reputation of its “neighbor” – Sapa. However, anyone who fancies a truly authentic experience of Vietnam’s mountainous countryside are suggested to jot down Son La in their Vietnam tour checklist.
Substantially inhabited by the minority groups, you will see people living in traditional lifestyles in every corner – working in the terrace field while carrying their babies on the back, taking care of their livestock under the stilt houses, or primary students walking miles over rivers and hills to reach their classrooms... You will find the peace in mind while standing among the mesmerizing nature away from the hustle and bustle of urbanized centers.
Son La and Dien Bien Phu are best to be visited from late September to October, and from March to May which is dry season, thus you can avoid the rainfall and misty weather, or even worse, landslides which are not ideal for your travel. However, the dry season is still cool and enjoyable to create a perfect northwestern mountain trip.
The victory statue in Dien Bien Phu
Most travelers spend a single night in Son La before departing to Dien Bien Phu – the fierce battle between the Vietnamese against French colonialists during the 1946s. Besides a similar rocky and stunning landscape with Son La, Dien Bien Phu stands out by its intriguingly deep root in history. Here you can step back the past by visiting the airbase, hamlets, and the bunkers which have crucial roles in the battlefield. Then move to interact with Thai people to discover the major residents and how they build new lives here.
Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Pu Luong is truly a heaven on earth, a peaceful and little-known place for your perfect retreat. About 180km to the southwest of Hanoi (5-hour drive), you will escape to the cascading rice fields, charming hidden villages, endlessly green vegetation, good-natured people, and adorably naive local puppies.
No matter where you stand, there is always a panoramic majestic view that takes your stress away. You will easily catch sight of water wheels nearby clear streams. It will be fascinating detection when you get close to one of them and discover how water is transferred from the river to the bamboo aqueducts handmade by the meticulous locals.
For active travelers, Pu Luong will not disappoint you as there are plenty of challenging trekking routes for you to conquer. Never forget to bring your camera to capture the most instagrammable photos whilst relishing the ever-changing scenery throughout the paths.
The breathe-taking terraces in Pu Luong
Threeland recommends Pu Luong Retreat for your perfect stay with the panoramic view and the tranquil setting. The local guide at Pu Luong Retreat will lead you to discover the trails through Don or Hieu Village up to the hilly walkways. Then reward yourself after a hard trek with a mouth-watering meal at Pu Luong Retreat. The chef here is voted the best to make your meal second to none.
Ly Son Island
Located off the coast of Quang Ngai Province, Ly Son Island has recently become a favorite retreat spot for Vietnamese tourists, but it may sound unfamiliar to foreign travelers when it comes to planning your tours to Vietnam.
Ly Son Island is simply like heaven on earth with crystal clear ocean, wild reef, green garlic fields, fresh cheap seafood, amazing photoshoots, and relaxed ambiance.
In order to reach the island, you will have to catch the express ferry from Sa Ky Port in Quang Ngai city. There are different ways to reach Quang Ngai city, either by landing Chu Lai Airport, or taking a train, shuttle bus or private car to the city center, depending on where you locate.
Arriving on this island, visitors will be captivated by the stunning landscape of the island formed from a chain of volcanos once millions of years ago. Must check-in places including To Vo Gate – one of the best photograph spots especially during dawn or dusk, Mount Thoi Loi – the island’s highest mountain where you can watch the lively daily activities around the island, Cau Cave – the dreamlike blue coast where locals go fishing every day giving you the opportunities to catch the poetic pictures, or Mu Cu islet – the smallest and uninhabited island which is believed to be the best place to enjoy the sunset in Ly Son. If you are not interested in the luxury yet crowded and spoiled Cu Lao or Phu Quoc Island, the pristine island of Ly Son should definitely be included in your bucket list.
Get a fascinating swim in cool blue sea in Ly Son island
Central Highlands (Pleiku – Kontum – Buon Ma Thuot – Daklak)
Now let’s move down south the country to explore and step into the land of the deep spirituality of central highlands. Pleiku, Kontum, Buon Ma Thuot, and Daklak are all under positioned destinations in southern Vietnam when all travelers’ attention devotes to the famed Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, or Mekong Delta.
What if we get off the path and venture through this mysterious land, also known as the homeland to Vietnamese coffee! Crossing through coffee plantations, encountering unique hill-tribe groups and their captivating ritual ceremonies, staying at traditional stilt houses, your adventure to the central highlands will be like no other.
Ensure that you make the most of your time learning about the fascinating local customs of such a matriarchal society in central highlands, joining locals in their everyday working life, and trying Vietnamese coffee right at the coffee plantation!!!
The World Coffee Museum in Buon Me Thuot - Unskipped spot for coffee lovers
Another unmissable place is Yok Don National Park for nature enthusiasts who want to look for three elephants who now roam freely and are well preserved in nature. Yok Don National Park prides itself to be the very first place in Vietnam offering sustainable elephant experience. Be a responsible traveler by staying away from those lovely giant creatures and just watching them and taking some photographs from distance. Your holiday to Vietnam would not be filled with astonishment if you miss this wonderful central highlands trail.
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