Lesser Known Places in Vietnam to Inspire Your Wanderlust
Updated: Mar 18
Vietnam, a fine gem in Southeast Asia, has been emerging as one of the hottest destinations in the area for both leisure seekers and adventurous travelers. Stretching nearly 3500 coastline kilometers North to South, Vietnam is peppered with so many high-profiled destinations that make global headlines.
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Sapa, Hoi An, and Phu Quoc are some of the top calls you crave to visit at least once in your life. But for first-time visitors who plan on an off-beaten-path vacation, picking a perfect getaway can be a little tricky! Rest your worries, we’ve got you covered with these five coolest lesser-known things to do in Vietnam to unleash your inner self!
Contemplate the Cascading Ban Gioc Waterfall
Regarded as the most significant natural falls in Vietnam, Ban Gioc has been taking the country by storm for the past few years. The mammoth cascade reaches a staggering height of 30 meters and spans 300 meters wide. Dominating the natural border between Vietnam and mainland China, Ban Gioc is tucked away in the core of Ba Be National Park of Cao Bang Province.
Photo by MeadowZ via Unsplash
Local passionate hikers and explorers have treated Ban Gioc as the apples in the eyes despite a whopping 8-hour road trip from Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi. Fed by the Quay Son River, Ban Gioc Waterfall spits into multiple terraces caressing the awe-inspiring karst peaks and verdant alleys. The entire scene turns into a mighty landscape that you cannot find elsewhere.
As a natural wonder, Ban Gioc is a year-round destination but if you wish to capture the most inspiring beauty, make sure to come over from September to November when the spray is not overly fierce. Swimming is not a thing here at Ban Gioc but we highly recommend you to opt for a pontoon boat ride and sail your way close to the falls to capture an up-close shot!
Conquer Ha Giang Loop on Your Two Wheels
Looking for an adrenaline-fueled activity in Northern Vietnam but not sure where to start? Pack your bag and buckle up to conquer the most epic road trip in Vietnam across the Ha Giang Loop.
Veining through the gigantic cloud-capped mountains dotted with jagged black rocks perched out of the sheer cliffs, Ha Giang Loop is no joke to amateur riders! Stretching 320 kilometers in total, Ha Giang Loop is a narrow snaking road filled with sudden loops and turns to blow your mind before showering you with mesmerizing views over the Northern hazy green landscape.
Photo by WantTo Create via Unsplash
That being said, the best way to conquer Ha Giang Loop is to get on your own wheels to immerse into a multiple-day trip across different provinces. Autumn and spring make the perfect time to drive the loop and you need up to five days to complete the entire route.
Kick-off your ride from Ha Giang on the first day, drop by Yen Minh and Meo Vac on the second day and head back to Ha Giang on the third day. If you’re faint-hearted but still want to give it a go, we highly recommend signing up for a motorcycle tour with Easy Rider and let the expert take care of all the hassles for you!
Travel Back in Time at Dong Van Karst Plateau
Enriched with so much history and culture, Dong Van Karst Plateau is a gigantic area covering more than 2300 square kilometers. Its large footprint is home to multiple limestone mountains assembling around the Tropic of Cancer with steep slopes to conquer.
Photo by @dreamtripofalifetime via Instagram
Blessed with an impressive chain of piercing mountain tops running across four different districts of Ha Giang, Dong Van contains an extensive collection of fossils of species dating back to 600 million years. Once you drop over the area, Dong Van will transport your back to the Devonian and Permian periods. So take it as a chance to observe Northern Vietnam during its earliest years!
Reconnect with Nature at Cat Tien National Park
Make your way to the Southern part of Vietnam and pop into Cat Tien National Park to reconnect with nature! Encompassing 720 square kilometers covering three different provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong, and Binh Phuoc, Cat Tien National Park’s got its identity as a quiet, tranquil lowland tropical forest.
Photo by @ken_tv via Instagram
UNESCO has put Cat Tien down in its World Biosphere Reserve list and ever since, this hidden paradise has become a haven for trekkers and campers. Cat Tien National Park is the cream of the crop for those planning on a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. Its close proximity of 155 kilometers from this biggest Southern metropolis provides a hassle-free weekend getaway.
Shaded by century-old trees and botanical gardens sheltering a wide array of flora and fauna species, Cat Tien will quench the thirst for wild explorers and nature photographers who seek out an off-the-beaten-track destination in the South.
Call it a fresh air retreat, embark on a forest hike snaking through this ancient forest floor and you will have a chance to spot endangered animals, rare birds, and even a crocodile habitat. Cycling and boating are some other outdoor possibilities to peak your bucket list!
Explore Vietnam’s Coffee Kingdom of Buon Me Thuot
Forget Dalat! It’s Buon Me Thuot to be your next favorite destination in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. We’ve seen so many people talking about how gorgeous, meditating and vibrant Dalat can be at the same time. This puts Buon Me Thuot under the shadow of Dalat and many people tend to overlook this serene city without even giving it a try!
Dubbed as the kingdom of Vietnamese coffee, Buon Me Thuot is the capital city of Dak Lak which has outgrown its rustic origin to be a modern and sprawling city in the way that a Vietnamese mountainous city should be. Its low profile becomes a magnetic field to keep you hooked instantly with a range of nature-related activities and festive possibilities.
Photo by @tunghyper via Instagram Wanna know more about Vietnam???
Buon Me Thuot is the portal to your cultural discovery of ethnic minorities, striking cascades, greenish coffee plantations, and the largest nature reserve in Vietnam, Yok Don. If you wish to game up your coffee fix every morning with an authentic, thick, and dark Vietnamese coffee, head to Buon Me Thuot today and you will be on your merry way!
We hope you enjoy these lesser-known sites Vietnam as much as we do! No matter where you head to next, make sure to double-check with the weather and road condition to avoid all the hassles.