The 5 Best Hiking Trails in North Vietnam (Part 1)

Northern Vietnam is known for being rugged, scenic, and full of off-the-beaten-path charm to all adventure seekers out there, including those who enjoy walking a country’s trails. Here are our picks for the top ten hiking trails in Northern Vietnam.

1. Mai Chau Valley

Mai Chau Valley is about 150 kilometers southwest of Hanoi. Despite the rice paddy fields and tilled soil with crops that cover the majority of the region, it remains commonplace for cycling and trekking. If you’re searching for a more difficult challenge, Mai Chau has many secret areas of jungles and mountains.

Since Mai Chau is located in a valley surrounded by mountains, hiking trails offer beautiful natural scenery. Since the trails are unidentified and unmarked, it is best to book an arranged group trip. The trail will take adventurers across the sprawling bamboo forest of Mai Chau.

2. Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Pu Luong Reserve, located in the remote regions of Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, is one of the most spectacular places to relax. This rustic destination is 160 kilometers southwest of Hanoi, the capital city. It is also a popular destination for both seasoned travelers and first-time international tourists.

Local trails snake through virgin forests, ethnic hilltribes of Thai people, and their planted rice terraces, making them ideal for trekking and day-long hiking. This nature reserve is popular with tourists, with some even hiring guides for multi-day hikes. Overnight bookings at local homestays have also increased.

3. Cao Bang Geopark

Cao Bang Geopark

Cao Bang Geopark is a decent choice for tourists looking for an alternative to the touristy Sapa. It is a frontier province in northern Vietnam, close to the Chinese border. Adventurers may find this rugged environment ideal for recreational activities such as trekking and hiking.

Most hikers can prefer the districts of Quang Uyen or Trung Khanh. The secluded hamlets and waterfalls contribute to the mystique of the region’s people and nature. The Ban Gioc falls stick out as one of the must-see attractions.

The trip will take you along hiking trails that run for miles, allowing you to see ethnic tribes dressed in traditional costumes. If you enjoy local goods, check with your lodging to find out when the Tay and Nung people hold their weekly market fair.

4. Fansipan Peak

Fansipan, Vietnam’s tallest landmark, has a top elevation of 3143 meters. Brave explorers can reach the top without the use of any special equipment. Physically fit visitors will reach the summit in 6-8 hours, depending on how often they stop.

Those who want to see the views of the mountain without the strenuous climb will take the latest, divisive cable car. Hiring a guide isn’t required, but it can save time when navigating the steep and rocky trails. Behind Sapa’s misty facade, the mountain welcomes anyone who dare to climb to its summit with an unrivaled view.

5. Muong Hoa Valley

The emerald-green valley of Muong Hoa, situated 10 kilometers from Sapa city, is one of Vietnam’s most stunning vistas. Hiking through the Lao Chai and Ta Van areas will allow you to see how the locals cultivate rice.

Despite the misty yet calm atmosphere, the hike along and across terraced fields is ideal for a romantic getaway. If that isn’t enough to persuade you, maybe the landscape’s imagination and elegance would.