Vietnam sport activities
Vietnam is ideal for long-distance cycling as much of the country is flat and the shortage of vehicles makes for light traffic. Caution is needed, however, especially on busier roads as traffic can be much undisciplined. Bicycle hire is widely available.
In total, Vietnam has 3260km (2021 miles) of coastline. The most popular beaches are Vung Tau, just north of the Mekong Delta; and Nha Trang, near Da Lat, where the clear, turquoise waters offer good snorkeling and scuba diving. Snorkeling and diving equipment can be hired at most beach resorts. Other good beaches can be found at Phan Thiet (south central coast); Mui Ne (noted for its large sand dunes); and the magnificent Ha Long Bay, where some 3000 islands, covered in lush vegetation and dotted with beaches and grottoes, rise out of the Gulf of Tonkin. Access to the islands is by boats, which can be hired in Ha Long City.
There is good hiking and horse riding in the beautiful countryside around Da Lat. Guides are recommended and can be hired locally. Generally, the northwest is the best region for hiking. Other good destinations include Bach Ma National Park, Cuc Phuong National Park (near Hanoi) and Lang Biang Mountain (in Da Lat), where guides are compulsory. In the north, Ba Be Lake National Park (which contains several lakes, waterfalls and caves) and Cat Ba National Park on Cat Ba Island also offer beautiful scenery.
Caving enthusiasts may head for the spectacular Pong Nha river caves, northwest of Dong Hoi. Boat trips are particularly popular in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s southernmost region, which consists of an intricate network of rice paddies, swamps and forests interlaced with canals and rivers. River cruises also operate on the Saigon River (a good way to see Ho Chi Minh City) or the Perfume River (near Hue).
There are opportunities for visitors to see some of the Vietnam War sights. It is possible to walk part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a series of roads, trails and paths used as supply routes by the North Vietnamese during the war. It ran from North Vietnam southward through the Truong Son mountains and into western Laos. The claustrophobic network of tunnels used by villagers and guerrillas during the war at Cu Chi (35km/22 miles from Ho Chi Minh City) and Vinh Moc can also be visited.