Guide to trekking in North Vietnam: Preparation and advice

Vietnam's northern region is a hiker's dream destination, offering a plethora of breathtaking trails to explore. Whether you're a seasoned adventurer or an enthusiastic beginner, this guide will help you prepare for your trek with practical advice to ensure safety and comfort. So you can rest assured that you can embark on your journey with peace of mind, knowing that you have all the necessary information at hand.

Vietnam's northern region is a hiker's dream destination-Photo:Mr Linh's adventures

Discover North Vietnam's must-see destinations

Among the immense diversity of hikes and treks that Tonkin has to offer, we suggest these sites that will leave you enchanted by their natural beauty and cultural diversity

Sapa & region

Immerse yourself in the picturesque rice terraces, traditional villages and majestic Mount Fansipan, the roof of Indochina. Don't forget to pack warm clothes for the cool nights at altitude.

Muong Hoa Valley

Marvel at the breathtaking scenery of this valley dotted with ethnic villages nestled in rice terraces and surrounded by majestic mountains. Explore the region on foot or by bicycle.

Traditional stilt house in northern Vietnam-Photo:Mr Linh's adventures

Ba Be National Park

Let yourself be enchanted by the peaceful waters of the lake, the waterfalls and the caves of this park with its varied landscapes. Hiking, kayaking and boat excursions await you for total immersion in unspoilt nature.

Dong Van Geopark

Hike through some of Vietnam's most spectacular landscapes! The site offers a wide variety of hiking trails for all levels.

Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Immerse yourself in the heart of the reserve's tropical forests, rice terraces and ethnic villages. Hiking, cycling or bamboo rafting offer unforgettable experiences.

Cat Ba National Park

Located on Along Bay, this park will dazzle you with its spectacular scenery and numerous hiking trails. Lush forests, mysterious caves and secluded beaches await you for an extraordinary adventure. Don't forget your mosquito repellent!
More information in our Cat Ba highlights and travel guide

Some tips for safe and comfortable hiking in North Vietnam

  • Check weather conditions: Avoid periods of heavy rain or thunderstorms, which could make the trails dangerous.
  • Choose suitable hiking boots: Opt for a comfortable, sturdy pair, suited to the terrain you'll be covering.
  • Hydrate regularly: Bring enough water to stay hydrated throughout the hike. Drink plenty, even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • Protect yourself from the sun: A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are essential to face the intense mountain sun.
  • Prepare a first-aid kit: Keep basic medicines and bandages on hand in case of injury.

Hiking in Pu Luong Natural Reserve-Photo:Mr Linh's adventures

When embarking on a hike, it's important to have the essential equipment to ensure a comfortable and safe trip.

Here are a few things you should consider bringing

  • Backpack: Choose a quality, comfortable backpack with sufficient capacity to carry all your gear. A hip belt is recommended to distribute weight and relieve shoulder strain.
  • Appropriate clothing: Choose light, breathable clothing for warm days, and warm clothing for cool nights. The onion style (several layers) is ideal for adapting to changing temperatures. Don't forget waterproof clothing to protect you from the rain.
  • Hiking boots: Invest in a pair of comfortable, sturdy hiking boots, well fitted and broken in before the trip, to avoid blisters and other painful discomforts.
  • Sleeping bag: If you plan to spend the night outdoors or in shelters, a light, warm sleeping bag is essential. Choose one suited to the temperatures you're likely to encounter.
  • First-aid kit: Accidents can happen, so it's important to pack a basic first-aid kit with supplies to treat minor injuries, as well as any medication you might need for pain or allergies.
  • Mosquito repellent: Protect yourself from mosquito bites, which are particularly common in some parts of Vietnam.

North-Vietnam, a paradise for trekkers-Photo:Mr Linh's adventures

When planning your hike, it's important to make sure you have everything you need to stay safe and comfortable during your trip.

Don't forget to pack

  • ♦  Food: Choose energy bars and gels to fill up on energy during your hike.
  • ♦  Hygiene: Opt for travel-size packs of your usual products to stay fresh throughout your adventure.
  • ♦  Protection: Put your clothes and gear in plastic bags to protect them from moisture.
  • ♦  Souvenirs: Don't forget your camera to capture the highlights of your trek and bring back unforgettable memories.

The roads of liberty-Photo:Mr Linh's adventures

When preparing your trek in North Vietnam, it's important to make sure you have all the necessary travel documents. This will ensure a smooth, stress-free journey.

Essential documents you need to have with you

  • Passport: Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your expected return date from Vietnam.
  • Visa: Required to enter and stay in Vietnam. Depending on the length of your stay (and your nationality), take advantage of visa exemption or apply online for an e-visa. More info here.
  • Trekking permits: Some regulated trekking areas require a specific permit. Check with the local authorities or your travel agent to see if this is required for the places you plan to explore.
  • Travel insurance: Take out travel insurance to cover emergency medical expenses, medical evacuation, lost luggage and other unforeseen incidents. Keep a copy of your policy handy.
  • Vaccination booklet: If no vaccinations are required to enter Vietnam, make sure you are up to date with your universal vaccinations.
  • Itinerary and contact details: Prepare a detailed itinerary of your trek, mentioning places visited, dates and contact details of planned hotels or base camps.
Don't forget to double-check all documents and keep them in a safe place during your trip.
By following these simple steps, you can embark on an unforgettable trekking experience in northern Vietnam with complete peace of mind and confidence.

Out of inspiration? Get trekking ideas from our programs
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