When you head off on vacation, are you team beach or team mountains? This question has divided travelers for years and will likely continue to divide besties and couples alike for many more to come! Luckily there is a country that has both to offer.
One of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia, Vietnam is also one of the most beautiful. It's no secret that I am head over heels in love with this incredible country and there is certainly no shortage of things you can add to your Vietnam itinerary. From the highest peaks to the tranquil national parks and everything in between, Vietnam has something for everyone. In this adventure-packed blog post, I'll take you on a whirlwind tour through the mountains of this Southeast Asian gem, covering famous mountains, the best time to visit, and must-see attractions. So, fasten your seatbelts as we start our ascent into the breathtaking world of Vietnam Mountains. Beach lovers, you might have to wait for your own post, sorry...
Are There Any Mountains in Vietnam?
If you're geographically challenged (I am very much so, so no shade) and have never been to Vietnam before, you might be surprised to learn that Vietnam boasts a wealth of stunning mountain ranges, each offering its own unique blend of natural beauty, culture, and history. The mountains of Vietnam are a true treasure trove, waiting to be explored by avid hikers and adventurous travelers. These mountains not only define the geography of the country but also play a crucial role in shaping its cultural and environmental diversity.
Vietnam's mountains range from the towering peaks of the northern regions to the limestone formations in central and southern Vietnam. Whether you're an intrepid mountain climber or simply a nature enthusiast, the mountains of Vietnam are sure to knock you off your feet.
Which Part of Vietnam Has Mountains?
Mountains can be found in multiple regions in Vietnam, making it a country with a rich diversity of landscapes. Here's a breakdown of where you can find mountains in Vietnam:
The northern region of Vietnam is renowned for its towering mountain ranges. The provinces of Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Ha Giang, and Son La, among others, are home to some of the country's highest peaks.
The Hoang Lien Son mountain range, includes Fansipan Mountain, the highest mountain in Vietnam, and actually the highest on the Indochinese peninsula. This fact has earned Fansipan peak the nickname "the roof of Indochina."
Ha Long Bay is technically comprised of karsts and not mountains, but they are such a can't-miss sight that I'm including them in this round up. The massive landforms make for incredible scenery especially as you float lazily along the bay on a boat.
Similarly, the karst backdrop in Ninh Binh is also something that needs to be seen in person firsthand. Riding a bike through the sleepy town with these bad boys in the distance really gives you major main character energy.
Central Vietnam is home to some of my favorite cities and it also houses a couple of gorgeous mountains with breathtaking panoramic views. Lang Biang Mountain, near Da Lat, is another prominent peak in central Vietnam. It offers a pleasant climate and easy access for nature lovers. This one excellent spot for those seeking to explore the central highlands of Vietnam.
Ngu Hanh Son or the Marble Mountains are the most famous in the region. The five limestone peaks are just outside of Da Nang and feature intricate cave formations. The views are insane and the cave formations make it such a cool, unique mountain range to visit. Definitely worth spending some time over here.
Southern Vietnam is not famous for its towering mountain peaks, though it does have its own share of natural beauty (primarily in the form of beaches).
That being said, you can still see the Annamite Mountain Range which runs parallel to the Vietnamese coast, although its crests are primarily in Laos.
Are There Mountains Near Ho Chi Minh City?
Ho Chi Minh is a common destination in Vietnam, however, being situated in the south, there aren't really any mountain ranges in a reasonable distance. So if you're aiming to be in or near the mountains on your Vietnam trip, you might want to opt for a different city instead.
Vietnam's mountains offer a diverse range of experiences for all types of travelers. From the highest peaks in the north to the more low key mountains of the central and southern regions, there's something for everyone. Remember that the best time to visit varies depending on your destination, so always check the weather and conditions before you go. Packpoint is my favorite travel app for this purpose!
What Are Some Major Mountains in Vietnam?
If you're not tied to a particular region, here's a roundup of some of the most famous mountains in Vietnam.
Fansipan Mountain: The Roof of Indochina
Like I mentioned earlier, Fansipan peak is the highest peak in southeast Asia. It is located in the Lao Cai province in the northern part of the country and affectionately referred to as the "Roof of Indochina." Rising to an elevation of 3,147 meters above sea level, conquering this iconic mountain is a dream for many mountain climbers.
The best way to explore the natural wonder that is Fansipan mountains is by taking a day trip from the charming Sapa town. I highly recommend getting up early in the morning to witness the sunrise from the peak of Fansipan, a sight that will leave you awestruck...or so I've heard...I've never actually been able to wake up early enough for a sunrise much less make it to the top of the mountain in time for one.
Ba Na Hills: Exploring the Magic of Marble Mountains
Ok, ok Ba Na Hills is technically an amusement park, BUT from here you can get an incredible panoramic view of Marble Mountains (an actual mountain range). To get the best view of the breathtaking landscape, make sure you take the cable car ride at Ba Na Hills. It's an absolute must-visit for any traveler in central Vietnam.
Pu Ta Leng: Hidden Gem in Northern Vietnam
Located in the same region as Fansipan Mountain, Pu Ta Leng is a hidden gem that promises a unique mountain climbing experience. The best time to explore this remote beauty is during the dry season to ensure the safety of your trek. Hire a local guide to get the most of your excursion. They might even take you out into the town to the local markets or have a homestay which you can book for cheap lodging.
Langbiang Mountain: A Gem in Central Vietnam
For those looking to explore the central part of the country, Lang Biang Mountain in the Da Lat region is a great choice. Rising at an altitude of 2,167 meters, it offers a pleasant climate year-round, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers who aren't fans of temperatures in the extremes (I'm talking about myself).
A hike to the peak of Lang Biang is worth every step, providing you with a breathtaking view of the city center and surrounding areas. You can choose between an early morning or late afternoon trek, depending on your preferences (I think we already know where I stand on this).
Ba Vi National Park: The Largest Caves and More
Yes, I know this says national park and not mountains, but for good reason! The Ba Vi Mountain range is actually located in the national park of the same name just west of Hanoi. The national park is known for having the largest caves as well as its proximity to the Vietnam-China border. Hiking through here, you'll find yourself immersed in the unique, almost mystical beauty of Vietnam's mountainous areas.
The rainy season is perhaps the best time to visit if you want to witness the tropical forests at their most vibrant. However, always check the conditions and weather before planning your trip, especially if you're interested in exploring caves.
So, what are you waiting for, fellow mountain lovers? Pack your bags, choose your adventure, and get ready to embark on a journey through the breathtaking mountains of Vietnam. Each peak, each valley, and each cave has its own story to tell, waiting for you to discover.
With the natural beauty, unique experiences, and rich history of Vietnam's mountainous regions, your trip is sure to be an unforgettable one. Happy hiking and exploring and say hi to my favorite country for me!