• Kayaking in Halong Bay: Often in conjunction with luxury cruises, kayaking in Halong Bay means going through low caves at low tide to get to the collapsed center of huge limestone and volcanic rings, where walls of jungle 4 vegetation tower hundreds of feet overhead and crawl with monkeys, snakes, and rare animals. Kayaks are the only way to get up close.
• Multisport in the Central Highlands: Opportunities abound for trekking, climbing, and mountain biking. Just contact one of the many small outfitters in Dalat (all are a copy of Phat Thiet, a Vietnam pioneer).
• Cycling the Mekong Delta: The best part about cycling in Vietnam is that, with some exceptions, the routes are quite flat. Adventure-tour outfitters out of both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City can make any arrangements for a tour of any length, even providing a support van, and going by bike gives you a close-up view of it all.
• The Central Highlands or the Far North by Motorbike: The rural roads of Vietnam beg to be explored, and going by motorbike, though dangerous, is a great way to do it. From Dalat in the Central Highlands, arrange a ride with an Easy Rider, motorcycle guides who can take you up the Ho Chi Minh Trail (now a highway) and as far as Danang and Hoi An. In the far north, the Russian Minsk motorbike is the workhorse of the hills, and you can rent your own bike or go with a guide out of Hanoi and visit some incredible terrain.
• Trekking on Fansipan or Trekking the Far North:
The very top of Vietnam, Mount Fansipan is a multiday adventure and only for the hearty, but the views afforded and the experience itself is amazing. There are lots of outfitters in the popular tourist town of Sapa, and you can arrange any number of treks to ethnic hill tribe villages, even overnights and home stays.
• Sail or Kite-Surf on the East Sea:
Opportunities for water sports and sailing are many as you travel along Vietnam’s coast. Most resorts have boats for rent, and Nha Trang is a good bet, as is the area off Mui Ne Beach near Phan Thiet, which is becoming a very popular wind- and kite-surfing spot.
• Cuc Phuong National Park:
A great little overnight from Hanoi for nature lovers, Cuc Phuong hosts a unique pri- mate-research center, has good basic accommodations, and offers lots of hiking trails. Good guides are on hand to assist or hire for the day.
• Cat Tien National Park:
Bird-watcher heaven, little Cat Tien is halfway between Saigon and Dalat, and an over- night stay includes night spotting, rustic accommodations, and a morning hike. The place is crawling with jungle animals, birds, and lots of naturalists and ornithologists chasing after them with binoculars.