Cat Tien National Park
Cat Tien National Park is an ideal place for couples that love adventures. About 150 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City, visitors can easily get there by bus. The park is one of Vietnam’s six biosphere reserves recognised by UNESCO. It is home to a large variety of beautiful birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Couples can enjoy the amazingly rich biodiversity of a tropical rainforest and visit a small community of ethnic minority people living in the surrounding boundaries of the park.
One of the most exciting activities here is exploring the forest by night. The fee for each person is VND170,000 ($7.60) for a seat on a truck to take visitors around to watch wild animals hunting. During the day, couples can also hire a bike.
For accommodation, Cat Tien Jungle Lodge is highly recommended in this area. Lying in the middle of the jungle, the hotel is spacious, environmentally friendly, and modernly equipped.
“We spent an amazing 4 days over the Tet holidays 2015 at the lodge and we had no regrets whatsoever. The rooms were very spacious, clean, cockroach free and came with stunning river bank views plus free wifi day and night,” shares Vincent from Singapore. “The ambience was very resort like. Our days were spent either hiking in the nearby forest reserve or cycling along the rivers and paddy fields plus enjoying a nearby water theme park.”
Sapa is also a great getaway destination for couples, especially those who are fond of mountains, water buffalos, and hikes. This town overlooks a valley of cascading rice terraces with mountains standing on all sides. What makes this view even more romantic is the rolling mist across the peaks, which you can find here all year-round.
There are lots of things for you to do in Sapa, some of the most popular activities are trekking, home stays, shopping at ethnic minority markets and enjoying street food.
For accommodation, couples can stay in a local stilt houses or enjoy deluxe private bungalows at Topas Ecolodge, about 18 kilometres outside Sapa town. Its granite bungalows are well designed with furniture made from wood, bamboo, and even stone. What sets Topas aside from other hotels is that it has neither TV nor other entertainment; instead, couples can enjoy the tranquility of nature and perhaps a traditional Red Dao herbal bath in its spa.
“We unfortunately only had one night in this beautiful place would love to have stayed longer,” shares Helen from Perth. “Amazing location, beautifully maintained grounds, superb private bungalows, immaculately clean and comfortable with amazing almost 360 degree views from the hilltop location to the valleys and villages below.”
If you and your partner want a more exciting holiday, Cai Be floating market in Tien Giang province, about 100 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City, is the place. Unlike other floating markets that only open in the morning, Cai Be market runs all-day but you really should wake up around four or five to see how the market starts. “We went very early in the morning, totally worth getting up early if you want to see how the market works. I think it is amazing to see how other people live,” shares Australian visitor Silvia.
There are about 400-500 boats of goods and the only indication of what they are selling is an example hoisted up on a bamboo stick. From fruits to nuts, you can find almost every agricultural product in this market. You and your partner can also have a local breakfast or a cup of coffee on board.
For accommodation, Mekong Rustic Lodge is widely loved in this area. Only about 10 kilometres from Cai Be market, the hotel provides a quiet and relaxing atmosphere with well-decorated bungalows. You can also ask to stay in the homestay to experience the local life.
Nam Du archipelago
Nam Du is a great place for couples looking for tropical beaches fringed by coconut trees. Being the furthest archipelago off the coast of Kien Giang province, about 83 kilometres from Rach Gia city, the archipelago’s main island Cu Tron can only be reached by boat.
Couples can enjoy spending hours sunbathing along the quiet beach, listening to the sea, or they can have a hand-in-hand walk to the market to taste the fresh seafood. However, there is no luxury hotel on this island, only rustic and simple guesthouses.
A typical tour includes a boat trip around the islands, fishing, diving to see coral and visits to popular destinations on the main island like the Nam Du lighthouse and a freshwater reservoir serving some 5,000 islanders.
“We enjoyed the tour very much because of the pristine beaches. However, what attracted\ us most is the simple life on the island where electricity is only supplied for a few hours in the evening,” American guest Robert says.
Ha Giang province is an ideal place to escape because of its year-round cool climate. Located in the northeast region of Vietnam, about 300 kilometres from Hanoi, Ha Giang has rocky highlands, primary forests, mysterious caves and hundred-year old tea gardens.
One of the most popular ways to explore Ha Giang is by motorbike. Couples can hire one for VND100,000-200,000 ($4.5-9) per day and start exploring the area. “On the back of a motorbike is simply the best way to see this place. It is such an incredible landscape but to see that the minority people can still grow crops among the rocks has to be seen to be believed,” shares Australian tourist Lizzie. “Parts of this place are a bit lunar landscape but the moon would never have the colour of the ethnic people dotted around it.”
By visiting Ha Giang, couples can take a rest at spacious Ecolodge Pan Hou Village in Hoang Su Phi district. They provide rooms in thatched houses made of bamboo, surrounded by lotus ponds and a vast of vegetable gardens. Friendly staff will help you arrange hiking tours with a local guide or show you how to explore the surrounding area by yourselves.