The Liberation Day/Labour Day holiday is just around the corner, and while all of your friends are packing up their bags with flight tickets in hand, you're stuck wondering how many sitcom re-runs you'll manage to get through before you suffer a cabin fever psychotic break. With the help of our writers — who have explored both inside the cities as well as on the destinations on the outskirts — we have you covered. Thankfully, some of Vietnam's best destinations are a bus, motorbike, or taxi ride away from the city centres, with no plane ticket — and just a little prior planning — required.





Cuc Phuong

Distance: 120 km


"Further into Cuc Phuong at the Park Centre in Bong you’ll find trekking paths — the shortest routes are about 7km — 1,000-year-old trees, climb to peaks with views to-die-for, the Palace Cave and tracks leading to two Muong villages." 





Tam Coc

Distance: 120 km


"It sounds clichéd, but the climb marked a great end to my day trip out of Hanoi. The sun setting behind the karst landscape to one side cast a shadow over the pan-flat rice fields. On the other were the distant lights of Ninh Binh City."





Chua But Thap

Distance: 30 km


"During peak season there are so many stalls that it's a struggle to see the view most of the time — but it's all worth it when you get to the Huong Tich Pagoda at the top."





Ho Chi Minh City



Ben Tre

Distance: 100 km


"We made a quick stop at a tiny island which turned out to be the abandoned home of the coconut monk, Nguyen Thanh Nam, one Vietnam’s best known cult leaders and one of those guys whose biography just makes the world a more interesting place to live."





Hidden Artists' Village

Distance: A stone's throw


"Surrounded by a number of amateur or otherwise nondescript paintings, my gaze suddenly lands on a large lacquer of a fierce figure in a distinctively rough style. It’s indeed a Le Kinh Tai, and the price tag of VND210 million reflects the artist’s reputation."




Vung Tau

Distance: 120 km


"From the artwork-laden altar room and brightly-coloured courtyard through to the attic space above with views across the complex, this beautifully-preserved shrine to the past is a must for anyone visiting Vung Tau. Even the market next door, with its Long Son-made seafood products and restored, dark wooden shop-fronts is worth a wander."


The Word

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