For outdoorsy expats, locals and tourists, and sports lovers, Vietnam has plenty to offer. The Vietnamese love their football – they are keen followers of the EPL and have their own National Team as well as the V-League and other competitions.
The locals also love their badminton, often found playing in the parks in the evening, as well as their late-night tennis in courts across the country. There are also plenty of watersports, including kitesurfing and diving. Here is a look at the best sporting events in Vietnam held throughout the year that you could catch up on when there.
The V-league is the top professional football league in the country and is played every year among 12 clubs, and the champions go on to enter the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Cup. It’s been played since 1980 and while there have been some controversy surrounding the event in recent years regarding match fixing and drug abuse, it continues to be one of the country’s major sporting events.
Watching the V-league offers a glimpse into the fandom surrounding football in Vietnam. The 2015 V-league will be the 32nd season of the competition. It will begin in early January and go on till September.
The Vietnam Open
The Vietnam Open in badminton is an international event that Vietnam has hosted since 1996, and has recently (in 2007) been awarded a BWF Grand Prix status. The tournament has seen masters like Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah go one on one for their first international title. The Yonex Sunrise Vietnam Open 2015 will be held in Ho Chi Minh City in the final week of August, 2015.
Vietnam Vertical Run
In 2011, Ho Chi Minh City, and more recently, Hanoi, have been playing host to a vertical foot race at some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. In Ho Chi Minh City, the Bitexco Financial Tower was the “track” for the 2012 Vietnam Run, with participants running up more than a thousand steps leading up to the 49th floor observation deck where the race ended.
Hanoi’s 350 meter tall Kaengnam Landmark Tower offered participants more than nineteen hundred steps to run up in the competition held in 2012. About ten to fifteen people run in the race at a time. The race is organized as part of the Vertical World Circuit (VWC) and other vertical runs as part of the circuit have been organized on the Empire State Building in New York.
Danang International Fireworks Competition
Not technically a sporting event in the traditional sense of the term, the Danang International Fireworks competition is still a major competition hosted by Danang City and drawing competitors from three to four nations across the world. The event is usually held at the end of April every year, and the site for the competition – on Han River – offers a beautiful and majestic scenery as a backdrop for excellent art performances and stunning fireworks. Danang City is also conveniently located close to UNESCO heritage sites of the Hue Citadel and the Hoi An ancient town.
Other sporting events that may not have professional status but are very popular in Vietnam include Australian Rules football events spearheaded by the Vietnam Swans team, Rugby Unions like the Indochinese Cup where teams from Cambodia and Laos also participate, and some cricket events organized by the Vietnam Cricket Association (VCA). Martial arts like Nhat Nam and Vovinam also see some action, though not in a professional sense.