Giang Le

Autumn marks the end of hot summer days and the arrival of a cool, refreshing atmosphere perfect for outdoor activities

Watch the animals migrating

 If you are an animal lover, seasonal migration is something that shouldn’t be missed. One of the world’s greatest migrations occurs in Kenya and Tanzania. Despite the danger stemming from predators such as alligators, lions and leopards, over a million wildebeests and 500,000 zebras are still determined to cross the Mara River on a mission that challenges their survival skills. July-August (migration to the North) and the last two weeks of October and early November (migration to the South) are the two peak seasons of this great migration. While this natural spectacle can be seen in breathtaking videos, firsthand experience is beyond compare. Watching the migration with your own eyes evokes the real and vivid emotions provoked by this journey of survival. Bird migrations are quieter than those on land but can cover vast distances. In one seasonal journey, birds of Northern regions such as Scandinavia, Siberia or Iceland flock south to the coasts of England. Numerous websites forecast the best time of autumn to enjoy birdwatching, which varies by species and exact times each year. It is not exactly clear how birds know when to start their journeys, but scientists have found that their migratory instincts are affected by changes in weather patterns.

Apple picking 

Autumn is the time for harvesting apples and apple picking is a popular recreational activity in countries such as the United States and Canada, where outings with family and friends to a farm are a popular tradition. Many farms on the East Coast of North America take advantage of this time of the year to open up to the public. There are plenty of activities at an apple orchard including listening to live music, going for a wagon ride, drinking apple cider and trying apple jam, candy and cakes. Applecrest in Hampton Falls – the oldest and largest apple orchard in New Hampshire and the oldest continuously operated apple orchard in the United States (since 1913) – is one popular apple-picking destination. Japan is also famous for fruit harvesting farm tours, which visitors can join to collect apples or grapes in autumn. Most Japanese apples are grown in Aomori, Nagano and feature a distinctive bright red color and sweet and crunchy taste.

Trekking in the mountains 

In Vietnam, October is also the blooming season of splendid wild sunflowers in Da Lat, mustard flowers and plum blossoms in Moc Chau and pink and purple buckwheat flowers in Ha Giang, as well as a ripening time for Sapa’s rice fields. These colorful floral displays provide stunning backdrops for trekking in the high mountains. As glorious wild sunflowers bloom along the roadside, Lien Khuong Road, d’ran Pass or the road to Golden Valley, Langbiang Mountain are ideal destinations to admire the beauty of flowers. To explore Da Lat, it’s best to walk on gentle slopes. Thanks to its cool climate all year round, trekking in Da Lat is not difficult, and when autumn arrives, the sky becomes clearer and pine trees are shrouded in fog, making visits here even more memorable. Trekking tours are abundant and visitors should join a group or hire a native guide. In the Northern mountainous region, Moc Chau remains unspoiled. Trekkers should set out on their journey starting in October when flowers are in full bloom. In Moc Chau, you can go on a trekking tour to tea plantations, or if you are looking for a more challenging experience, you can trek from Mu Nau Plum Valley to Phieng Canh. Mu Nau Plum forest, which is full of apricot and plum trees, is about 1,000 meters above the primary forest. The further you go, the more taxing the journey becomes, but Moc Chau’s stunning and wild scenery is well worth the effort.