Central Vietnam is one of the main regions of Vietnam. It's comprised of three subregions that connects the main northern and southern provinces. The three subregions are the North Central Coast, South Central Coast, and the Central Highlands, which each possesses unique characteristics. But together, they represent all of the landscape features of Vietnam, from mountainous areas with lush forests and flowing rivers with majestic waterfalls to stretches of beautiful coastlines.
The ethnic cultures in Central Vietnam are just as diverse as their landscapes, with the majority of ethnic minorities in the country concentrated in this region. Read on to discover some of the best destinations for your trips in Central Vietnam.
One of the gates of the Imperial City of Hue
The Tomb of Khai Dinh in Hue from the outside
When visiting the central region of Vietnam for the first time, we recommend that you begin your journey with the historic city of Hue. Hue was the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 - 1945). With many historical sites in the form of citadels, tombs, and temples, Hue's fascinating history and architecture of these locations are the main attractions of the city.
Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the story, religion, and culture of the last ruling family of Vietnam. The city also makes for a good transportation hub to branch out to other destinations in Central Vietnam.
Do not miss your chance to visit attractions like the Complex of Hue Monuments, which has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some other attractions like the Tomb of Khai Dinh, Tomb of Minh Mang, and Thien Mu Pagoda are all worth a visit.
Aerial view of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park in Dong Hoi
Camping excursion at Son Doong Cave in Dong Hoi
Located in the North Central Coast region of Central Vietnam, Dong Hoi is a coastal city in Quang Binh province with plenty of gorgeous beaches. It's mostly known for its proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. The park is one of Vietnam’s greatest natural treasures with more than 300 caves and grotto systems. The largest cave in the world, Son Doong Cave, can be found here and makes for a fascinating adventure along with many other notable caves like Phong Nha Cave, Tien Son Cave, and Thien Duong Cave. From Hue, you can make a direct trip to Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, but we do recommend making the trip to Dong Hoi itself if you wish to explore everything else in the area.
From Dong Hoi, you can make a day trip to Da Nhay beach or Bao Ninh beach. The Bang Mineral Hot Spring is another popular attraction that draws visitors to Dong Hoi. If you are searching for a hidden gem location for your trips in Central Vietnam, Dong Hoi certainly fits that category.
Check out transportation options from Hue to Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park:
A stretch of beach on the coast of Da Nang
The Dragon Bridge is one of the many bridges that light up during the night time in Da Nang
The port city of Da Nang is just about halfway between the north and south of Vietnam in both geographical and cultural sense. The city combines the dynamic attitude of Ho Chi Minh City in the south and the traditional sense of Hanoi in the north. Also known as the city of bridges, Da Nang contains numerous spectacular bridges of different designs that allow it to stand out from other cities in Vietnam.
Being a coastal city, visiting the beach and partaking in water activities such as parasailing and water sports are common things to do. If you can, riding through the Hai Van Pass just north of Da Nang is an exciting experience that allows you to get a view of the magnificent coast from the mountainside road. Some locations to visit in Da Nang include the stunning My Khe Beach, the awe-inspiring Marble Mountains, and the Ba Na Hills.
Hoi An steadily holds a soft glow soon after the sun has set
Fujian Assembly Hall entrance in Hoi An
The ancient town of Hoi An is another UNESCO World Heritage Site on our list of the best trips in Central Vietnam. You can make a direct trip to Hoi An from Da Nang in roughly 45 minutes. Hoi An used to be a key area for commerce during the 15th - 17th century, attracting many international merchants, especially Chinese and Japanese traders whose influence can be found throughout the town.
Nowadays, Hoi An is known for its old traditional wooden buildings, which have been kept unchanged for decades, preserving the unique charm that the town is famous for. Casually strolling around and exploring Hoi An is a simplistic yet immersive experience in itself. This is especially true after the sun has set as the dimmed light of countless lamps and lanterns envelop the whole town in a soft glow.
Some attractions to visit while exploring the town include the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Fujian Assembly Hall, and the Hoi An Night Market. Be sure to make a stop at any of the old houses opened to the public like the Tan Ky Old House and the Phung Hung Old House.
The Dray Nur waterfall in Buon Ma Thuot
Situated right in the heart of the Central Highlands, Buon Ma Thuot is known as the coffee capital of Vietnam. Compared to the rest of Vietnam, the atmosphere in the Central Highlands is noticeably different. From the red soil to the pure fresh air, there is a constant sense of appreciation for nature.
The most popular thing to do is to participate in outdoor activities and discover natural wonders such as waterfalls. Because this is the coffee capital of the country, be sure to make a trip to the World Coffee Museum, whose architecture is inspired by the local ethnic minorities. Other attractions to visit include the Yok Don National Park, where you can enjoy a traditional hiking experience or an adventurous option of terrain biking. The Dray Nur and Dray Sap waterfalls are also must-see attractions when in Buon Ma Thuot.
A small beach area on Hon Mun Island off the coast of Nha Trang
Perhaps the most well-known city of the South Central Coast region, Nha Trang is widely known for its brilliantly blue beaches. This coastal city is fairly popular as a vacation destination and is thus adequately equipped to accommodate all sorts of vacationers. The beaches are the main attractions here as well as many water activities, with scuba diving and snorkeling being extremely popular. However, there are plenty of places to explore besides the beach, including temples and islands just off the coast.
Some attractions to consider are Doc Let Beach for its pristine white sand and Long Son Pagoda with its enormous white Buddha statue. The Po Nagar Tower of the Cham ethnic minority is also a worthwhile destination for its cultural significance. There are many islands off the coast of Nha Trang that visitors can choose to visit. These include Hon Mun Island, Hon Lao Island (also known as the Monkey Island), and Hon Tre Island, where the Vinpearl Resort Nha Trang is located.
Search for accommodations in Nha Trang:
The city of Da Lat viewed from atop Lang Biang Mountain
Tuyen Lam Lake is the biggest lake in Da Lat
For your trips in Central Vietnam, the mountainous city of Da Lat is a wonderland that has a temperate climate all year round. The city is famous for its landscape of rolling hills and pine forests that form a picturesque view. Da Lat is also known as the most romantic city in Vietnam, with many French colonial buildings along with flowers and waterfalls.
Activities to enjoy in this area are almost always accompanied by an outdoor excursion through the natural terrains. From hiking up towards a temple in the mountains to trekking through the hills to discover a lake or a waterfall, you will most certainly be rewarded with a breathtaking view for your effort.
Some attractions in Da Lat to consider are Lang Biang Mountain, Valley of Love, Da Lat Flower Gardens, Linh Phuoc Pagoda, Lake of Sighs, Tuyen Lam Lake, and Dantala Waterfalls.
To wrap up, we hope that this list has helped you to plan for your trips to Central Vietnam. Regardless of your choice of destinations in the Central region of Vietnam, you can be certain that an adventure is guaranteed along with an immense enjoyment for the atmosphere.
Check out our blog on The Best Trips to Take in North Vietnam.
© Written by Long Tran for itourvn.com