What to do and Where to stay in
Central Vietnam

Vietnam’s magical narrow waist is packed with historical and cultural sights against a backdrop of dramatic landscapes. Home to impressive national parks, ancient monuments, twinkling cities and a curvaceous coastline fringed with ravishing beaches, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in this geographic heart of the nation.

Experiences in Central Vietnam

Welcome to magical, mystical Vietnam. Steeped in ancient history and once the homeland of Kings, this region is also a backdrop to long stretches of white beaches and is known as ‘the beach capital of Vietnam’. And if there’s one thing we do know, mixing kids and ancient history means a splosh at the end of the day is pretty much mandatory!

Visit Hue, the imperial city of the Nguyen kings, to marvel at the remains of an ancient citadel, pagodas and tombs of former emperors. French colonial architecture lines the picturesque Perfume River, named after the sweet-smelling flowers, that fall into the water in autumn. Don’t miss the seven-storey Thien Mu Pagoda with its giant turtle sculpture and 18th-century bronze bell. We highly recommend the street food tour via cyclo with the city’s resident foodie; you’ll discover delicious secret gems tucked away and undiscovered by the tourists.

The extraordinary Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park contains Asia’s oldest karst mountains – as well as three colossal cave systems (including the world’s largest cave) that you can explore. Above-ground activities include forest hiking and mountain biking.

Heading south along the coast, the road from Hue to Hoi An is one of the most beautiful, climbing in sharp bends to the dizzying Hai Van Pass, where jungle-clad mountains slope to the misty sea. This route, which recently featured on Top Gear, is best done on a guided motorbike trip. You’ll pass through Da Nang, rapidly emerging as one of Vietnam’s most vibrant cities, with its whopping fire-breathing dragon bridge that comes alive at night. Beat that, Lord of the Rings!

There’s a warm, twinkly welcome in Hoi An, with its quaint waterside setting and enchanting lantern-adorned streets of 15th-century merchant houses converted into restaurants, bars and tailor shops. Fortify yourself with a coffee and Vietnamese baguette in a waterfront bar before hitting the central market for a perfectly tailored suit and lose yourself amongst the captivating lanes. Cycle to white sand Cua Dai Beach for seafood or take a boat from the fishing village of Tra Nhieu to try net fishing in the traditional basket boats. Hoian is blessed with beautiful beaches just a 10-minute jaunt away. With some beautiful resorts here, it provides the perfect combination for exploring and flopping – particularly during our (English) summer holidays.

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