Top Destinations in The Centre of Vietnam
Central Vietnam is well-known for its well-preserved heritage sites, friendly locals, and tranquil natural beauty. The promise of nourishing experiences and daylight times on the beach will entice you to visit the central coast.
The sleepy village of Phong Nha was barely mentioned in guidebooks not long ago, but the unexpected discovery of one of the world’s largest caves has propelled it into the adventure travel spotlight. The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a sturdy swath of limestone mountains teeming with massive caves. It also serves as a haven for wildlife species and ethnic minorities. Phong Nha, a welcoming village on the banks of the serene Son River, serves as the entry point to this land of adventure.
Phong Nha is best visited between April and June. Temperatures can be quite high from July to September. The rainy season generally lasts from October to December, and the area is prone to flooding. From December to February, the cold weather sets in, so bring extra layers.
The Reunification Express trains arrive from the north and south at the nearby Dong Hoi train station. Direct flights to Dong Hoi are also available from both the capital and Ho Chi Minh City. The most convenient way to get from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha is to take a local metered taxi. Buses from Hanoi, Hue, or Da Nang are available for those on a tight budget. Visitors who want to spend the day exploring the national park’s caves and sights should rent a motorcycle or a car. Cycling along the river and the Bong Lai Loop is a relaxing way to get around. Finally, take a boat ride down the Son River to see the Phong Nha Cave.
Hue is a city full of legends. The Nguyen Dynasty’s Kings built their feudal capital along Hue’s rich soil rivers and atop its wooded hills, but their imperial legacy is only one of many reasons for visiting. Hue’s refined gastronomy is legendary, and its leafy roads are lined with mossy pagodas, art déco mansions, and eye-catching markets. The Perfume River runs through the entire scene, setting a languid pace that the rest of the city is content to follow.
The spring months in Hue, from February to the end of April, showcase the historic capital at its best. Prepare for scorching days in June and July as heat and humidity levels rise. The rains begin in August and can last until January. It should be noted that Hue frequently experiences flooding, usually from October to late in the year.
Domestic flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City land at Hue’s Phu Bai Airport, which is about a 30-minute drive from the city. Travelers can also take the Reunification Express train to Hue, take an open bus, or hire a private car from Da Nang’s international airport, which is two hours away.
If you want to spend the day discovering the Citadel, riverside, and main town, you can either walk or hire a cyclo for the day. Taxis and bicycles are available for visitors to the Imperial Tombs.
With wide beaches, fantastic street food, the fabled Hai Van Pass, and an ever-expanding collection of cafes, restaurants, and bars, it’s no surprise that Danang residents have some of the widest smiles in the country. My Khe Beach’s warm sands sweep south from the mountainous Son Tra Peninsula. Danang is home to some of Vietnam’s most luxurious resorts, but much of the beach is still owned by the locals who use it as a playground, gym, and source of income.
Da Nang is a fantastic year-round destination. The best months to visit, however, are from March to May and September to October, when the weather is pleasant. There is little rain from June to August, and the sea is clear and calm. Long rains and moody weather characterize the rainy season, which lasts from November to February.
The Da Nang International Airport has several daily flights to major Vietnamese cities. There is also an increase in the number of international connecting flights. Da Nang is served by trains and buses, making it a convenient travel hub for exploring the central region. Taxis and ride-hailing apps are plentiful in town.
Hoi An is a place where the brisk march of progress has slowed to a leisurely amble. The Thu Bon River meanders through this former trading port, past crumbling retail spaces and stained pagodas, while sampans arrive and depart from the old ferry wharf. Outside of the Old Town, two-lane roads cut through swaying rice fields before arriving at a frothy coastline. Stay for a few days, and Hoi An’s easygoing beauty and lantern-lit nights may enchant you.
From October to January, expect rainy days and storms. Bring a few extra layers if you arrive at the beginning of the year. The best months to visit are March to May, but if you don’t mind the heat, you can also see Hoi An from June to August.
The Ancient Town is a 50-minute drive from Da Nang’s international airport. Domestic flights from Vietnam’s major cities, as well as direct flights from regional hubs, are available to Da Nang. Hoi An is also accessible by bus or shuttle van from nearby cities such as Nha Trang, Da Nang, and Hue. Walking and cycling are excellent ways to explore the Ancient Town and surrounding countryside. Taxis and ride-hailing apps are also options. Inquire with your tour operator about renting a private car for longer trips.
Nha Trang is a sunseeker’s paradise, perched on a pristine stretch of the southern coast. Days are spent eating delicious seafood, snorkeling around beautiful islands, and boozing on the sand after dark. Nha Trang is home to some of the country’s best luxury resorts and adrenaline-pumping water activities.
Nha Trang’s rainy season lasts from September to December, but the southern coast is less vulnerable to severe storms than the northern coast. In fact, Nha Trang has the most sunlight in the country, so visitors can come at any time of year and still savor their coastal trip.
Visitors to Nha Trang have the option of arriving by plane, train, or bus. Flights from major cities in Vietnam connect to Nha Trang, and trains run along the coast, either north or south. Buses are easily accessible from Da Lat, Hoi An, and other nearby locations. Taxis are widely available in the city of Nha Trang. Motorbike tours are an excellent way to visit popular attractions such as mud baths and the Po Nagar Cham Tower. Cycling is another low-key option. Finally, book a speedboat tour to explore hidden beaches and go island hopping.
Da Lat, hidden away in the Central Highlands, is Vietnam’s cooler cousin to the country’s seaside resorts. Da Lat, known for its rural charm, attracts couples, wellness seekers, and outdoor enthusiasts. This mountain resort town was once a summer retreat for the French, who left their imprint on the European-inspired architecture and numerous lakes. The main lake in Dalat is the focal point of the action, but amazing natural wonders wait in the hills all around.
The temperate climate of Da Lat, also known as the city of eternal spring, is a highlight of every visit. Bring a sweater if you visit between November and January, and an umbrella if you visit between April and November. If you favor a warmer climate, the month of May is ideal.
Da Lat’s airport is only 30 kilometers south of town and connects to major hubs from north to south. Sleeper buses will take you there from Ho Chi Minh City, and neighboring Mui Ne and Nha Trang are only a few hours away by car or shuttle van. Adventurers will enjoy touring by motorcycle. Popular excursions include Elephant Falls, neighboring K’ho villages, and Tuyen Lam Lake. The town is easy to get around on foot or by taxi.