Home to historical sites, fantastic food and the country’s most iconic beach, central Vietnam deserves to rate as a top priority for travellers. Tourists wanting to avoid lengthy bus journeys will find Danang’s airport the perfect gateway to a fascinating set of the country’s most famous destinations, including three must-see Unesco World Heritage sites – history-seeped Imperial Hué, architecturally impressive Hoi An and the sacred ruins of ancient My Son.
The north of the region continues to attract its share of former servicemen revisiting the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), the old border between North and South Vietnam, which saw some of the fiercest fighting of the American War. Other GIs have returned permanently to join the ex-pat community in bustling Danang. It’s not just veterans that find these locales fascinating – the war’s impact on popular culture also attracts legions of younger tourists.
There are plenty of relatively undiscovered spots deserving of exploration, including the beautiful cool heights of Bach Ma National Park and Ba Na Hill Station, and, surprisingly, large tracts of tele-famous China Beach. Other spots, such as the Marble Mountains and Hai Van Pass, are choked with hawkers but still make fascinating stops.
The range of accommodation on offer is extraordinary – from great-value budget places to some of the most luxurious resorts in the country. Hoi An is a shopper’s paradise and, along with Hué, a great location for foodies.
Do the maths: it all adds up to make this region a must on any trip through Vietnam.