Vietnam's central coast has a lot to offer the discerning traveller. With a long, complex and important history, the region has been at the centre of conflict and power for centuries, but it is also home to splendid ancient ruins, emperors' palaces - such as those at Hue - and distinctly French colonial mansions. It’s also where you’ll find some of Vietnam’s best beaches, particularly around Hoi An and Da Nang, the old and new marine trading hubs of the region.
Perched between the former North and South Vietnam, the central coast is home to the former DMZ, and, as such, the region witnessed some of the worst fighting during the Vietnam War. Now, fully restored and revitalised, it’s a wonderful place to explore, where past and present meet within fascinating cultural traditions and modern ways of life. An important trade area, you’ll get a taste of mercantile history in still-operational silk-lantern workshops and busy marketplaces in its main cities.
Lanterns in Hoi An
Poised on the edge of the exotic Perfume River, Hue is the old imperial capital and a cultural hotspot. Its elegant buildings and crumbling city walls reflect a rich royal history, and its food is some of the best in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the river itself offers the chance for scenic walks along the promenade and sunset dinner cruises along the waterway. And, further south, Hoi An’s UNESCO-protected old town is a must-see. A blend of French, Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese architecture create a melting pot of cultural references – you’ll see it in the quaint Chinese shophouses, pretty Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge. Ask our experts about meeting the local craftsmen here – you can even make your own silk lantern to take home. Both cities feature on our Highlights of Vietnam itinerary.
East Gate (Hien Nhon Gate) to the Citadel, Hue
Da Nang is the tourist capital of the central coast, its bright blue waters and sandy beaches an idyllic base for sun-seeking tourists. My Khe is one of the most popular resort areas here, famed for its seafood restaurants. You’re also ideally located to explore the Marble Mountains, which offer spectacular views along the coastline from five limestone peaks. Alternatively, head to Nha Trang for world-class snorkelling, uber-luxe hotels and a charming fishing-town heritage. Some of Vietnam’s most exclusive resorts can be found nestled on its white sand beaches – ask our specialists for their top recommendations.