Central Vietnam is one of the most beautiful regions in the country and can easily be explored within 10 days. The distances here aren’t as big so you won’t have to spend too much time in transit and the weather in Central Vietnam is mild all year round. However, the best seasons to visit Vietnam is either during autumn (August to October) or spring (February to April) because rainfall is lighter and it’s not too humid and hot.
If you only have a limited amount of time in Vietnam and you want to combine your trip with beach, culture and landscapes, a visit to central Vietnam is a must. Check out our 10 day itinerary in central Vietnam to see how you can get the most out of your trip.
1. Da Nang
Most people either fly to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, but if you want to start in central Vietnam, the easiest and most convenient way is to fly to Da Nang. Try to stay here for at least one night and see the famous dragon bridge and stroll around the city. It’s the third largest city of Vietnam, just after Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
2. Hoi An
The distance between Da Nang and Hoi An is only about 30 km and takes around 45 minutes with a car or bus. If you have a hotel or hostel in Hoi An, they usually offer pick up from Da Nang. It’s the most convenient way to get to the town and they’ll drop you off just by your accommodation. Once in Hoi An, it’ll be difficult to leave. The main sight is the Ancient Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, due to its well-preserved buildings and monuments. The architecture is a mix of Japanese, Chinese and later European influences, giving it its unique look and atmosphere. At night, marvel at the hundreds of lanterns lighting up the town. Hoi An can get busy since it’s a big tourist attraction for both locals and internationals, but the beauty and the charm of it will make you forget about all the other visitors.
Hoi An is particularly famous for its tailors and if you’ve ever wanted to get something tailor-made, this is the place to do so. In almost every corner, you’ll find a tailor which will happily help you choose the fabric and design. But try not to settle for the first tailor you find, instead walk around and ask for prices and see what they’ve designed before. The best way to ensure getting a good experience is if you connect with your tailor and explain as thoroughly as you can.
When it gets too hot for you to wander around the Ancient Town, rent a bicycle or scooter and drive to the beach. One of the most popular beaches is ”An Bang Beach” which is just 4 kilometres away from the Ancient Town and is easily accessible. You have some bars and restaurants here too, so you can easily spend an entire day by the beach swimming, paddle boarding or why not surf. Hoi An is the perfect mix of culture, landscape and beach, so spending 4 days here is the perfect amount of time to fully enjoy everything Hoi An has to offer.
Hop on a bus afterwards and make your way to the old capital city of Vietnam, Hue. With the bus, it takes about 3 hours, depending on traffic (and the driver!). The city is more quiet than Hoi An but is equally as beautiful. The main attraction here is the old Imperial City, which was home to the Nguyen dynasty. It’s a fascinating and jaw dropping place where you can wander around for hours and marvel at the well-preserved remnants from a far distant era. After you’ve seen the Imperial City, take a boat trip along the Perfume River to catch the sunset. Hue is a small city which can be easily seen for one day, making it the perfect stop on your 10 day itinerary in Central Vietnam.
4. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
After exploring Hue, hop on another bus for a few hours to Phong Nha, where some of the world’s largest caves can be found. In addition to exploring underground caves, you can go zip lining, swim and rent a scooter and drive around the national park. Phong Nha is the perfect destination for people who loves green landscapes, nature and who wants to get a glimpse of rural Vietnam. It’s a small, popular town which has recently been discovered by backpackers who are looking for adventure. Although it’s small, you’ll find plenty of hostels, restaurants, bars and even a few clubs here. It’s one of the highlights in central Vietnam and is a great ending for your 10 day trip. Spending 2-3 days here is usually enough and will allow you to both relax and do a few of the activities that Phong Nha has to offer.
After Phong Nha, make your way back to the international airport in Da Nang where you can fly back home.
Don’t forget to apply for a Vietnam visa before you enter the country. You can either get a Visa on Arrival (which is the most preferred option), E-Visa or go to your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and get a visa with them.