People who travels to Vietnam usually goes to either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City or drive cross country. The north and the south of Vietnam are two highly popular destinations for foreigners because there’s so many established destinations there already. For example, there’s Halong Bay in the north and the Mekong Delta in the south. Although those places are wonderful, there’s one place in Vietnam that’s highly underrated. I’m talking about central Vietnam.
Central Vietnam has some of the country’s most stunning beaches, they have the world’s biggest cave, an Ancient Town with lanterns as far as the eye can see and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Not to mention the food is incredible in central Vietnam as well. There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t come here.
If you’re not convinced yet, here are the top reasons why you should visit Central Vietnam.
Hoi An, the magical town
Let’s start with the most popular place in central Vietnam. Most backpackers know about Hoi An because of its UNESCO World Heritage Old Town that hasn’t changed much since the 17th century. The architecture is a wonderful mix of Japanese, Chinese, French and Vietnamese, and you can really see the fusion while walking around in town. If you like culture, Hoi An is the perfect place for you to visit. Hoi An is a beautiful place and it’s often many travelers favorite spot in Vietnam. It’s gorgeous to look at during day time, when you can stroll around the colorful houses and drink tea in some of the most beautiful cafés. At night, the town turns into a lantern fest when they all light up and the town becomes full of life. There’s plenty of bars and restaurants to sit and enjoy a delicious meal in while soaking in the atmosphere of the magical town Hoi An.
Go to the beach
Many people forget that there’s beaches to enjoy in central Vietnam as well. They’re not very well known beaches, but perhaps that’s why you should visit them. If you’re in Hoi An, you could easily rent a bike and go to the nearby beaches. If you’re there during off season, you might even be surprised by how empty the beaches are. Unlike many others, the beaches here are not as packed with travelers, but they’re just as beautiful as the ones you can find in the north and south.
You can take a break from the night buses
Traveling in central Vietnam is so much easier than in the rest. You’ve probably taken a few night buses if you’ve ever traveled in Vietnam and although they’re not bad, it can get really tiring. Sometimes you feel like you’re always on a bus. But if you’re already in central Vietnam, it’s very easy to get from one city to another without having to spend hours and hours in transit. The longest ride you need to take is from Hue to Phong Nha and that bus ride is only 6 hours long (which is quite short of a ride for Vietnam). The buses are very affordable, they run frequently and it’s very easy to buy a bus ticket. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you could always do it on a motorbike as well. One of the most popular routes is the Hai Van Pass which runs from Hue to Hoi An, or the other way around.
You can visit the biggest karst caves in the world
The largest cave known to men can be found in Phong Nha, about 6 hours north of Hue. Phong Nha itself is a cozy town that’s becoming a hit amongst travelers thanks to the caves you can explore and the national park. There are so many amazing caves in Phong Nha that you could easily stay here for a couple of days without feeling bored.
Come try “My Quang”
This highly underrated noodle dish comes from the Quang Nam province, in central Vietnam. Unlike pho and other noodle dishes, my quang is served with just a bit of broth. The noodles are also thicker and are made on a daily basis so you can be sure that they’re fresh. If you love Vietnamese food, you’re really going to appreciate this noodle dish.
My Son Sanctuary
My Son is a complex of Hindu temples that were constructed by the Champa Kingdom. After the Vietnamese defeated them, the temples were abandoned. They were rediscovered in in 1889 though by the explorer Camille Paris, during his cartography expedition. It’s classified as a UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1999 and has since been frequently visited by travelers from all over the world. The easiest way to get there is either by going independently with a motorbike or go on a tour.