Places to visit in Central Vietnam
The long narrow land of Central Vietnam is usually referred to as “the Route of Heritages of Vietnam”. Housing four UNESCO heritage sites, together with one intangible heritage, the Central Vietnam has plenty to explore. From the meticulous Citadel of Hue, the romantic Ancient Town of Hoi An to 400-million-year-old karst formation of PhonNha, you never run short of destinations and activities to put in your Central Vietnam tours packages. Here in this list, we recommend the best places to visit in the Central Vietnam.
1. Royal Citadel of Hue
Between the time of 1802 to 1945, Hue was the national capital of Vietnam country under the last dynasty of Nguyen. Constantly built and expanded throughout a century and a half, Hue houses a huge complex palaces, temples, gardens, and mausoleums. Though severely destroyed by bombards during the Vietnam War, the royal citadel of Hue still has a lot to visit, with palaces illustrating the peak of Vietnamese arts, in interaction with the Chinese and later the French through a stormy era in Vietnam history.
Located Southwest of the citadel, Nguyen kings’ mausoleums are such precious pearls in Oriental architecture and art of landscaping. The constructions are perfectly designed in harmony with its natural surroundings, inspiring awe, calmness and eternity. Just close by the citadel are palaces of Nguyen princes and princesses, in which you can stay in beautiful ancient houses in the middle of relaxing and peaceful gardens.
Hue food and sweets are not to be missed, the most noticeable are Bún Bò Hu? (a spicy beef noodle soup) and Chè (a kind of sweet soup served as desserts). If you are tired of urban lifestyles after staying in Hanoi or Saigon, Hue is a perfect place to stop by and relax, and is one of the best places to see in Vietnam.
2. Hoi An Ancient Town
In the 17th century, business and foreign trade in Vietnam bloomed under the rule of ?àng Trong kingdom. Hoi An became an important international port, welcoming trading boats from all over the world, chiefly Chinese, Japanese and European traders. It was not only a business gather point, but cultures were intensively exchanged, creating a rich a diverse town. Later, trade deteriorated due to natural and political reasons, and the town was forgotten ever-since. It turns out to be a good thing to Hoi An, as its beautiful features were perfectly reserved until its values were rediscovered in 1980s. Now in Hoi An, you can leisurely stroll along the roads which were once occupied by hurrying businessmen speaking dozens of languages. A visit to Hoi An is a travel back in time, and you should definitely have it in your Central Vietnam tour packages.
Like everywhere in Vietnam, food is big thing to enjoy In Hoi An, we highly recommend chicken rice, mì qu?ng and cao l?u (the two latter are noodle soups). A sip of n??c mót (lemon juice mixed with various herbs) is refreshing and memorable. Above are just a few among various delicacies you come across in the small town.
Note: The ancient town of Hoi An is not the only thing to visit in the area. You can rent a room in the village of Trà Qu? and join farmers in their daily activities. The village is well known for its herb products and a day staying there would be super fun and full of experience. Or to the East of the town, nature lovers can visit the forest of water coconut trees and explore the intertidal ecology. For adventurous tourists, a ride in bowl-shape boats with crazy rowers would be unforgettable.
3. My Son Sanctuary
Approximately one hour from Hoi An is another UNESCO heritage site. Listed by UNESCO in 1999, My Son is appreciated for its significant signs of civilisation exchanges and as an exceptional testimony to a kingdom that no long exists. Though usually skipped by hurrying travellers, My Son is really interesting to see. As the national sanctuary of Champa kingdom (a kingdom that used to control the Central Vietnam before defeated by the Vietnam kingdom), My Son has a long building history with over 70 constructions from all the artistic periods of Champa. Sadly, the place was harshly destroyed by bombards, but what remains are still awe-inspiring and interesting. The building techniques of Hoi An, as well as all Champa ruins, leave the scientists frustrated, as no absolute answers have been given. The bricks are still bright and moss-free over more than one thousand years and scientists are still scratching their heads over it. My Son is mysterious, beautiful and eternal.
Note: a visit to My Son should be arranged with Vietnam tour operators or local guiding service for detail information.
4. Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park
In 2003, the National Park was inscribed by the UNESCO as a Natural Heritage Site under three criteria. The core of the park is a limestone complex carved by water through complex geological processes, creating beautiful karst features. A perfect way to see Phong Nha - Ke Bang is renting a boat to go along Son river. Depending on the seasons, the river is emerald-color with crystal-clear water, allowing you to observe its rich benthic ecology from your boats, or angry red color during the flood season. Along the river there are peaceful villages with fishermen working leisurely on their boats. Limestone mountains appear behind the clouds, and the river leads you to caves created 400 millions of years ago. The stalactites and stalagmites are mysterious and fun to see, and their curious shapes would boost your imagination. Recently, the world has been amazed by the largest cave ever found in the Earth, Son Doong Cave. The trip to the cave can only be arranged with Vietnam tour operators under limited access to the reservation. It is one-in-a-lifetime trip to the lost world, with striking Hollywood-like sceneries, jungles in the middle of the Earth and marvelous Fossils. Without a doubt, the park is one of the best places to see in Vietnam.