VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

Central Vietnam

Demilitarised Zone - Dong Ha - Lao Bao - Quang Tri - Hue - Around Hue - Suoi Voi Bach Ma National Park - Lang Co Beach - Hai Van Pass Tunnel
Ba Na Hill Station - Suoi Mo - Danang - Around Danang - Hoi An - Around Hoi An My Son - Tra Kieu - Tam Ky

Central Vietnam

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 Hue, 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 Hue, a great location for foodies. Do the maths: it alt adds up to make this region a must on any trip through Vietnam.
History
History hangs heavily over the central Vietnam region, and the Vietnamese are only one element of the successive stories that have unfolded here. This region was the heartland of the ancient kingdom of Champa (see the boxed text), and the Chams left their mark in the shape of the many towers dotting the landscape, the most renowned of which are at My Son. As the Vietnamese pushed southwards, pacifying the Chams, the first Europeans set foot in Vietnam: Portuguese traders, who arrived in Danang in the 16th century. The French would come to dominate Vietnam, but not before the balance of power shifted decisively to central Vietnam under the last royal dynasty, the Nguyens, who ruled from 1802 to 1945. Successive emperors established a lavisn imperial court at Hue, which became the centre of political intrigue, intellectual excellence and spiritual guidance in Vietnam. The French broke the will of later emperors and the balance of power shifted back to Hanoi by the time of independence. History was not to ignore this once-proud region, but this time it was a tale of tragedy. As Vietnam found itself engulfed in the American War, the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting. The North Vietnamese sought to infiltrate the south along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, while American forces and their South Vietnamese allies tried their best to disrupt supplies. Thousands of lives were lost in bloody battles for strategic hills and valleys, and names like Khe Sanh and Hamburger Hill were forever etched into the consciousness of the West.
Getting There & Away
Both Hue and Danang have airports, the latter linked to many major cities. The major north-south rail route cuts straight through the region, as does Hwy 1A.