Discover

Central Vietnam

Central Vietnam is the most rugged and untouched part of the country, with the natural beauty of areas like Phong Nha and Da Lat.

That being said, it still has some amazing cities, from the sea-meets-skyscrapers Da Nang to the ancient and romantic hideaway of Hue to the famously beautiful village of Hoi An. And then there are the incredible beach towns on the coast, like Nha Trang and Quy Nhon.

In short, there’s a ton to explore in this often-overlooked part of Vietnam.

Hoi An ancient town - Central Vietnam

Top Attractions

Central Vietnam Travel Guide

Best time to visit Central Vietnam

Autumn is typically the ideal time to explore most regions of Central Vietnam. During this season, the weather is pleasant, the landscape vibrant, and tourist crowds are relatively sparse.

Below are some of the factors to consider when planning your trip to Central Vietnam:

Weather

weather - Central Vietnam

Understanding Central Vietnam’s weather is important for planning. Summer brings heavy rains, especially in low-lying areas. While June-August is generally fine for visiting Vietnam, be cautious in Central Vietnam due to flooding. Research your destination to check flood risks if you’re traveling during this time.

Festival and Events

hue festival in spring

Central Vietnam is home to vibrant festivals and cultural events that provide a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage. Notable events include the Hue Festival, showcasing traditional music, dance, and art every two years, and the Lantern Festival in Hoi An, celebrated monthly during the full moon, lighting up the night with thousands of lanterns.

Crowds

Beach Crowded in Central - Central Vietnam

Tourist peak seasons in Central Vietnam align with the dry season, especially around Tet (Vietnamese New Year) and international holiday periods. Destinations like Da Nang, Hoi An, and Hue may become crowded, affecting prices and availability of accommodations.

For a more serene experience, consider visiting during the shoulder months of May or August, when the weather is still pleasant, and tourist numbers are lower.

Activities

Festival in Hoi An - Central Vietnam

The dry season, particularly between February and May, offers optimal conditions for outdoor pursuits and exploring the region’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the ancient town of Hoi An, the Imperial City of Hue, and the My Son Sanctuary.

Adventure seekers can also enjoy this period for beach activities along the stunning coastline or exploring the lush landscapes of national parks like Phong Nha-Ke Bang.

Transportation

Getting to Central Vietnam

air to - Central Vietnam
By Air

If Central Vietnam is your chosen destination, your first stop will likely be Da Nang International Airport. Refer to our flying to Vietnam guide for more information on flights, and consult our individual destination guides for transportation details to popular spots in Central Vietnam.

train to - Central Vietnam
By Train

The Vietnam Railways stops at several key locations in Central Vietnam, including Hue, Da Nang, and Quang Ngai, providing a scenic route through the country’s heartland.

bus street - Central Vietnam
By Bus

A network of long-distance buses connects Central Vietnam with the north and south, offering an affordable way to reach this vibrant region. Sleeper buses are available for overnight journeys, ensuring comfort.

Getting around Central Vietnam

train around 1 - Central Vietnam
By Train

Trains offer a scenic and relaxed way to travel between major destinations in Central Vietnam, such as Hue, Da Nang, and Quang Ngai, with various classes of service available.

bus around - Central Vietnam
By Bus

An extensive network of public and private buses facilitates travel within Central Vietnam, connecting cities, towns, and tourist spots.

Motorbike Vietnam 1 - Central Vietnam
By Car or Motorbike

Renting a car or motorbike gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Consider hiring a local driver or joining a tour if unfamiliar with local driving conditions.

air around - Central Vietnam
By Air

Traveling by air within Central Vietnam is facilitated by several key airports, enabling efficient movement across the region:

  • Da Nang International Airport (DAD): The main hub, connecting to other Vietnamese cities and central attractions.
  • Phu Bai International Airport (HUI) in Hue: Offers access to the historical city of Hue and its surroundings.
  • Chu Lai Airport (VCL) near Quang Ngai: Serves southern Central Vietnam, focusing on Quang Ngai Province.
  • Cam Ranh International Airport (CXR) near Nha Trang: Although sometimes considered the boundary of Central and Southern Vietnam, it provides access to Nha Trang’s beaches.
  • Dong Hoi Airport (VDH) in Quang Binh: Connects to the northern part of Central Vietnam, ideal for visiting the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

While direct flights between these airports may be limited, Da Nang serves as the primary hub due to its more frequent flight options. For destinations without direct flights or for shorter distances, consider trains, buses, or car rentals as alternatives.

Customs and Etiquette

Exploring Central Vietnam is like stepping into a world where traditions paint everyday life with vibrant colors and rich textures. Here’s how to blend in smoothly and show your respect:

  • Chatting with Elders: Treat older folks with high regard – they’re esteemed for their wisdom. Stand when they enter and let them lead discussions.
  • Dressing and Behaving: Opt for modest clothing, especially in sacred areas and the countryside. Politeness is key to harmonizing with the local culture.
  • Saying Hello: A smile and gentle nod are universal greetings here. Follow local customs, possibly including handshakes for men.
  • Mealtime Manners: Show patience at meals; wait for the eldest to begin eating. Shoes off at the door is a must for cleanliness.
  • Cultural No-Nos: Avoid rude gestures like pointing with feet or touching heads. Also, don’t stick chopsticks upright in rice, as it symbolizes mourning.

Get free trip planning advice from Vietnam Is Awesome

Submit Your Plan

Common questions about Central Vietnam

Central Vietnam is renowned for its historical sites, stunning coastline, and culinary excellence. The region is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Imperial City of Hue, the ancient town of Hoi An, and the My Son Sanctuary. Each offers a unique glimpse into Vietnam’s past, from royal dynasties to ancient civilizations. 

Beyond history, Central Vietnam’s natural beauty is unparalleled, with the Hai Van Pass offering spectacular coastal views, and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, known for its colossal caves and underground rivers.

To fully experience Central Vietnam, spending at least a week in Central Vietnam to enjoy Hue’s old sites, Hoi An’s charm, and Da Nang’s natural beauty at a leisurely pace is ideal. If possible, a longer stay will uncover more hidden treasures and allow for a deeper immersion in the local lifestyle.

Da Nang, the largest city in Central Vietnam, is celebrated for its vibrant Da Nang nightlife, diverse food scene, and dynamic expat community. This modern city offers the perfect balance of relaxation and cultural exploration.

  • Hue’s Imperial City: Dive into the history of Vietnam’s last royal dynasty.
  • Hoi An Ancient Town: Wander through streets lit by lanterns, offering a picturesque blend of cultures.
  • My Son Sanctuary: Explore the ancient ruins of Hindu temples amidst lush greenery.
  • Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park: Adventure through some of the world’s largest caves.
  • Da Nang’s Marble Mountains: Discover a mix of natural caves, Buddhist sanctuaries, and panoramic views.

From Da Nang:

From Hue:

Hue Tam Giang Lagoon Full Day Tour: This tour features unique natural landscapes found only in Tam Giang Lagoon – Southeast Asia’s largest lagoon system.

From Hoi An:

From Phong Nha:

Phong Nha: Tra Ang 1 Day Excursion: This tour is perfect for everyone willing to spend less time jungle hiking but still experience and explore some truly unspoiled tropical rainforests and caves.