The geographic heart of the nation, central Vietnam is packed with historic sights and cultural interest, and blessed with ravishing beaches and outstanding national parks. Marvel at Hue and its imperial citadel, royal tombs and excellent street food. Savour the unique heritage grace of riverside jewel Hoi An, and tour the military sites of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).
Once the heartland of the Cham civilisation, today this sparkling coastline of ravishing white sands is Vietnam's premier destination for beach holidays. If your idea of paradise is reclining in front of turquoise waters, weighing up the merits of a massage or a mojito, then you have come to the right place.
Few parts of Vietnam stir the imagination with the lure of adventure quite like the highlands. The ribbon that is the Ho Chi Minh Highway winds its scenic way past coffee plantations, pine-studded mountains, rice paddies with their wallowing buffalo, enormous reed-covered lakes and peaceful hill-tribe villages, laying down the challenge of a two-wheeled journey.
For most visitors, the northeast is all about Halong Bay. The sublime seascape at this World Heritage site is undoubtedly one of Vietnam’s most enchanting experiences. But high up in the rugged mountains of the interior are some of the country’s most intriguing destinations and far fewer tourists than in the coastal clusters.
Welcome to the roof of Vietnam, where the mountains of the Tonkinese Alps (Hoang Lien Mountains) soar skyward, their long shadows concealing some of the country’s best-kept secrets. The landscape is a rich palette that provides some of the most spectacular scenery in Vietnam.
Pronounced ‘Hway’, this deeply evocative capital of the Nguyen emperors still resonates with the glories of imperial Vietnam, even though many of its finest buildings were destroyed during the American War. Hue owes its charm partly to its location on the Perfume River – picturesque on a clear day, atmospheric even in less flattering weather.
Phu Quoc Island
Fringed with white-sand beaches and with large tracts still cloaked in dense, tropical jungle, Phu Quoc rapidly morphed from a sleepy island backwater to a must-visit beach escape for Western expats and sun-seeking tourists. Beyond the resorts lining Long Beach and development beginning on the east coast, there's still ample room for exploration and escaping.
Dalat & Around
Dalat is Vietnam’s alter ego: the weather is spring-like cool instead of tropical hot, the town is dotted with elegant French-colonial villas rather than stark socialist architecture, and the farms around are thick with strawberries and flowers, not rice. The French came first, fleeing the heat of Saigon.