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Central Vietnam Travel Guide

Provinces in Central Vietnam:

North Central (Bac Trung Bo) contains six provinces in the northern half of Vietnam's narrow central part. All provinces in this region stretch from the coast in the east to Laos in the west: Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien Hue.

South Central (Nam Trung Bo) contains seven coastal provinces and Danang city (centrally-controlled municipallity) in the southern half of Vietnam's central part: Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Ninh Thuan, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai.

Central Highlands (Tay Nguyen) contains the five inland provinces of south-central Vietnam: Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Lam Dong. Almost of this region is mountainous. While mostly inhabited by ethnic minorities, there are many Vietnamese living here.

Tourism Highlights

Central Vietnam is home to a wealth of attractions from the ancient imperial capital of Hue to the cosmopolitan shopping and the beach destinations of Hoi An and Danang Beach.

Less glamourously, the region is home to the Demiliterised Zone (DMZ) which was the scene of heavy fighting during the American war. This part of the country is dotted with all manner of war-period attractions, including the remains of Khe Sanh and other US bases along the DMZ. Unfortunately, little remains at most of these sites as time and scrap hunters have had their way.

The one exception is the Vinh Moc tunnels -- a breathtaking testament of the tenacity of the Vietnamese people and a far more worthwhile attraction than the far more touristic Cu Chi tunnels.

Most travellers to Vietnam pencil in Hue and Hoi An as definite "must sees" but then fail to allow themselves enough time in each town. This is particularly the case with Hoi An, where, while it can feel almost Disneylandesque at times, people are always running out of time. If you allowed just a couple of days for Hoi An, be sure to double it.

And don't forget Da Nang City. It's home to more than just the closest airport to Hoi An! There's also a terrific Cham Museum, Danang Beach and an overall rather fun, little touristed Vietnamese city.

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