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Overview

Central Vietnam is the focus of much of the country's recent — and far past — history. The city of Hue was the seat of the last imperial dynasty, dissolved at the end of WWII. The citadel of Hue, a well-deserved World Heritage Site, was the emperor's official residence. Not far away are the remnants of My Son, or the Cham Towers. These are magnificent structures erected by the Indianized Hindu culture that prevailed from My Son to Saigon until about 700 years ago when they lost a struggle for survival to the Viet people. Central Vietnam also claims some of the best natural scenery and scenic drives. Bac Ma National Park is only an hour from ...

Central Vietnam is the focus of much of the country's recent — and far past — history. The city of Hue was the seat of the last imperial dynasty, dissolved at the end of WWII. The citadel of Hue, a well-deserved World Heritage Site, was the emperor's official residence. Not far away are the remnants of My Son, or the Cham Towers. These are magnificent structures erected by the Indianized Hindu culture that prevailed from My Son to Saigon until about 700 years ago when they lost a struggle for survival to the Viet people. Central Vietnam also claims some of the best natural scenery and scenic drives. Bac Ma National Park is only an hour from Hue and is a gem. Beaches and coves in this region are seductively beautiful and mostly unspoiled and undeveloped, so far. The former DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) of the US/Vietnam war, and its many fortifications, are still visible and visitable. The jewel of central Vietnam, however, is the endlessly charming town of Hoi An. For centuries Vietnam's window on the world, in Hoi An the architectural influences of many cultures are visible. It's also a culinary center, and the cooking classes are worth the trip. And on one night a week all motor vehicles and electricity are banned. Just candles and footsteps in Hoi An.

Richard Sterling
About the Expert

Richard Sterling is the author of Lonely Planet's World Food: Greece, Eyewitness Travel Guide Vietnam, and many other books.

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Richard Sterling for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Monsoons May-September; but the lightning storms are awesome.