Center Vietnam travel guide

Center Vietnam is combining so many different locations that you can plan to chill on the beach, learn some history or get in touch with the unique ethnic minorities in the Highlands !

Weather in central Vietnam

Central Vietnam has a tropical climate, but it’s a bit more complex than the north or south due to its geography. Here’s a breakdown:

Dry Season (January to August):

  • Hot and dry, especially from June to August
  • Temperatures can soar above 35°C (95°F)
  • Very little rainfall
  • Best time for beach activities

Rainy Season (September to December):

  • Heavy rainfall, especially in October and November
  • Potential for flooding and typhoons
  • Cooler temperatures, but still warm

Key points to remember:

  1. The weather can vary significantly between the coastal areas and the Central Highlands.
  2. Hoi An and Da Nang have the best weather from February to May, with warm temperatures and low rainfall.
  3. The Central Highlands (like Dalat) are cooler year-round due to their elevation.
  4. Hue tends to be rainy from September to December, with occasional showers even in the dry season.
  5. The beaches are most enjoyable from February to August, but can be very hot in mid-summer.
  6. October and November can see severe storms and flooding, particularly in Hoi An and Hue.
  7. If you’re planning to visit during the rainy season, be prepared for sudden downpours and potential travel disruptions.
  8. The Central Highlands have their own microclimate, with a rainy season from April to November.

Remember, while the weather can be generally predicted, it’s always a good idea to check current conditions before your trip. Central Vietnam’s diverse geography means you might experience different weather conditions even in nearby areas, so pack accordingly

Highlights of Central Vietnam

Central Vietnam’s got some real hidden gems that international tourists are just starting to discover. But let me tell you, the places that are on the map? They’re absolutely worth spending a few days at. Here’s the lowdown on the must-sees:


This place might just end up being the highlight of your entire Vietnam trip. It’s home to Son Doong, the world’s largest cave – we’re talking 126 km long! Unfortunately, you can only visit it on a 7-day trek with Oxalis (they’ve got exclusive rights), and you need to book a year in advance. But don’t worry, there are other amazing caves where you can do 2-3 day treks with camping inside the cave. How cool is that? For easier options, check out Phong Nha Cave, Paradise Cave, or Dark Cave (which has a little adventure park with zip lines, diving boards, and mud baths).


The old imperial capital is a must-visit. You can soak up the vibes of the ancient citadel, visit the tombs of former emperors, admire the architecture of the famous Japanese Bridge in Thanh Toan, cruise down the Perfume River, or check out the many craft villages around the city (they make everything from conical hats to incense to kites). And if you need a break, the beach is just a short trip away.


You might know it as the “Ocean Cloud Pass”. This road connecting Hue to Da Nang is a must-do if you’re in central Vietnam. The views are spectacular, the road’s in good shape, and you’ll want to keep stopping for fruit juice and photos.


This is probably the most famous spot in central Vietnam, and for good reason! The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s charming visitors from all over the world. Those traditional yellow houses with their big wooden beams are stunning, especially in the evening when lanterns light up the river. It can get a bit crowded, so many tourists prefer to stay at An Bang beach or in one of the boutique hotels tucked away in the rice fields. Don’t miss the Japanese Bridge, river cruises, and definitely try a cooking class – the local food is delicious. Oh, and make sure to visit the My Son sanctuary (another UNESCO site) early in the morning before the crowds arrive. For families, the Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills is pretty cool. And if you’re into crafts, check out the silk weaving, lantern making, and calligraphy.


This place isn’t quite on everyone’s radar yet, but it’s developing fast and will be soon. It’s a beach town with lots to do – you can visit the Banh It Towers and the twin towers of the Champa kingdom, go snorkeling at Ky Co beach, or just cruise along the coast for some great views. It’s also a good place to stay if you don’t want to be right in the city.

So there you have it – Central Vietnam’s greatest hits. Each of these places has its own unique charm, so try to hit as many as you can!

Off beaten paths of central Vietnam


About 100 km from Pleiku airport, there’s a place they call “Little Dalat” because of its mountains, rivers, and waterfalls. Mang Den is like a little slice of paradise that tourists haven’t discovered yet. You can soak up the Ba Na culture in the surrounding areas too. It’s a total change of scenery! And get this – it’s only an hour from Kon Tum, where you can visit the Kon Tum Cathedral and the Bishop’s House. This building is a cool mix of Roman and Ba Na architecture. Inside, there’s an orphanage run by nuns where you can volunteer if you’re into that sort of thing.


This place is on the up and up. It’s got its own airport and sits right between Quy Nhon and Nha Trang on the coast. Talk about a peaceful haven! The coastline is stunning whether you head south towards the lighthouse or north to the surprising Gan Dia beach with its rock formations. You can enjoy some wild, unspoiled beaches here. Oh, and don’t miss the Cham tower – the panoramic view from up there is excellent.


Nestled in the highlands with its own airport, Pleiku is surrounded by mountains, plains, and plateaus. You’ve got to see the beautiful waterfalls like K50 and Phu Cuong, and the Kon Ka Kinh National Park with its rich flora and fauna. It’s also Ba Na territory, known for their huge communal houses with unique architecture.


Sure, it’s famous for coffee plantations, but there’s so much more! The Gia Long – Dray Nur – Dray Sap waterfall system is spectacular, especially during the rainy season when water gushes along its entire length. Some tourists head to Buon Don village to see the elephants, but we actually recommend boycotting the elephant rides offered there. While locals use elephants traditionally, encouraging this for tourism is a different story. Instead, spend your free time by the lakes or in the national parks.


Now, if you want to really dive into the culture, visit Kbang village in Ba Na territory. Share moments of local life, discover traditions, hike in the surroundings, and hey, why not plan a night under the stars?

These places are off the beaten path, but they offer a chance to see a side of Vietnam that many tourists miss. You’ll get a real taste of local life, stunning natural beauty, and unique cultural experiences. Just remember to travel responsibly and respect local customs!

Food in Central Vietnam

  1. Bun Bo Hue: This is a rockstar dish! It’s a soup with fresh noodles, slices of beef shank, chunks of oxtail, and pig’s feet. The broth is fragrant with lemongrass, cilantro, and mint. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you find some cubes of congealed blood in there – it’s a Vietnamese delicacy!
  2. Cao Lau: This is Hoi An’s claim to fame. You’ve got fresh rice noodles, grilled pork slices, bean sprouts, lettuce, and aromatic herbs, all topped with crispy fried pork skin. It’s a texture explosion!
  3. My Quang: Central Vietnam’s specialty. Picture yellow rice noodles with meat or shrimp, quail eggs, all swimming in a pork bone broth. Delish!
  4. Banh Beo: These are little rice cakes topped with pork or shrimp. You eat them in one bite after dipping them in fish sauce. They’re like flavor bombs!
  5. Banh Khoai Hue: Think of these as Hue’s version of Banh Xeo. They’re small rice pancakes stuffed with shrimp, meat, fresh veggies, and bean sprouts. The dipping sauce is made from pork liver and green figs – sounds weird, tastes amazing!
  6. Banh Bot Loc: Another Hue specialty. These are tapioca dumplings filled with shrimp and meat. They’re translucent, which makes them look pretty cool.
  7. Com Ga Hoi An: Hoi An’s chicken rice. It’s sticky rice served with chicken and fresh herbs. Simple but so good!
  8. Banh Mi Hoi An: While you can find banh mi (sandwiches) all over Vietnam, Hoi An’s are supposed to be the best. The classic one has pâté, sometimes with eggs, veggies, and sauce.
  9. Banh Chuoi: These are banana fritters. While they’re not strictly a Central specialty, the best ones are said to be in Hue. They’re perfect for a sweet treat before sightseeing or as an afternoon snack.

Remember, eating is a big part of the Vietnamese experience, so don’t be shy – dive in and try everything! Each dish has its own unique flavor and story. And hey, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a local cooking class? It’s a great way to bring a taste of Vietnam home with you!

What to see and do ? 

  1. Wander through Hoi An’s old town and Hue’s historic center. It’s like stepping back in time! The yellow buildings, lantern-lit streets, and ancient architecture are seriously Instagram-worthy.
  2. Take a boat ride on the Perfume River. Despite the name, it doesn’t actually smell like perfume, but the views are pretty sweet!
  3. Visit the artisan villages around Hue and try your hand at some traditional crafts. You might discover a hidden talent for making conical hats or incense!
  4. Hit the beach and chill out. Central Vietnam’s got some gorgeous stretches of sand where you can work on your tan or catch some waves.
  5. Sign up for a cooking class in Hoi An. Trust me, you’ll want to be able to recreate that amazing Vietnamese food when you get home!
  6. Hop on the back of a scooter (with a driver, of course) and explore the Central Highlands. It’s an exhilarating way to see the countryside!
  7. Make the most of the many waterfalls and national parks in the region. Whether you’re into hiking, swimming, or just soaking up nature, you’re in for a treat.
  8. Visit minority villages in the highlands. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about different cultures and ways of life.

These activities give you a mix of culture, nature, adventure, and relaxation. You can go from exploring ancient cities to zipping through mountain roads to lounging on the beach, all in the same region!

Remember, the key to enjoying Central Vietnam is to immerse yourself in the local culture and pace of life. Don’t rush – take time to sip some coffee, chat with locals, and soak in the atmosphere. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an adrenaline junkie, or a beach bum, Central Vietnam’s got something for you. Enjoy!

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