Central Vietnam

Introducing Central Vietnam

Once a bustling seaport, the diminutive town of Hoi An perches beside an indolent backwater, its narrow streets of wooden-fronted shophouses and weathered roofs making it an enticing destination. Inland, the war-battered ruins of My Son, the greatest of the Cham temple sites, lie mouldering in a steamy, forest-filled valley. Da Nang, just up the coast, lacks Hoi An’s charm, but good transport links make it a convenient base for the area. From Da Nang a corkscrew ride over clifftop Hai Van Pass, or a straight run through the new 6km-long tunnel, brings you to the aristocratic city of Hué, where the Nguyen emperors established their capital in the nineteenth century on the banks of the languid Perfume River. The temples and palaces of this highly cultured city still testify to past splendours, while its Imperial mausoleums are masterpieces of architectural refinement, slumbering among pine-shrouded hills.