The North Central region of Vietnam comprises 7 provinces. It is a region that has yet to be included on many Vietnam tour packages because it has not got a huge number of attractions compared to other parts of the country. That in itself can be an advantage and certainly appealing to those that undertake Vietnam travel on an independent basis and want to see the real country away from any crowds.
How to get there
Transport alternatives are fairly good. Road and rail runs through the region and local buses will connect independent travellers to anywhere they wish to go. If you are on Vietnam private tours everything will be arranged for you.
Best time to visit
The dry season starts in March and continues until August. The monsoon rains start then and flooding is possible any time after October until the rains start to fade in January and February.
The Highlights of North Central Vietnam
• Thanh Hoa is a large province 150km from Hanoi and is the northern most point of the North Central region of the country. To the west there are mountains comprising 75% of the province before the land gradually drops towards the coast. It has been described as a region that was part of the ‘’cradle of Vietnamese civilisation’’ over 6.000 years ago. It has a diverse population and at 3.5 million is third behind Hanoi and Ho Chi Ming City.
• Nghe An is the largest province in Vietnam. It stretches from the coast right to the border of Laos. The diverse population results in a number of traditional festivals throughout the year. Kim Lien Village within Nghe An was the birthplace of Ho Chi Minh and there are plenty of historical and cultural attractions. Its beaches are good; Cua Lo, Cuu Hoi, Nghi Thiet, Quynh Bang and Bai Lu.
• Ha Tinh still has horse and carts as a means of transport for anything heavy and for people. It is known for Cu Do which is peanut brittle with honey and ginger. There is a road linking Vietnam to Laos. It is an interesting province for those keen to see local life even if it is short of specific attractions.
• Quang Binh includes the Phong Nha National Park where the caves which are regarded as the biggest in the world. They are believed to be over 300 million years old and contain wonderful stalactites and stalagmites, some over 80 metres long. There are over 300 caves and grottos with a total length of 126 km. There is also the longest underground river in the world. There are still parts to be explored so who knows what else will be found?
• Thua Thien Hue can be divided into four distinct regions; mountains, hills, plains and lagoons. It has extensive beaches and the ancient capital of Hue. The result is that it is a popular tourist region with the Hue Citadel and the countless pagodas just part of the attraction. All Vietnam travel packages should include this part of North Central Vietnam.
There are plenty of accommodation alternatives within these provinces ranging from homestays and hostels to comfortable hotels. Take you pick!