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Things to Do in Central Vietnam - page 2

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Dam Market (Cho Dam)
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36 Tours and Activities

Built in the early 1900s, this massive market is a hub for local life in Nha Trang City. Originally constructed on a seven hectare pond, Dam Market was damaged during the Vietnam War and later resurrected as a three-storey building that’s jam packed with souvenirs, meat and fish stalls. Locals make their way to the popular market in the earliest hours of the morning and comb through stalls manned by friendly men and women in search of the day’s freshest. Travelers will find just about everything inside this eclectic marketplace that’s ripe with all of the energy and excitement of Nha Trang City life.

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Cham Island (Cu Lao Cham)
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32 Tours and Activities

The Cham Islands are a group of 8 small islands of Quang Nam that make up the Cu Lao Cham Marine Park and that are a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

This island offers visitors sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and crystal-clear waters. Hikers will appreciate the scenic views from forested trail heads and basic amenities of tropical campsites. Scuba divers will find coral, tiger shrimp and mollusk unique to this region, while lucky birders can peep Salanganes -- made famous in the country's bird's nest soup -- these islands are known for.

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Hon Chong
28 Tours and Activities

Along the mountainous coastline north of Nha Trang, Hon Chong (Husband Rock) is made up of huge rock formations piled on top of each other that run from the land down into the sea. The views are what people come here for, with a fantastic landscape of rocks, beach, ocean, and neighboring islands to feast your eyes on. Around 300 meters south of Hon Chong lies the tiny Hon Do (Red Island), which features its own Buddhist temple. To the northeast is Hon Rua (Tortoise Island), so called because of its tortoise shape, while the two islands of Hon Yen (Bird’s Nest Island) lie out to the east. As the area is not particularly large and won’t take long to see, many visitors combine a trip here with a visit to the Po Nagar Cham Towers, which are around a five­-minute taxi ride away.

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Hoi An Handicraft Workshop
20 Tours and Activities

This 200-year-old Chinese trading house is a historic structure where contemporary travelers can bear witness ancient Vietnamese crafts. On-site artisans construct silk lanterns, practice traditional embroidery, throw terra cotta pottery and weave fabric. Guides explain techniques and offer insight into these traditional crafts. Visitors will find the prices fair and variety vast. Traditional shows are performed daily and these 45-minute events, which include music, dance and song, are worth sticking around for.

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Cua Dai Beach (Bien Cua Dai)
21 Tours and Activities

Cua Dai beach is a wide bay of palm-fringed coast 4km north-east of Hoi An. All glittering warm waters and white sand stretching for three kilometers, Cua Dai is a popular spot with both locals and travelers in the Quang Nam province. From Hoi An’s old town, Cua Dai Beach is a relaxing bike ride past rice paddies and Thu Bon riverbank. When you get to the water, you’ll see plenty of people enjoying jet-skiing, paragliding and kitesurfing.

Vietnamese for "big sea mouth," Cua Dai beach looks out to the Cham archipelago, and is home to some of Hoi An’s ritzier hotels like Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort. A popular late-night spot, Zero SeaMile beach club is particularly lively, especially at the weekend when it hosts its own beach parties. As Cua Dai Beach is part of the South China Sea, the waves don’t get too big, making it a good swimming spot that’s popular with local families, especially on weekends and local holidays.

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More Things to Do in Central Vietnam

National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam

National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam

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14 Tours and Activities

The National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam is located around five kilometers from Nha Trang’s city center in a grand old French-colonial building. It has a large collection of marine life and other items, including numerous jars of pickled specimens, stuffed birds and sea mammals, plus plenty of fishing related artefacts. The displays are arranged across two floors. The ground floor is home to various sized tanks housing countless varieties of marine life, including reef sharks, turtles, anemones, pufferfish, lionfish, clownfish, seahorses, and a whole array of colorful coral. Upstairs is where to find the exhibiting specimens, local boats, and various fishing articles, not to mention an 18-meter-long skeleton of a whale. Themed rooms chart the history, science, and technology associated with marine life, with exhibits focusing on things like algae and phytoplankton, as well as the history of fishing in Vietnam, plus natural disasters at sea and around the coast.

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Forbidden Purple City (Tu Cam Thanh)

Forbidden Purple City (Tu Cam Thanh)

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12 Tours and Activities

This royal structure, which sits at the center of Hue’s Imperial Enclosure, was once reserved for exclusive use by the emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. Only eunuchs passed through its halls, since even his most trusted servants weren’t allowed beyond the gates. Today, this historic citadel sits mostly in ruins, destroyed during several wars throughout the nation’s history.

Despite some recent rebuilding efforts, travelers can easily spend a long afternoon wandering paths that crisscross the grounds, exploring portions of the foundation, now overgrown with foliage, and examining the painting, woodwork and architecture that still remains. A 10 kilometer moat surrounds what was created to resemble the Forbidden City of Beijing, and 10 gates protect these once royal grounds.

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Noon Gate (Cua Ngo Mon)

Noon Gate (Cua Ngo Mon)

11 Tours and Activities
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Vinpearl Land Nha Trang

Vinpearl Land Nha Trang

9 Tours and Activities
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Non Nuoc Beach

Non Nuoc Beach

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Located on the coast about halfway between Danang and Hoi An sits Non Nuoc Beach, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam if not the world. With the Son Tra Peninsula to the north and the Marble Mountains to the west, this white sand expanse has transformed from a former fishing beach to a resort area lined by five star hotels and resorts.

While Non Nuoc Beach itself measures about 3 miles (5 kilometers) in length, the sand stretches for miles in either direction. That means the beach is rarely crowded, and with a short walk, it’s possible to have a stretch of sand all to yourself.

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Thai Hoa Palace

Thai Hoa Palace

9 Tours and Activities
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Nine Dynastic Urns

Nine Dynastic Urns

6 Tours and Activities
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Flag Tower (Ky Dai)

Flag Tower (Ky Dai)

5 Tours and Activities
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Thap Ba Hot Springs

Thap Ba Hot Springs

5 Tours and Activities
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Cantonese Assembly Hall (Hoi Quan Quang Dong)

Cantonese Assembly Hall (Hoi Quan Quang Dong)

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For centuries, assembly halls have been a place where migrant Chinese communities socialize and pass on the regional traditions of their home to future generations. With a population that’s over a quarter ethnic Chinese, Hoi An’s Cantonese Assembly Hall is one of five such hubs in town.

Founded in 1786, at the Cantonese Assembly Hall (Hoi Quen Quang Trieu), the colorful building materials you see today were first put together in China then shipped to Hoi An before being reassembled into the assembly hall, which has typical grand entrance gates that lead onto an ornamental garden, followed by a main hall and elaborate altar room.

Look out for the Cantonese Assembly Hall’s special flourishes, like the main altar dedicated to a red-faced Quan Cong, who symbolizes loyalty and righteousness. Also keep an eye out for the mosaic dragon statue by the entrance hall, and the even bigger dragon statue in the garden.

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