Things to Do in Central Vietnam - page 2
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.
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.
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.
Hoi An is a popular spot for Vietnamese cooking classes, and Red Bridge Cooking School offers three different courses.
The most popular option is the half-day class: you’ll start off with a trip to Hoi An’s lively Central Market with your chef and teacher, who will give tips on how to pick the best herbs and ingredients. Then it’s time for a 4km boat ride along the Thu Bon river to the open-air Red Bridge Cooking School. Complimentary drinks and snacks are on-hand as you take your two-hour lesson and learn how to prepare local dishes. Ever wanted to learn how to make your own rose tomato? Here’s your chance. You’ll learn the art of Vietnamese plate decoration and food carving before sitting down to enjoy the meal you just created.
There is also a full-day deluxe cooking class: prepare dishes like beef pho and clay pot fish with dill (Cha Ca) as part of a four-course menu that you’ll learn to create over three hours of cooking.
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.
More Things to Do in Central Vietnam
Tourists flock both day and night to this small bridge at the center of Hoi An, known as the Japanese Covered Bridge (Chua Cau), because of its picturesque beauty. As a result, attempting to cross the 12-meter structure will likely be faced with a labyrinth of kissing couples posing for photographs and backpackers loitering in its cool shade. Still detailed Japanese carvings, as well as monkey and dog statues—a nod to the years its construction began and finished—are worth the congestion and guaranteed headache of a trip to this Hoi An landmark.
Famous for its giant statue of Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, Linh Ung Pagoda occupies 30 acres (12 hectares) on a hill on the Son Tra Peninsula. Opened in 2010, the relatively new pagoda complex features a mix of modern and traditional Vietnamese temple architecture, including a typical three-entrance gate.
According to local legend, a smaller pagoda was built on the same site during the nineteenth century, when a local villager living on the peninsula found a statue of the Buddha drifting near the beach.
As visitors pass through the main gate of the pagoda, they are met by 18 stone statues of the 18 Arhats, believed to be the original followers of the Buddha, whose expressions run the gamut from joy and love to anger and sadness. Towering above the grounds is the 220-foot (67-meter) Guanyin statue. Within the giant monument, visitors can ascend 17 floors, each displaying Buddha statues depicting his various aspects.
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.
An open-air colonial building in Da Nang is home to the largest collection of Cham carvings in the world. The Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture opened its first gallery in 1919, and in the decades since, the collection has grown to include more than 300 pieces. Many of these terra cotta, sandstone and bronze sculptures and artifacts depict Hindu deities, as well as linga and yoni. Among the museum’s most important items are the sandstone pieces — statues of gods and animals, pedestals and other decorative items taken from Cham temples. The museum also has an exhibit on modern Cham culture, which includes photographs, clothing and film clips.
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.
- Things to do in Hoi An
- Things to do in Hue
- Things to do in Nha Trang
- Things to do in My Son
- Things to do in Da Nang
- Things to do in Southern Vietnam
- Things to do in South Coast
- Things to do in Guangxi
- Things to do in Sanya
- Things to do in Siem Reap
- Things to do in Angkor Wat
- Things to do in Gulf of Thailand
- Things to do in Southern China
- Things to do in Northern Thailand
- Things to do in Southern Thailand and Andaman Coast