The Central Coast

1. Dong Ha and The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) From 1954 until the defeat of the Americans in 1975, the Ben Hai river divided Viet nam into two parts. This area suffered heaviest fighting during the Viet nam War. Some areas, such as Khe Sanh combat base, Rockpile, LangVay special forces, Hamburger hill still recall thousands Vietnamese soldiers as well as American GI. The highway 9 connects Dong Ha to Khe Sanh and Lao Bao was rebuilt in 1999. At Dakrong district you can enjoy walking over Dakrong bridge to the BruVanKieu tribes near by, the road between Dakrong bridge to Hambuger hill and A Luoi district used to be one branch of HoChiMinh trail. HCM trail becomes HoChiMinh highway. 2. The Ho Chi Minh Trail Ho Chi Minh Trail was the artery of life feeding the Viet Cong fighting in the South with much needed food, ammunition, weapons and medicine. Parts of the trail existed before the war but it was extended to massive proportions Originally only porters on foot and bicycles were used, but in the later stage of the war, the trail virtually became a highway facilitating massive truck traffic. The trail that became known as Hanoi’s road to victory, stretched 16,000 km in total and consisted of main roads, smaller arteries and numerous detours. It was all extremely well camouflaged and always in a constant fury of development with new construction and rebuilding of sections that had been damaged. The trail not only ran through Vietnam but extended into Laos and Cambodia to avoid American bombing. The US forces only managed to inconsistently destroy parts of the trail, however they never successfully cut the supply trail even after the constant defoliation of the area and extensive bombing using infra red detection dives and laser guided systems. 3. Hue Hue, the old capital of 13 generations under Nguyen Dynasty from King Gia Long (1802) to King Bao Dai (1945). It is recognized a World Cultural Heritage on Dec 11th 1993 The Imperial Citadel, on the bank of the Perfume River, facing the colonial quarters, was built as a copy of the Beijing Forbidden City. It has been damaged during the Tet offensive in 1968. However, still remaining are : the impressive Noon Gate, Supreme Harmony Palace resting on 80 red and gold columns, and Mieu Temple which contains the funeral tablets from the Nguyen Dynasty. Thien Mu Pagoda (Celestial Lady) is a 17th century octagonal pagoda risen above the Perfume River. It’s reached by a sampan cruise on the Perfume River. The Imperial tombs are located in the South of the city. Built in the style of the Minh tombs, they are perfectly integrated into a scenery of gardens and water plans. The most beautiful ones are those of Tu Duc, Minh Mang and Khai Dinh. 4. Da Nang An important port of Vietnam (800,000 inhabitants), is an active and dynamic city. This city has a Cham Sculpture museum with a unique collection of this shining civilization (8th-12th century). Danang has many famous tourist sites in its surroundings such as Hoi An Ancient town, My Son Cham ruins, Bana hill station, Marble mountain and the unspoiled Non Nuoc beach. Sail boat, windsurfing, kayak, scuba diving are available in the nice Furama Resort. 5. Hoi An Ancient Town The charming and well-preserved city of Hoi An is a nice blend of Western and Asian architecture from the prosperous era of this former commercial seaport (during 17th, 18th, 19th century). Several classic houses remain intact and the place retains the feel of centuries past. 6. Nha Trang A short daytrip from from Ho Chi Minh City or DaLat takes you to the turquoise waters and sandy white beaches of Nha Trang. The sea provides a welcome respite from the glare of sand and sun. The water is clear and blue, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The beach stretches for miles, empty but for the long row of palm trees. Here, you can chase small crabs, or collect colorful seashells. The well known remains in Nha Trang is Ponagar Cham towers which was built from the 8th to 12th century. Besides, you will enjoy the scenic spots at Hon Chong promontory, Long Son pagoda or discover NhaTrang’s history at Yersin Museum and the Oceanographic Institute. 7. Phan Rang Consider as the desert area of Viet nam. The main site in Phan Rang is several Hindu Cham temples on the hills around the town. The Poklong Garai Cham temples 5km from town is worth for a break. 8. Phan Thiet Sit by the pool of a nice resort, walk on the spectacular sand dunes of Mui Ne Peninsula, plunge in the crystal-blue waters, watch the sun rise..: the remote fishing village of Phan Thiet is a relaxing stop over for visitors at a 4-hour drive from Sai gon. The beach is owned by coconut palms,while beyond stretches the desert – waves of yellow sand, rolling out to the horizon. Here and there some hardy farmers have dug ditches in a brave attempt to keep the sand from encroaching on their fields, where the only crop able to survive the heart is dragon fruit. Studded with brilliant pink fruit, these gnarled cacti rise from the arid soil like fever dreams. Standing by the water’s edge and looking up at the desert beyond, you might imagine yourself in the Middle East or Africa. The dune shimmer with heat, so that you can almost convince yourself that distant shadows are caravans of camels, laden with spices or silk.

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