Bac Trung Bo, or the North Central Coast, is made up of six provinces: Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Huế.
The North Central Coast is mostly rural countryside, and is a far cry from the steel and concrete giants of Vietnam’s fast-growing cities, with attractions solely developed for tourism. From Ninh Binh up north to the Demilitarized Zone in the south, the North Central Coast Region is 300 kilometres of rolling pastures.
The region is a popular area to drive through on the way to cross over the Laos.
Quang Binh, formerly named Tien Binh, is a province on the North Central Coast. It has several protected areas, one of which, the Phong Nha-ke Bang National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The park protects a limestone ecosystem covering karst hills, valleys, rivers, underground streams, tunnels and caves. It shelters Annamese and Black Leaf monkeys, endangered red-shanked douc, chestnut-necklaced partridge, red-collared woodpecker, and other very rare species of animals and birds.
The Phong Nha Cave features amazing stalagmites. The cave has been used as a place of refuge for centuries. Buddhist altars can be found inside, as well as ammunition storage space, evidence of the Vietnamese-American War.