The Central Coast is likened by the Vietnamese to the bamboo pole connecting the baskets of North and South. The Truong Son Mountains, which stretch all the way to the coast between Hue and Danang, have traditionally divided the country in two in terms of weather and dialect, although the actual demarcation line during the Vietnam War was slightly higher up at the 17th parallel to the north of Hue.
Bac Trung Bo (literally North Central Region, and often translated as North Central Coast) consists of six provinces including Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue. The last two provinces were the northernmost provinces of South Vietnam until 1975.
South Central Coast (Vietnamese: Nam Trung Bo) consists of the independent municipality of Da Nang and seven other provinces. The two southern provinces Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan are sometimes seen as part of the Southeast region. The Paracel Islands (Hoang Sa District), and Spratly Islands (Truong Sa District), are also part of this region.
The region has traditionally been one of the main gateways to neighbouring Central Highlands. It has a complex geography with mountain ranges extending up to the coast, making transport and infrastructure development challenging but favouring tourism in some places, most notable around Phan Thiet, Nha Trang, and Da Nang.
Tourism also benefits from Cham cultural heritage, including architecture, performances, and museums. It is generally much less industrialized and developed than the region around Ho Chi Minh City or the Red River Delta, but it has some regional industrial centers in Da Nang, around Nha Trang and Quy Nhon.