Vietnam

Where ancient and modern history meet


This ancient tradition is very important to the people living in Hoi An, Vietnam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our older boatman acted as if this was his first water trip, excited and proud as he ferried us in his blue battered wooden boat decorated with brightly colored lanterns.

Dating from the 15th to 19th centuries, this beautifully preserved former South Asian fishing port is magical.

Deluxe Club King

A mix of Chinese, Japanese and European influences, the town is made up of narrow streets filled with old wooden buildings, religious pagodas and beautifully carved monuments and bridges.

Brightly colored lanterns hang high above the streets, giving the town a warm glow. On the fourteenth day of the first lunar month, the day of the full moon, people hold festivals to celebrate with music, poetry and dance.

Twenty minutes away is Cam Thanh Coconut Village, surrounded by 4 waterways and lush palm groves, where you can hop on a colorful coconut-shaped boat and float down the Thu Bon and De Vong rivers.

Along the coastline, you will pass through the ancient to modern and glorious former French colonial port of Da Nang. It has beautiful white sand beaches and is a sanctuary for upscale beachfront hotels.

French multinational hotel company Accor owns two wonderful and distinct resorts side by side on the expansive My Khe Beach.

Ha Long Bay.Image credit: Christian Berg

Premier Village Danang is nothing short of heaven. Standalone villas with garden or beach views and access to private pools are the way to go for a relaxing stay. Accommodation in this home is tailored to suit your needs, with spacious modern living spaces, fully equipped kitchens and beautiful gardens. The on-site restaurant serves a delicious breakfast of local and international dishes, a seafood buffet, the beach club where you can enjoy snacks while admiring the view, or for the more adventurous, in-villa dining by A private chef prepares the most delicious dishes of delicious meat and seafood, all served by attentive waiters.

The resort is spotless, the staff eager to help and there is a well priced spa where you can relax with a massage and an intensive herbal shampoo. The hotel also offers a gym, bicycle rental and a kids’ club.

Next door is the equally luxurious 5-star Pullman Beach Resort, with superb family connecting rooms, meaning my teenage children, Lou Reed and Flossie, can enjoy independent lives. Spacious with comfortable beds and chairs, and all the mod cons you need. There are also two luxury villas to choose from.

Ho Chi Minh City skyline.Photo Credit: Aaron Joel Santos

The hotel, like the Premier Village, is beautifully maintained, with a lovely butterfly garden and delightful dragonfly water features from the rooms. The pool and spa are just inches from the beach, and guests can enjoy water sports like surfing and paddle boarding.

Guests can take part in Vietnamese cooking classes, which are fun and give you the chance to cook up some authentic meals under the guidance of a trained chef, from delicious pork spring rolls to seafood pancakes. Once cooked, it’s time to eat!

Da Nang itself is a great base for sightseeing, with boat cruises for views of the impressive Golden Dragon Bridge, which spews fire and water every weekend, and trips to Ba Na Hills (front hill station and French resort) with a history dating back to 1919. It’s high up, accessible only by cable car, and is now an upscale theme park.

It is best known for the impressive 150-meter-long Golden Bridge, supported by two massive stone hands, which connects the cable car to the gardens. There are religious pagodas, old French buildings and playgrounds next to the park, which is very suitable for going out and playing.

Hoi An Ancient Town.Image credit: Christian Berg

Getting around Vietnam is easy with domestic flights such as buses, where a 90-minute flight takes you to the former capital, Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, from which Ho Chi Minh City is named, a mix of the hustle and atmosphere of a big city.

Our base at Accor’s Sofitel Saigon Plaza embodies Vietnam’s six decades of French colonial history. This tranquil hotel exudes luxury, from the well-appointed rooms to the large windows that offer views across the city, especially at night when it is lit up, to the delicious food served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The rooftop pool is ideal for a dip.

The hotel is also infused with Vietnamese culture, with furniture and lantern lighting reflecting tradition. Club and suite users also have exclusive access to a private lounge, where beverages and snacks are provided free of charge throughout the day. If you have an early flight, the ibis Saigon Airport hotel by AccorHotels is the ideal place to stay. With its coolly decorated rooms, buffet breakfast and swimming pool, the hotel is just a stone’s throw from the starting point.

Saigon is a busy city that never stops, and the observation deck on the 49th floor of Bitexco Tower is a great place to enjoy the view of Saigon, your eyes will be caught by the traffic, thousands of motorcycles gliding effortlessly beside the honking cars. The City Sightseeing Bus is also an ideal way to get around, taking you to all the major history museums, war museums and art museums, as well as the city zoo and botanical gardens.

Vietnamese food in Nha Trang.Image credit: Christian Berg

The more laid-back Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, also has a lot of color and is a city not to be missed. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has centuries-old ancient buildings, deeply influenced by South Asian culture, Chinese and French culture, and the chaotic old quarter is your place to stay. Opened at the turn of the 20th century, this beautiful old building has beautifully appointed large bedrooms, fine Vietnamese and French restaurants offering great service and food, a heated outdoor pool and has hosted guests from actor Charlie Chaplin to author Gray Humm and many other famous guests Green. It also produces the best egg coffee in Vietnam.

Hanoi is packed with interesting museums, temples and the infamous “Train Street,” where sleeper trains run along narrow tracks, inches from homes and cafes. Even though you know it’s safe, you still breathe!

A popular day trip is to UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, known for its turquoise waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped with rainforest. The best way to enjoy it is by boat, and Indochina Sailing offers day trips to Ramuse as well as longer overnight stays.

Well informed guides provided us with all the important facts and figures and we not only enjoyed visiting the offshore caves, paddling in the sea and enjoying a delicious seafood lunch, but also the sheer beauty of the bay. The sea is just one part of Vietnam’s fascinating beauty.

Hoan Kiem Lake.Photo Credit: Aaron Joel Santos

stay:

Sofitel Saigon Plaza.com

Pullman-danang.com

Premier-village-danang.com

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.com

all.accor.com/hotel/9468/index.en.shtml

Attractions:

Centralvietnamguide.com/hoi-an-coconut-village

bitexcofinancialtower.com

City Sightseeing Network

getyourguide.com

reach there:

All major UK airports have flights to Vietnam

Holidayextras.com offers airport parking, lounges and transfers

Travel Information:

Vietnam Travel Network



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