As the trip progressed strangers became friends. Particularly special was the effortlessness: perfect logistics, never having to worry about anything, and, of course, the charming and thoughtful way you organised everything.
Hoi An & Danang
From the 1600s to the 1800s, Hoi An was a major trading outpost known as Faifo. However, when the river silted up and the harbor became too shallow, trade moved north to Da Nang - and Hoi An lost its significance. Today, this cosmopolitan heritage is reflected in its mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese influences. Because of its rich blend of aesthetics, the entire old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Our General Manager Victoria Hilley lived in Hanoi for a year, where she enjoyed motorbiking through the villages & rice terraces of Vietnam's mountainous north.
Take a cooking class at Brother’s Cafe and feast on your creations for dinner. This grand, U-shaped colonial building by the Thu Bon River is a window into a bygone era, with its gourmet Vietnamese cuisine and romantic garden courtyard.
Explore the abandoned Hindu temples of My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples were constructed by the Champa kings between the 4th and the 14th century A.D. and are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva. Beyond the beauty of the temples themselves, My Son area is home to rich scents emanating from neighboring coffee plantations and the sound of freshwater streams running through the tropical forest. Learn aout the sculptural details here that are specific to Cham design, as well as about the history of this period.
Take a private boat to the nearby Cham Islands. These islands are a quiet little fishing area populated by ethnic Cham people, an Austro-Asiatic group that fought the north Vietnamese for this territory for centuries. The islands are famed for salanganes, swallows whose nests have long been considered a delicacy by aristocrats and the wealthy. The islands are also a fine place to go snorkeling, as its waters are filled with all the manner of coral reefs and dazzling tropical fish.
Thu Bon River Cruise
Take a day trip along the Thu Bon River on a private river boat. Pass through Hoi An and take in the fishing villages and local markets along the riverbank before continuing upriver, where you will be immersed in the sights and sounds of sleepy, rural Vietnam.
Hoi An is one of the best places in Vietnam for bespoke clothing. Visit one of the finest tailor shops in Hoi An and choose from a variety of fabric swatches (linen, silk, cashmere wool, etc) and have your measurements taken for traditional garments, such as an ao dai, a form-fitting, traditional Vietnamese woman’s outfit composed of long silk pants and a long-sleeved top, or place an order for a Western suit or dress.
The pristine, white sands of China Beach are famed for having been a favored rest and relaxation spot for American soldiers during the Vietnam War.
Cycling Tour of Old City
Explore the notable buildings of Hoi An on two wheels. Notable sites include the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Old House of Phung Hung, and the Sa Huynh Culture Museum.
Danang Dragon Bridge
Crossing the Han river, which divides Danang’s downtown from the beachfront, is a six-lane bridge decorated with a vast, snake-like dragon. An impressive sight by day, the real action takes place at night when the serpent is lit up by more than 2,000 LEDs. On Saturdays and Sundays at 9pm, onlookers flock to the riverbank, or vantage points in the surrounding hotels, to watch as the dragon’s huge mechanical mouth opens to breathe fire, before spraying the crowd with jets of water.
Ba Na Hills
Once a hill resort favored by the French for its lush mountain scenery and cooler climate, Ba Na is still beautiful - though many of the colonial villas are in ruins. While the French elite were once carried up in sedan chairs, these days the summit is accessed by a three and a half mile cable car ride - considered one of the best in the world. At the top is a charming replica of a French town, a funicular railway that ascends even higher, and a downhill luge. Hiking trails lead off into the surrounding countryside, revealing waterfalls, a pagoda and a giant seated Buddha.
South of Danang, a cluster of five marble and limestone mountains are named for the five elements: water, air, wood, fire, earth. Riven with caves and grottoes, and cut with winding mountain paths and steps, the hills are well-worth exploring for the many Hindu and Buddhist sanctuaries and pagodas - not to mention stunning views of Danang and the coast.
Not to be confused with Monkey Mountain in Nepal, Son Tra (as it is known locally) is a scenic national park to the south of Danang, which sits at an elevation of nearly 2300 feet. The peninsula below is fringed with beaches and the views from the summit take in Hải Vân Mountain Pass, Cham Island and Da Nang City. A popular attraction within the mountainous scenery is the 23-foot tall statue of the goddess of mercy – the tallest sculpture of this deity in southeast Asia.
Danang Museum of Cham Sculpture
In Danang’s Hải Châu District near the Han River, the world’s largest collection of Cham artefacts is displayed in a charming museum. Housed in colonial French buildings, visitors can see original items from Vietnam’s indigenous people - from altars and lingas, to garudas and apsaras, to images of the Hindu gods - from Ganesha and Shiva, to Brahma and Vishnu. The collections date back as far as the fifth century and there are also regular exhibitions on modern Cham culture.
Experience the best of Vietnam on this 12-day luxury journey that traces the country’s stunning coastline to its most popular destinations. You’ll take a walking tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, cruise the UNESCO-listed limestone karsts of Halong Bay aboard a private junk, and see the famous Cu Chi tunnels in Saigon.
Delve into the taste sensations of fresh Vietnamese cuisine on this sensually-stimulating 14-day trip. You’ll learn cooking secrets from a top chef, dine on freshly-caught seafood in Mui Ne, sample local favorites from fresh markets, and dine at some of Saigon’s top restaurants, while staying in Vietnam’s best hotels.
French-Asian fusion is a rare cultural find but comes to life in charming Dalat. Be a coffee connoisseur as you sample what has been named the world’s best coffee. This 8-day luxurious Vietnam vacation takes you through both historical fortresses and stunning natural sites such as the Dray Nur Waterfalls and Dray Sap.
Take an exhilarating 15-day luxury bike journey through Vietnam’s beautiful countryside and along its stunning coastline. You’ll travel up the coast from Saigon, stopping along the way for private boat trips, sightseeing, shopping at local markets, and to rest your head in some of the country’s most luxury hotels.
Explore Vietnam’s South and Central region on this thrilling 12-day luxury journey. You’ll sample fresh and delicious Vietnamese cuisine, visit ancient, UNESCO-listed sites, take a cruise on the mighty Mekong Delta, and you’ll even get some time to relax beachside at the luxurious Six Senses Con Dao.
Stretching along the white sands of China Beach are Four Seasons Resort the Nam Hai's villas and hotel, with unspoiled views of the South China Sea and the Cham Islands. There are 60 one-bedroom villas, and 40 pool villas with courtyard entrances and private pools. High ceilings and hardwood floors are complemented with lavish hues of brown and gray and softly draping canopies over four-poster beds. The Nam Hai Spa is set around a lagoon just off the beach, where you can have a customized spa treatment. Each of the eight private spa villas has an individual steam room. The gym is equipped with state-of-the-art treadmills and ellipticals. There are three pools on plateaus that lower away from the pool house and flow towards the beach, and the lowest disappears into the horizon that leads in to the South China Sea. The business center has up-to-the-minute audio/visual equipment, and there is wi-fi in each of the rooms. The property is located 30 minutes from Da Nang International Airport (DAD).
Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort
The stunning Son Tra peninsula, the setting of numerous mythical and legendary stories, is home to the Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort - set into the lush, verdant hillside before sweeping down to the sandy shore. Just ten minutes from Danang, and within a short drive to Hoi An, the hotel provides the perfect luxurious base from which to explore the region’s cultural gems; not to mention shuttle services to Hoi An and expert staff offering only the best recommendations. For those who prefer to simply relax in exquisite surroundings, the world-class suites, villas and penthouses provide the ultimate retreat, amid impeccably-designed interiors from the mind of world-famous architect, Bill Bensley. A range of delectable cuisine and drinks is offered throughout the hotel’s bars and restaurants and the facilities include two pools, a private beach, the HARNN Heritage Spa and a superb kids’ club.