First trip to Vietnam, we so loved chaotic Hanoi and our junk boat overnight trip to Halong Bay. This visit I joined hubby’s golf trip to Da Nang. We stayed at the fabulous 5 star Pullman Danang Beach Resort, 15 mins from Danang airport. It’s set amongst lush vegetation and the most stunning white sandy beach. Service and food is fantastic. The buffet breakfast stations are amazing, let alone the various coffees you can order, and you must try their liquid nitrogen icecream and cocktails. I’m still dreaming about their food.
We ventured to Hoi An by taxi for dinner on a Saturday afternoon. Hoi An has been influenced by the Dutch, Indians, French, Thai and Portuguese and is steeped in history with lots of culture, great food and colourful, well-preserved, architecture. It is gorgeous by day and transforms into a stunning, magical place at night. The beautiful, different types of silk lanterns and illuminated art in the river is amazing. No wonder it’s deemed the City of Lights in Asia.
The main tourist street of the ancient town has many attractions to visit. We purchased vouchers for the Assembly halls, Phong Huang old house and the Japanese covered bridge. We then ate at the highly recommended Morning Glory restaurant at 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc Sth. The two story restaurant is gorgeous, set in an old house with a central kitchen on the ground floor. Number 2 Morning Glory is more contemporary and directly opposite. Service was a little brusque and food was nice but not great. I guess we are very spoilt in Wellington, as we have some amazing Vietnamese restaurants who consistently provide authentic, delicious food and great service.
There are many fab looking restaurants along this main street in Hoi An and lots of great coffee places especially Hoi An roasters. We just had to buy some Kopi Luwak coffee; the most expensive coffee in the world, made famous when featured in “The Bucket List” movie with Jack Nicholson. Tick. We finished with a lovely walk along the river just breathing in the stunning colour and lights.
Hubby and I explored Danang beach early morning on foot. We were blown away by the swarms of early risers either swimming, exercising, communal showering, working or hanging out at cafes. The Vietnamese are very European; as in social with a much-needed coffee fix.
There are numerous international hotels under construction along the beachfront, so that will definitely attract more visitors. I highly recommend eat at Thung Phi BBQ, which I found on tripadvisor. We had so much fun eating in a colourful lit courtyard and we loved cooking our own bbq. Our spinach and garlic dish was divine. Service was fab. Lan Vien was another lovely garden restaurant near the Pullman, with an inside setting within a gorgeous old house.
Another night we went downtown to Danang city and the whole city is illuminated and very pretty. But be warned as it’s set on the river, and you’re on foot, you may see some large furry creatures scuttle alongside you on the street. Ugh, river rats are not really my thing. I had an epic fail that night with choosing a restaurant as so many got bad reviews but we just laughed and it made us appreciate our other good meals we did have.
Mid week we took a group day tour to Hue which was 3 hours there and 2.5 hours back via the tunnels and it was well worth it. The countryside was lovely and we visited the Pagoda at the end of a dragon boat ride. We visited the Citadel which was really lovely and then the King’s tomb out in the country, on our way home.
Make sure you fit in enough time to have a few full body or reflexology massages, as they are divine and help you sleep. We visited a place right across the road from the Pullman. It wasn’t fancy but clean enough (we think) and of course very affordable. The young girls and guys that work there are amazingly strong and mostly don’t speak English so you have a lot of fun at the same time. Unfortunately tipping has become the norm now everywhere you go, despite if you read that it’s not. But hey it doesn’t hurt as Vietnam is not expensive and worth it when you get a bargain or good service.
We still have Ho Chi Min to check off our list so Vietnam has not seen the last of us. Cam on ban Vietnam, you are beautiful.