Travelling to Vietnam and have just a few days to explore Hoi An and beachside Da nang? Here's what we did and what we recommend!
Where to stay
Vietnam is experiencing a huge tourism boom right now, with jetsetters looking at the country’s beachside areas like Da nang for their summer getaway. Located just a 25-minute drive from UNESCO World Heritage site Hoi An Ancient Town, the beach strip is booming with luxury resorts, including the five-star Sheraton Grand Danang Resort.
With 258 rooms and the longest infinity pool in Vietnam, the sheer size and opulence of the resort will make your jaw drop at first sight, it definitely did for me. The walk from reception to where I stayed is so long that I was driven there in a golf car with my refreshing welcome drink still in hand, naturally.
Brand new, having opened in January 2018, each room features the comfortable Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience bed (best sleep ever) and some even have their own private plunge pool on the balcony. Just steps away from the 250-metre pool is Non Nguoc Beach, with a secluded stretch of soft sand and warm water.
After a day of lounging by the pool or exploring the surrounds, indulging in the Shina Spa is a must. I was treated to the signature Shine massage where the masseuse uses a candle melted into an oil of lavender and mandarin. Pure bliss.
The resort itself has six restaurants, and there are so many options you don’t even need to leave for any of the days meals.
What to see
The Golden Bridge has become an Instagrammers delight since it opened in June 2018, and it’s not hard to see why. Set almost 1500 metres above sea level in Ba Na Hills, you need to travel by one of the world’s longest cable cars to get there, which gives you incredible views of the lush green mountains and trickling waterfalls.
After walking the bridge and fighting the crowds for your Instagram snap, make your way to the next cable car stop which will transport you to a replica of a pretty French village, complete with quaint bakeries, cobblestone streets and European buildings.
As much as Hoi An is great for shopping (more on this below), you can't visit the town without doing a guided walking tour to learn about the history of Hoi An and everything it involves. From the Cham culture to Chinese temples that line the streets, a tour from a knowledgable local is a must.
Stick around until the sun sets to see Hoi An light up with colourful lanterns. It's a truly magical sight.
What to do
Taking a culinary class whilst on vacation is the souvenir that keeps on giving and with guidance from La Plage’s Executive Chef Warwick Thomas, this novice cook was mastering a pomelo salad with freshly caught prawns and banh xeo (crispy Vietnamese pancakes). Tasting our meals in the beach club with stunning views of the ocean just topped it off, ordering from my local Vietnamese takeaway will never be the same.
What to drink
You can’t go to Vietnam and not have a Vietnamese coffee, and they’re not hard to come by, with cafes lining the streets. Sheraton Grand Danang Resort’s Table 88 even does a coconut cappuccino, served in a coconut shell!
Where to shop
Explore Hoi An
Hoi An is the place to go for custom-made clothing in Vietnam. From silk dresses to wool suits, the hundreds of tailors located within the town can whip up quality, made-to-measure pieces within a day or two for just the fraction of the price you’d pay at home.
Yaly Couture was just one of the highly recommended. Leather shoe and bag shops also line the town’s streets, and one shop I wandered into was able to create two pairs of sandals within two hours for approx. $30 each. They will even deliver them to your resort if you want to head back and relax by the pool whilst your custom designs are created.
Vietnam Airlines travels to Ho Chi Minh City with connecting flights to Da nang. A visa is required to enter the country. Visit your state’s Vietnamese embassy for info. Check with your doctor about travel vaccinations.