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A Journey Through Vietnam

By Hayley Groves

Travel Consultant

Posted: 04 November 2014
Street vendor in Hanoi

Street vendor in Hanoi

Street vendor in Hanoi Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi: French Restaurant Le Beaulieu Six Senses Con Dao Saigon Saigon Bar at Caravelle Hotel Six Senses Ninh Van Bay: Bai Nho Hiking Old French Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Hayley took a one-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh Airport, followed by a fifteen-minute drive, before arriving at Six Senses Con Dao located in the virtually undeveloped Con Dao Islands, off Vietnam’s southern coast which she says is a stunning design property and unmistakably Six Senses. With tiered Oceanfront or Duplex Villas – stylishly contemporary with acres of wood, floor-to-ceiling glass doors, a large pool and butler service, stunning vistas of untouched sandy beach and turquoise ocean waters, and lots of Vietnamese charm, this is an impeccable resort. The cleverly incorporated Vietnamese Village offers an authentic charm, the highlight of which for Hayley was the Chef’s Table Dinner – a traditional shared dining experience. Delicious local cuisine, garden produce and traditional crafts offer guests something quite unique. The many day-beds, elegant bar area and fantastic spa, are just a few more of the perfect places to relax. For the more adventurous Hayley recommends jungle-trekking in the forested hills where nature lovers can look for monkeys, snorkel in the extensive coral reefs nearby, go in search of nesting turtles (seasonal), or perhaps enjoy a cooking class. If you wish to explore a little of the local culture there are island tours to a local fishing village, a Buddhist Temple, markets or the infamous old prison buildings from the French Colonial era.

Following her stay at Con Dao, Hayley returned to Ho Chi Minh City and stayed at Caravelle Hotel where there are excellent Club Floor Rooms, a fantastic choice of restaurants and lots of places of interest to visit. Choose from landmarks such as Reunification Palace, the War Museum and, if you like to shop, there are more markets that are perfect for finding souvenirs. Beyond the city, the famous underground Cu Chi Tunnels, used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, are well worth a visit.

From Ho Chi Minh City Hayley flew to the popular coastal town of Nha Trang – an area known for water sports, scuba-diving, the Long Son Pagoda, Cham Temple Towers and historic Cham architecture – before transferring by boat to Six Senses Ninh Van Bay. Residences here are spread across a vast crescent of soft white sand that edges a superb sheltered bay. Rustic in style and simply furnished with lovely open bathrooms, villa accommodation ranges from Rock Villas located on the water’s edge, Water Villas situated at either end of the beach and Hill Top Residences that are perfect for those seeking ultimate privacy and amazing views. Buggies are on standby to whisk guests to the central dining areas if they don’t wish to walk – although Hayley says that this can certainly work up an appetite! The beaches are secluded and there is no other boat traffic, so it’s safe for families. The surrounding mountainous scenery is stunning and she suggests taking a boat to Nha Trang with its Balinese sculptures and Marble Mountains – that’s when you’re tired of snorkelling off the beach, visiting the organic gardens or the wonderful spa of course! Hayley also highly recommends the Vietnamese Cup Massage  and we're reliably informed that it doesn’t leave any marks!

From this beach haven, Hayley journeyed on to yet another historic and cultural gem, the capital city, Hanoi, and the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi where guests can relish the splendour of the Opera Wing. The lobby alone provides a stunning welcome with period tiles and sparkling crystal, while large, comfortable rooms have a stylish Art Deco edge to their design. Perhaps most original of all is the hotel’s historic tour which takes in its recently discovered bomb shelter and pre-booking this utterly unique experience (open to resident guests only) is a good idea. Beyond the hotel, guests can easily walk to the Old French Quarter or to the lake, taking in the traditional Vietnamese style of this bustling city.

At the end of her tour, Hayley was fortunate to experience a two-night cruise from Hanoi to Halong Bay on board Au Co – a ‘must’ excursion to enjoy the still waters, stunning limestone karsts and floating villages, along with the refreshing breeze on the traditional wooden decks, deliciously fresh cuisine and spacious Deluxe Cabins. She found this a great way to round off her Vietnam adventure and to reflect on all her wonderful experiences.

About Hayley

During my time at Elegant Resorts I have travelled extensively and have specialised in Africa, Asia and Australasia. As well as beach holidays, I love organising the more adventurous holidays, such as safaris and Far East touring.

Read More About Hayley

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