Happy Valentine’s Day in advance! In the spirit of love, here’s a post on our trip to Vietnam a couple of years ago, which turned out to be a short and sweet romantic holiday. We spent four days in Central Vietnam, visiting Hoi An and Danang. It was our first visit to Vietnam and other than the hot weather (nearly 40⁰C!), I really enjoyed our time there.
Hoi An is a quaint historical town and a UNESCO Heritage Site. The main attraction is the old town, which is small enough to explore on foot. On the day that we arrived, we ventured into the old town during mid-afternoon but quickly realized our mistake. There was hardly anyone around and after just a couple of minutes, it dawned on us that it’s way too hot to be walking around.
We persevered and managed to see a few sights, such as the Tran Family Chapel (same surname as hubby, so it was on our to-see list), Tan Ky House and the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation. These were well preserved heritage buildings, with Oriental architecture and specifically, heavy Chinese influence. While none of them blew us away given our Asian heritage, it was still worth a visit given how well the buildings have been preserved.
We somehow managed to survive until the evening when the town came to life. We timed our visit to coincide with the Full Moon Lantern Festival which takes place on the 14th day of each lunar month. There was a festive atmosphere, especially near the Japanese covered bridge and along the river. During the evening of the festival, the old town is lit up with colourful lanterns, making it beautiful and romantic. There were rows of stalls selling lanterns, souvenirs, toys, local snacks, etc. Lanterns were released into the river, resulting in multi-coloured floating lights. Even though it was fairly crowded, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
During our second day, we had learnt our lesson and ended up spending most of the day in a spa. We found Palmarosa Spa through tripadvisor and it lived up to the good reviews. So if you enjoy massages, I’d recommend dropping by Palmarosa. Another highlight of our trip was the food, which was fresh, tasty and good value. Due to its popularity with tourists, there are quite a few restaurants to choose from in the old town. My favourite was Morning Glory restaurant, which served fantastic central Vietnamese dishes and street food in a cozy environment. Be sure to request for a table on the balcony so that you can still enjoy the festivities down below.
Our trip to Hoi An was complemented by a stay in Danang, a seaside city which used to be one of the major air base for the US during the Vietnam War. Luckily, the beaches around the city were not tainted by the war and instead, have been developed into beach resorts. We did not spend any time in the city at all and instead, just relaxed by the beach.
We stayed in the Pullman Danang which was beautiful and serene. The hotel has its own private beach, with direct access from the pool to the beach. The beach was beautiful, with white, fine sand and so, we spent all our time lounging on the beach and gazing out to the sea. There was a bar on the beach which was perfect for sipping cocktails while enjoying the view, especially during sunset.
So if you’re looking for a romantic holiday in Asia which is also affordable, definitely consider Hoi An and Danang.