When I started researching holiday destinations for our Southeast Asia roundtrip, I almost gave up. Long transfer times, rainy season, dirty beaches and super-expensive hotels. The closer I looked, the more difficult it was to find the right place for a beach holiday between Singapore and Hong Kong in April. Luckily I stumbled across Da Nang in central Vietnam which turned out to have everything I was looking for – find out why!
TRIP PLANNING: LOOKING FOR A BEACH DESTINATION BETWEEN SINGAPORE AND HONG KONG
There are plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from in Southeast Asia, right? Shouldn’t be too hard to find a nice place to stay between Singapore and Hong Kong. At least that’s what I thought, until I started my research.
I was looking for …
- an easy to reach destination with direct flight connections to Singapore and Hong Kong.
- delicious Asian food.
- beautiful beaches and a nice hotel with a pool.
- sunshine – no rainy season please!
MORE DIFFICULT THAN I EXPECTED
How about the Philippines? Well… the beautiful beaches are really difficult to reach and getting there costs a lot of time.
Langkawi? Nope – no direct flight to Hong Kong. Apart from that, hotel prices are really expensive for Malaysian standards and don’t seem to offer good value for money.
Phuket? Well… It definitely is easy to reach and offers hotels in all categories. I really did like Krabi – but travelling to Thailand yet again? I would prefer visiting a new country this time.
That left Bali, with 5 hours flight time to Hong Kong or Vietnam. So Vietnam it was!
ITINERARY FOR ONE WEEK IN CENTRAL VIETNAM
Originally I had planned to spend the whole week in the beautiful ancient town Hoi An, as the main goal of this holiday was to relax and find some rest.
But the closer our departure drew, the more I felt we would miss something by just staying in one place. In the end, I slightly re-scheduled our itinerary and included a train ride to Hué as well as two nights in a beach resort in Da Nang:
THREE DAYS IN HOI AN
At first we visited the beautiful ancient town Hoi An. Our flight left in Singapore in the evening and we followed the sunset North to Vietnam:
After arriving at Da Nang Airport, a driver picked us up and drove us straight to our accommodation.
As a contrast to the huge hotels in Singapore and Hong Kong we booked a room at Hoi An Hideaway Villa, a family-run B&B with a beautiful garden and pool. The accommodation looked good on the internet – but was even better in reality!
The villa is still very new, offers large rooms and all the amenities you would expect in a 3- or 4-star-hotel: Minibar, skincare-products, hair-dryer, flip flops, menu service, credit card payment…
The service and friendliness of the staff was superb and the owner spoke fluent English.
During the day we preferred to stay at the villa and ordered lunch at the reception. It was amazing to see that each time we ordered something, the ingredients were delivered directly from the market and prepared freshly.
Laundry service was available too, as well as a transfer service from and to Da Nang. Everything was smooth and professional and the owner of Hoi An Hideaway Villa even offered to buy the train tickets for our planned tour to Hué!
VISITING HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN IN THE EVENING
During the day we mostly relaxed at the pool (way too hot to do anything else!) and in the evening we walked over to Hoi An Ancient town for dinner. It took us 5-10 Minutes to get there by foot, which was ok but still a bit exhausting with the heat (> 35°C, 100% humidity) and all the motor cycles cruising by.
Hoi An is exceptionally beautiful during evening hours, when it’s getting dark and all the lampions light up. But beware: some restaurants and shops already close around 9 p.m. so you should make sure to go there early!
Visitor Pass required: In order to walk through Hoi An ancient town, you have to buy a visitor pass. The pass also allows you to visit some attractions, such as the Chinese Assembly Hall. We were asked to present our visitor pass once during our three-day-stay and were glad that we could present it.
See all these motor cycles? As a matter of fact, large parts of Hoi An ancient town are closed for cars and motor cycles, which makes walking through the town’s ancient roads less stressful.
Hoi An is famous for its unlimited food options – and rightfully so! No matter if you prefer to have a quick snack at a street stall or prefer to visit a nice restaurant: There’s a huge selection of Restaurants in every category.
The Vietnamese Summer Roll and another starter called “White Rose” were my favourite dishes in Hoi An.
TRAIN RIDE TO HUÉ
After three nights in Hoi An, we continued our journey by train to Hué. The route is considered to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. Have a look for yourself:
This was just one of the many beautiful sceneries we watched from the train’s window.
In the late afternoon we arrived in Hué, where we went for a walk along the Perfume River for sunset.
Unfortunatley that’s about all we saw of Hué, as we only stayed there for one night.
FINAL STOP: TREE DAYS AT A BEACH RESORT IN DA NANG
The next morning we returned to Da Nang, where we planned to relax in a beach resort. A much needed rest after five days in noisy and crowded cities!
The Furama Resort Da Nang turned out to be a good choice, as it was beautiful and quiet and thus offered all the relaxation we needed.
The resort is located a few kilometres away from the city centre at a nice stretch of beach. Although it was fully booked during our stay, the beach was surprisingly empty:
The sea was clear and warm – perfect conditions to go for a swim!
Apart from the beach, the resort also had two pools to choose from: An infinity pool with a view on the sea:
… and a lagoon pool surrounded by a beautiful palm garden.
My husband and I really enjoyed just doing nothing and relax.
After three days in the resort, we had recharged our energy and were ready to explore Hong Kong!
Central Vietnam had everything we were looking for and we spent a great time in the area around Da Nang. In retrospective, we could’ve stayed a bit longer though. One more night in Hoi An would’ve been nice, as well as an additional day to explore Hué. But apart from that, our stay was simply perfect!
Hoi An with its beautiful ancient town and colourful streets definitely was a highlight during our trip. I would highly recommend booking a calm accommodation though, as it can get a bit exhausting with the heat and the noise. Still, I’m glad that we didn’t spend the whole week in Hoi An, because there’s more to see, such as the train ride to Hué. Spending a few days at the beach before continuing to Hong Kong was a good choice to recharge our energy.
To sum it up: Vietnam is perfectly located between Singapore and Hong Kong and has a lot to offer! We are definitely planning to return some day!