A 7-day itinerary from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang
Vietnam has long captured the intrepid traveller's imagination: fiery food, incredible wildlife, a rich and fascinating history. And now, there's a new wave of pinch-yourself retreats that cocoon you in style. In this mini itinerary we get the max out of Vietnam, switching from the bustle of Ho Chi Minh to the luxury hotels of Da Nang on a journey that pairs urban adventure with beachside bliss.
AT A GLANCE
- A 7-day independent itinerary starting in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Thuan Province, then making the short hop to Da Nang
- Immerse yourself in the country's vibrant food and culture – or revive yourself in a world-class spa
- Highlights include visiting the magic of Hoi An, the Imperial city of Hue and discovering the near-deserted Vietnamese coast
START IN STYLE: HO CHI MINH CITY
Ho Chi Minh City – formerly Saigon – is a dynamic and endlessly intriguing city with no shortage of things to see and do. After your flight, re-energise with a classic Vietnamese coffee. Served white with condensed milk, it strikes the perfect balance between bitter and sweet.
If you're feeling brave, you could do as the locals do and jump on a moped. Hiring your own isn't recommended, unless you're used to scooting in and out of chaotic traffic. But there are plenty of companies who will offer a city tour with an experienced driver. Some of the must-see sights (moped or no moped) include the Ben Thanh market, the Notre Dame Cathedral and – for a bird's eye view of the city – the Saigon Skydeck. Or head a little further afield and discover the eye-opening Cu Chi Tunnels.
Suggested stopover 1-2 nights.
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS – AND READY FOR DOWNTIME
After a day or two of sightseeing, street food and water puppet shows (a Vietnamese institution), you may feel ready to take things down a gear. Close to the frenzy of the big city but a world away, Ke Ga Bay is on the fringes of a historic fishing town. Explore a more traditional side to Vietnam and see rice paddy fields and dragon fruit orchards, with the Ta Ku mountains as your backdrop.
UNPACK YOUR SUITCASE
Princess D'an Nam Resort & Spa in Ke Ga Bay lets you swap urban jungle for East Sea views. Breathe in the fragrance of the 'Ginger Gardens' before spa treatments that use aromatic spices, honey and flowers to help you unwind. From here you can take coastal roads that wind all the way into the mountains. Or you could simply admire it all from a luxury lounger.
Suggested stay 3 nights.
LIFE'S A BEACH
In less than 90 minutes on a plane from Ho Chi Minh you can be at the coast of Da Nang – a place that seems a million miles away from the bright lights of the busy city. This part of Vietnam is all about the beaches – and there are plenty to choose from. Some are small and secluded, others more lively with restaurants and watersports on offer. But all share white sand, clean water and, most of the year, sparkling sunshine.
The Naman Retreat brings a touch of luxury to this natural beauty, putting you close to Da Nang's shores and its unmissable sights. For golfers, there's the superb Montgomerie Links just next door. And though incredible experiences lie on its doorstep, this is a made-for-me-time boutique retreat that'll be hard to tear yourself away from. Part resort, part spa, it's a battery-recharging spot where you can indulge in signature treatments, relax on the private beach, or take a dip in your own pool.
CULTURE CALLS: HOI AN AND HUE
You could happily stay put at the Naman Retreat. But for those who can't resist a little local culture, Hoi An and Hue are both within easy reach – and well worth a day trip.
Historic Hoi An is one of Vietnam's most charming towns. With very little traffic and a laidback, relaxed feel, it is the perfect city to explore on foot. Wander the Old Town with its Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples and tea warehouses. Bike your way around the rice paddies of Cam Nam island. Or seek out one of the latest generation of boutique bars.
Venture further north and you'll arrive at Hue. The capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945, it's a city bursting with historic sights. Must-sees include the majestic Hue Imperial City, Khai Dinh Tomb, and the beautiful Thien Mu Pagoda. Rest weary feet with a leisurely boat trip on the Perfume River. Or see the Marble Mountains and UNESCO-listed My Son Sanctuary. Whatever you choose, the luxury of Naman Retreat will be waiting with open arms on your return.
BOOK YOUR BOUTIQUE HOTELS
To book the hotels on this independent itinerary, get in touch with our Voice Reservation Team on 0800 0482 314 (UK) & 1-877-234-7033 (US). You can find a full list of our dedicated toll-free numbers here. We're ready and waiting to plan luxury adventures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So whenever inspiration strikes, just get in touch.