Although I’ve visited Vietnam on a number of occasions, I hadn't been for a while and a refresher was well overdue!
My journey began in the beautiful Con Dao archipelago. Just a short hop by air south-east from Saigon, these paradise islands are home to the stunning Six Senses Resort & Spa. Nestling in a secluded bay, the resort has a magnificent 1.5 km strip of golden beach leading to inviting turquoise waters. Each of the spacious villas comes with its own private infinity pool and unobstructed views of the East Vietnam Sea, and the impeccable level of service and luxurious design that are a hallmark of all Six Senses properties make this a fantastic place to start (or to end) any Vietnam holiday.
I then headed back to Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City as it is officially known. Large and chaotic maybe, but this bustling city still has plenty of charm. The history of the country is evident in its architecture; the churches, temples, government buildings and hotels that a generation ago were silent witness to a city in turmoil. I would recommend a visit to the War Remnants Museum which depicts the harrowing events of the time. It is a sobering but rewarding experience.
From Saigon, I caught a short flight north to the coastal city of Nha Trang. Although a destination within itself for many, Nha Trang was just a stepping stone this time for getting to the fabulous Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, just a 30-minute journey by speedboat but far removed from the city’s hustle and bustle. Rustic yet luxurious, Six Senses properties are consistently a pleasure to stay in and really do set the standard.
I continued north to the charming town of Hoi An, an exceptionally well-preserved trading port that was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999 and is a great place to spend a few relaxing and exploratory days. Hoi An is also famous for its high quality tailors (I would recommend ‘Yaly’) and items of clothing can be ready to wear within 24 hours at exceptionally good value. I stayed here at the resort of Nam Hai - sleek, stylish and the perfect choice for combining the city with the beach.
The next leg of my journey took me across the spectacular High Van pass to the former capital of Vietnam, Hue, whose many attractions include the Citadel, the Forbidden City, ancient royal tombs and the iconic Perfume River.
I ended in Hanoi with a stay at the legendary Sofitel Metropole, the perfect base for exploring this compact but enchanting city. Bursting with Pagodas, markets, museums, lakes and attractive parks, Hanoi had plenty to keep me entertained and was a fitting finale to my trip.