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Mixing old with new in central Vietnam

By Donna Mah | China Daily | Updated: 2014-01-26 09:54

Mixing old with new in central Vietnam

A vender makes a delicious Vietnamese baguette sandwich at the Hoi An street food market.[Photo by Donna Mah/For China Daily]

The resort itself is spread over 39 hectares and cascades down the Son Tra Peninsula's Monkey Mountain with four levels - Heaven, Sky, Earth and Sea. We stayed on the Sky level and loved taking the "Nam Tram" cable car up and down from Heaven to Sea. Breakfast each morning was in Heaven at Citron restaurant while afternoon siesta time was spent by the pool at Sea level. At Citron, snag one of the round booth tables that extend out of the restaurant to take full advantage of the view.

The resort is a great place to wander or just lounge by the pool with a good book. There are, of course, also lots of things to do at the resort including tai chi, yoga, working out at the gym or enjoying a meal or two at one of the many restaurants onsite, including cuisine headlined by three Michelin-starred Michel Roux at La Maison1888.

Mixing old with new in central Vietnam

2013 Top 10 Tourism Destinations 

Mixing old with new in central Vietnam

A world of their own 

For those traveling with children, the InterContinental's signature kids' club, Planet Trekkers, is the place to leave the kids. Under the watchful eye of childcare professionals, children are entertained in a safe and fun environment. An after-hours babysitting service is also available for parents who would like some "couple time".

On our visit we also went to the historical old town of Hoi An. It is only a 45-minute drive from the resort and a daily shuttle bus service is available, or you can choose to book a private car to visit at your leisure.

Hoi An has a lovely old town area where most of the quaint old buildings have been converted into stores selling custom-tailored clothing, shoes and souvenirs. After a while, the stores do all start to look the same.

To see the sights of the old town, visit one of the many tourism offices where for VDN120,000 ($6) you can buy a set of tickets to visit five of the 22 tourist sites in the area. One of the most beautiful sites is the charming pink-hued bridge built by the Japanese in the 1590s. It houses a temple and is guarded by a stone monkey statue and a stone dog statue.

As for food, most of the restaurants in the old town cater to tourists, so don't expect a truly authentic Vietnamese meal here.

One place to avoid is the Yellow Flowers Riverside Restaurant where the Chinese menu showed prices that were higher than on the English version of the menu - which were already on the high side.

However, if you enjoy street food, then you'll be satisfied here. Crispy Vietnamese pancakes, deep-fried quail eggs wrapped in soft rice paper with fresh salad (highly recommended), steamed white rose dumplings, hot bowls of pho noodles in soup, baguettes filled with sliced meat and salad, and deliciously sweet fried sliced bananas and sweet potatoes are among the menu.

Exploring by bicycle is a great way to see the town and get a bit of exercise. Though it is possible to visit Hoi An as a day trip, a night or two here to enjoy some sightseeing by bicycle and a few hours at the nearby beaches might be a great way to see more of this charming and friendly town.

We didn't have time to visit Hue on this trip, so next time!

If you go

To get there: Dragonair operates a flight daily between Hong Kong and Danang. From Beijing or Shanghai, take Vietnam Airlines to Hanoi and then from Noi Bai International Airport take a domestic Vietnam Airlines flight from Hanoi to Danang.

Alternatively, fly Vietnam Airlines from Beijing or Shanghai to Ho Chi Minh City and then from Tan Son Nhat International Airport take a domestic Vietnam Airlines flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Danang.

To stay: InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Bai Bac, Sontra Peninsula, Danang, Vietnam.


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