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One of Vietnam’s most elegant and historic towns sits just a stone’s throw from swaying palms and white-sand beaches.

Vietnam’s coast is often overlooked by travellers who set their sights on Thailand’s much-hyped beaches, but this diverse country hosts a trove
of treasures to explore.

In the south, the sandy shores of Phu Quoc Island are lined with palm trees, while up north more than a thousand limestone karsts erupt from turquoise waters at Ha Long Bay. Follow ivory sands to the mid-point of Vietnam’s 3,444km coastline and you’ll find Hoi An, one of the country’s most beautiful destinations. It was once the beating heart of the spice trade in South-East Asia, and Japanese and Chinese merchants left their mark upon the architecture, as did the French.

Colonial buildings drenched in ochre paint edge the banks of the Hoai River and traditional wooden houses line the streets. Cars are banned from the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, and the laneways are busy with people wandering between galleries, tailors and cafes. When the sun sets, colourful lanterns cast a romantic glow and the reflections of hundreds of candles floating in delicate paper boats dance
upon the river.

EAT

Salads bursting with herbs, tasty pork noodles, crispy pancakes packed with prawns – Hoi An’s culinary delights are seemingly endless. Stalls dot the streets, and while you needn’t look far for exceptional eateries, a meal at Brother’s Café is a must. Located between serene gardens and the river, this restaurant serves all manner of Vietnamese cuisine and some of the best fish you’ll ever try.

If you’d like to recreate Vietnamese fare at home, sign up for a cooking class with Red Bridge Restaurant & Cooking School. A private boat will transport you to the riverside location, where you’ll learn to make delicious regional dishes while surrounded by tropical gardens.

Image courtesy of the Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

DRINK

Coffee is renowned in Vietnam, and Mia Coffee serves a latte that will satisfy any caffeine craving. For something local, order a Vietnamese variety. This rich, dark brew is served with sweetened condensed milk, and the iced option makes for a great afternoon pick-me-up.

When it comes to sundowners, Mango Mango mixes signature cocktails with incredible views of the Old Town and night market. For wine, White Marble Wine Bar and Restaurant promises international drops unrivalled by any other establishment in town.

Image courtesy of Mia Coffee

STAY

Poised by the river and right in the heart of town, the five-star Hotel Royal Hoi An is optimally placed for travellers seeking to immerse themselves in the historic destination one moment, and indulge in a spa treatment or cocktail by the Art Nouveau pool the next. Another riverside option is the Koi Resort & Spa Hoi An, where opulent bungalows honour the region’s cultural heritage with their elegant design and colour palette.

For an ocean escape, the Sunrise Premium Resort Hoi An overlooks Cua Dai Beach, the glimmering East Sea and the Cham Islands, clustered about 15km offshore. The crown jewel, though, is the Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, which claims a private stretch of one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

Image courtesy of the Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

PLAY

Hoi An’s expert tailors and shoemakers can create bespoke pieces in a matter of days. Yaly Couture, one of the most well regarded, has three boutiques across town. Its most impressive shop houses row upon row of fabric to suit your designs. It even boasts Vietnam’s first 3D full-size body scanner to ensure measurements are precise.

Once you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, venture beyond Hoi An’s Old Town. Bicycle tours travel into the countryside, past lush rice paddies and charming coastal towns, and the turquoise waters around the Cham Islands make for excellent snorkelling.

Image courtesy of the Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

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  • Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

    3, 5 or 7 Nights

  • Tranquil Gili Island Getaway with Return Boat Transfers

    Pondok Santi Estate

  • $ 519/room

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  • Ending Soon

  • Sanya, China

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  • Atlantis Stay in the 'Hawaii of China' with Exclusive Club Access

    Atlantis Sanya

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    Valued up to $ 1,291

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  • New Plymouth, New Zealand

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    King & Queen Hotel and Suites

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