Lay of the Land
“I had seen the flowers on her dress beside the canals in the north, she was indigenous like an herb, and I never wanted to go home.”~Graham Greene, The Quiet American
The most popular destinations in central Vietnam are the ancient city of Hue and the coastal cities of Danang and Hoi An. The major airport in the region is Danang and most guests spend time in Hue, which is 65 miles away, or Hoi An, an 18 mile drive. Hue is best known for its ancient citadel and history as the imperial capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 while Hoi An is known for its wide beaches and old town. If possible, travelers should include a stop in Central Vietnam to their itinerary not only for the history, but also for beach time with the best weather in the spring and early summer. Danang is about an hour and 15 minute flight from Hanoi.
Located just an hour flight from Saigon, Nha Trang is a popular beach destination in the South of Vietnam. The most popular resorts are around an hour or so from the airport and focus mainly on relaxation, hiking and experiencing the charm of the small fishing villages nearby. Travelers should beware that drives often take longer than expected as the infrastructure is still being built. The best time to visit is in the late spring and summer. Nha Trang is about an hour and 45 minute flight from Hanoi and an hour from Ho Chi Minh.
The state of North Vietnam existed as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam from 1945, when Ho Chi Minh declared independence from France, to 1976, when North and South Vietnam reunified into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Vestiges of the past remain throughout the region, which includes such popular destinations as Hanoi, Halong Bay and the mountainous region of Sapa, as well as lesser-known provinces that are suitable for more intrepid travelers. Halong Bay can be visited year-round, with the exception of the rainy season, June and July, when visibility is limited and the jellyfish population is higher than usual.
Just off the coast of Southern Vietnam are the islands of Con Dao, one of which is home to the Six Senses Con Dao. Flights take about 45 minutes from Saigon. The islands offer natural beauty and are a more remote alternative to the other popular resorts like the Four Seasons Nam Hai and Amano’i.