The face of Vietnam is changing, and the elite jet set worldwide are taking notice. Recently named as an emerging destination by Virtuoso travel professionals, the vast country is becoming a favorite travel wish-list addition, and luxury vacations in Vietnam have never been so simple to obtain.
The beauty of the coastal bays, the bustle of the modern cities and the serenity of ancient buildings paint a peaceful portrait of Vietnam today. Uncover the best of Vietnam in the capable hands of Ker & Downey on a 10-day north-to-south jaunt through the country’s rich history and culture in our latest journey east, Vietnam Highlights.
Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a lively network of narrow streets brimming with activity. From the colorful shops to the food vendors frying fresh snacks, the Old Quarter is an absolute playground for the senses. Lemongrass, coriander, basil and mint are all staple spices of the famous Vietnamese cuisine, while rice and thin rice vermicelli can be found in nearly every dish.
Visitors exploring the Old Quarter will taste handmade pan-fried spring rolls; Bún chả, a bowl of noodles, meats, bean sprouts and greens served with roasted peanuts; Bánh hỏi, tight knots of vermicelli topped with onion and pork; Phở, a beef and noodle soup served with peppers, basil and lime; and a plethora of taste bud-tempting dishes – all easy to eat on the go.
Your hotel in Hanoi, the historic Sofitel Metropole, is mere steps away from the Old Quarter. Consistently rated among the top by TripAdvisor.com users, Sofitel Metropole is “an oasis in Hanoi” within a completely restored 1901 hotel.
Few natural wonders compare to the massive limestone escarpments of Ha Long Bay, and there are few better ways to explore the bay than with a night aboard the Halong Violet luxury wooden junk. This red-sailed vessel houses six private cabins, each with its own balcony, plus exquisite dining on fresh-caught seafood prepared before your eyes by an expert chef.
The ship’s kayaks and bamboo boats offer passage to the isolated islands and beaches of the bay. Paddle away from the ship to explore the narrow caves that lead to hidden shores and reefs where you are free to lounge on the pristine sands and relax in the calm waters of Ha Long Bay. Formed during the Ice Age by glaciation, Vietnamese legend credits a dragon with the creation of the peculiar islands. The bay’s full name translates to “where the dragon descended to the sea” and his thrashing flight carved out the giant karsts that stand today.
The UNESCO World Heritage city of Hoi An is an ancient international port, and the town’s illustrious past is evident in the city’s architecture, which takes cues from Japan, Portugal, France and Spain. The seaside shops of Hoi An are famous for their fine silks and textiles, often used to create brightly-colored lanterns. Visit one of many expert tailors who call the town home for completely custom, made-to-measure clothing and suits. These fine garments are produced often within one day for a fraction of the cost of Western tailored clothing.
The privacy and luxury of your own villa awaits at The Nam Hai, a stunning coastal resort just outside Hoi An. Ker & Downey guests stay in the spacious pool view villas, featuring a full kitchen, private pool and butler services. Floor-to-ceiling windows are found in each room of the villa, offering breathtaking views of the grounds both day and night. The centerpiece of the suite is a raised platform with plush king bed surrounded by an airy canopy of mosquito netting.
Having arisen from its tumultuous past, Vietnam’s historic charm and unmatched natural beauty draw seasoned travelers and fresh explorers to its emerald shores. Contact us to begin planning your Vietnam vacation.