Vietnam arrived relatively late to the South East Asian beach party, with the country only opening its doors to international tourism in 1990, but it has more than made up for its absence. Hoi An is a Vietnamese gem – the town that time forgot and straight out the pages of a history book, this little charmer has largely escaped the destruction of war that still dominates large parts of the country.
Hoi An has an incredible mix of culture, food and beaches- what more could a girl want? Famed for its Ancient Old Town (which also happens to be a UNESCO heritage site) it is an amazingly well-preserved old trading port dating back hundreds of years. Winding, criss-crossing lanes packed with religious temples, pagodas and meeting houses means there’s still a real sense of community and history here. It’s essentially like a living, breathing museum. It also happens to be a foodies-heaven – there’s a smouldering hot pot of Japanese, French, Chinese and Dutch influenced restaurants, so there’s no way you’ll go hungry here…
WHERE TO STAY?
At Life Heritage Resort Hoi An for your own home away from home. This little patch of paradise is on a picturesque stretch of the Thu Bon River. The rooms are incredibly spacious and some even come complete with a private patio that overlooks the hotel’s exotic gardens. You can chill with the locals at the nearby Cua Dai beach, which is only a stone’s throw away and did we mention it also happens to be only a ten minute walk from Hoi An’s Old Town?
WHAT TO DO?
Ms Vy is the Nigella Lawson of South East Asia…you can take part in one of her cookery classes at the majestic Morning Glory (and have your friends eating out of the palm of your hand when you recreate the recipes at home). If you’re feeling homesick for a slice of home indulge in a slice of cake from the European-inspired Cargo Club.
For a bit of relaxation head to the postcard perfect beaches of Cua Dai and Ha My, the preferred R&R choices of American soldiers during the war. Finally, don’t forget it would be criminal to leave Hoi An without having at least one, or several items custom made for you by your own personal tailor, that perfectly fitted little black dress isn’t a dream after all…
TOP TIP: Make sure you arrange your visit over a full moon (usually the 14th day of the Vietnamese lunar month) so you can witness a ‘Hoi An Legendary Night’. Motorbikes are banned from the Old Town and lit lanterns are sent down the river to bring the wishes of their lighters true. Ahhh.
WHAT TO PACK?
Don’t worry we’ve got your bikini-clad back covered when it comes to what to pack. The searing sun can be a bit of a shock to the system of our heat-deprived limbs, so to optimise your tan and prevent burning, apply Institut Esthederm’s Adaptasun Tanning Spray up to two weeks before your holiday to fully prep the skin for optimum tanning.
Need room in your suitcase for all the custom made creations you’re going to bring back? Minimise your beauty arsenal with a clever multi tasker. Institut Esthederm’s Bronz Repair Anti-Wrinkle Tanning Creams acts as your triple threat sun protection, moisturiser and anti ageing cream in one handy bottle.
Invest in some Hourglass cosmetics to make sure your makeup stays in place come rain or shine. Their Veil Mineral Primer makes all other makeup applied on top waterproof, an absolute beach beauty necessity.
TOP TIP: Don’t forget to include some kaftans and long trousers for temple visits.
WHEN TO GO?
Aim to fly out between February and June – there’s less chance of rain but the weather isn’t unbearably hot either. Bliss.