Nha Trang Sightseeing

Nha Trang has beautiful temples, culture, amusement parks, golf and of course their famous hot springs. It is really a perfect vacation destination, hence more and more tourists spend their holiday in this great region.

One of the most famous tourist destinations is the Po Nagar Temple, also known as the Po Nagar Cham Towers. This temple complex is the largest Champa architectural complex in Vietnam and is a landmark for Nha Trang. The complex is dating back to the 11th century, the architecture was built of bricks with four rows of large columns. In addition to the towers, you can also find the ancient Champa inscription at Ponagar Tower, showing the culture, religion, and history of the Champa kingdom. Local charm people has small vender stalls in the middle of the complex selling handmade souvenirs.

We mainly stayed at the An Lam retreats and also had our meals here, however, we also tried a local favourite, the Xúa Restaurant. We went during the weekend, and the restaurant was packed with a mix of tourists and local families. The Banh Xeo here was different from the one we had in Quy Nonh, however, very tasty, and Bjoern also ordered a local favourite; fried frog legs.

Nha Trang is known for its hot springs. We tried the Thap Ba hotsprings and mud baths. The Thap Ba Spa is the oldest mud and hot spring facility in Nha Trang. It is famous for it’s therapeutic healing powers of the mud and hot springs. The mud in these therapeutic baths is special, rich with minerals like sulfur and magnesium that are only found in certain regions with the right kind of soil or volcanic activity. Do keep in mind, that it is very hot with hot on it to do hot springs when the temperature is above 30 degrees, that we haven’t really considered and the kids were not lovning this trip a lot ;-), but we made it work and the adults had a good experience and some really soft skin afterwoods.

We also heard that the I-Resort private med baths should be worth the extra spend. We will have to check it out next time…

The Nha Trang city holds 350.000 people and offers absolutely everything from high-end restaurants to street food, market shopping to luxury and everything else, you would expect from a city this size.

It is located at the gateway of the South Central Coast and the Central Highland and it has all the advantages of geographical location, (tropical) climate and natural scenery to become a paradise in terms of tourism.

In addition, Nha Trang has a very diverse system of large and small islands, in which there are a lot of stunning landscapes on the shore and under the water. Therefore, it has become an ideal destination for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Anantara Beach Resort, Quy Nhon

As part of our journey with the Vietage train, we have booked 2 nights at the Anantara Villas in Quy Nhon. Each of the just 26 villas has ocean view and private pools. The resort has a unique “quiet luxury” vibe that never becomes pretentious. It is located very close to the nice beach, Bai Xep, and though the restaurant serves absolutely amazing food there are also options for local dining by the beach or by the other small fishing villages near by.

Even though the resort is small (which we like), it offers its own spa, a gym, a restaurant and large public pool and pool bar by the beach. Also, which the girls likes the most about it, haha, it has small electrical cars to drive you around the resort area.

The Quy Nhon area is still up-and-coming and mainly popular amongst local tourist (yet), which is understandable as it offers a very authentic and beautiful landscape. We loved how the city has “siesta” during the hot mid-day-hours, and the area hasn’t been “bombarded” with massive giant resorts. It just felt low key and nice. And, as mentioned before, a perfect combination to the more Busy Da Nag/ Hoi An area or just as a stop over for some down time. The best time to go is between January-March before it gets too hot (or too wet ;-)).

Hoi An, Anantara River Resort


In Hoi An we stayed at the Anantara Resort, which is a classic boutique hotel located perfectly by the river and in close walking distance to the old town.

We had 2 rooms with connecting doors and garden views. The rooms are spacious with both a small lounge area inside and outside as well. The style and decor is classic Vietnamese/French and with beautiful greenery and Palm trees all around. It is on the riverside, and we either walked by the river to the markets and old town (takes 5 minutes) or by the small streets just behind. Everything is close by from the Old Town, river cruises, markets or anything else you might need or want to experience, but still the resort itself is quiet and nice.

Quy Nhon, sightseeing

Champa Towers

Around Quy Nhon you will find several Cham Towers as the Cham people ruhed this area for more than 500 years. They are not difficult to spot when driving through this area as they are usually on top of a hill. The two most famous Cham towers here are Thap Banh It and Thap Doi.

The two twin Cham Towers was built from the 10th to 15th century. But undergoing a long history with many wars in Vietnam, the towers were ruined. The authorities then in the 90’ties decided to restore the Twin Cham Towers as it plays an important part in showing the Cham’s culture and architecture.

Legend has it that Champa towers normally consist of 3 towers and so do the Duong Long Cham Towers that we went to see. These towers dates back to the 12th century and are the tallest of its kind in South Asia (the central tower is 39 meters). The towers were build as tempels for hindu worship of Deties, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The construction is influenced by Khmer architecture and consist of bricks only (no mortar), which makes the question of how the towers still a standing present time a mystery. Do be careful, as many bees live in these towers, so be sure to maintain a safe distance.

We also went to see the oldest pagoda in the area outside of the city, where young munks live (orphans) and we ended the day with a visit to a local restaurant that served Ban Xeo. Ban Xeo – Vietnamese pancake – is a savory and cripsy dish, where you role a trin omelet with either squid, shrimps or beef together with Bean sprouts, cucumber, mango, salat inside a wet rice paper roll. It is one of the our favourite things to eat in Vietnam and the ones they make in Quy Nhon are just so delicious. Ban Xeo is made in other variations as well, but Quy Nhon claims to have the original version.

But culture and food aside, as most people come to Quy Nhon for the serenity of the coastal area in this region. There are also a number of small islands off the coast of Quy Nhon. Some are so small that you can only sail and snorkel around them. The most famous ones are Ky Co Island and Kho Island. We heard that Kho Island is a good place to see coral reefs and that Hon Kho has a turtle conservation center. If we come back some day, it is surely something we would want to go explore.

The Vietage

Vietnam’s only luxury train

The rail road runs from Hanoi in the North all the way to Ho Chi Minh in the South covering a stretch of 1.137km. The Vietage offers a scenic trip from Da Nang through “the heart of Vietnam” to Quy Nhon (or the other way around). The idea is a luxury connection between Anantaras two properties in Hoi An and Quy Nhon, however non-hotel guests can also purchase tickets as well.

Read more: The Vietage

The train makes two trips daily. It departs from Da Nang Railway Station, about 45 minutes north of Hoi An, every morning at 8 a.m. and arrives at Dieu Tri Station, at the port town Quy Nhon, around 2:30 p.m. In the evening, the train leaves Dieu Tri at 6:30 p.m. and pulls into Da Nang just after midnight. For the evening ride the seats can turn into sleeping booths, which limits the number even further down to 6 people if every booth is booked as a sleeper-edition. The six-hour trip includes a three-course meal, drinks and snacks, and a head-and-shoulder massage. For us, since we stayed at the Anantara resort in Hoi An, we also got a full “to-go” breakfast provided for the car ride when going to the train station in the early morning.

For our trip, it was just our family plus one other couple, so we had so much space, making it even more special. When purchasing the tickets, you also book your choices for the lunch menu, that means upon arrival all you need to do is choose your preferred choice of drinks from the lovely bar menu. The trains in Vietnam runs very smoothie and is a comfortable way to go from A to B in the long country. However, a ride with the Vietage is just another level of comfort. We had the most amazing trip in our two small cabins across from each other. The staff was kind, attentive and service minded, and the food and drinks was so good, we were so impressed of how it was pre-prepared, but it tastet like it had just been made in a kitchen next door. The kids had their own menu to choice from and had fresh spring rolls, pasta and fruit/marshmellow/ice creams. I had octopus salad, salmon and passionfruit cake and Bjoern had foie gras, wagyu beef and also the passionfruit cake.

Our section of the train had its own bathroom as well as a small room for privacy of the neck/back massage. The landscape changed from the buzzling Da Nang city to the rice fields scenery and later with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. It was just such a beautiful and special trip, where we enjoyed not having to check-in through a crammed security or anyone getting carsick on the way down to Quy Nhon.

For anyone visiting this part of Vietnam, it is really the perfect combination with the cultural and exciting Hoi An town and the quiet area of Bai Xep beach at Quy Nhon. Hoi An is a “must visit” in Vietnam for its culinary scene and UNESCO World Heriage protected Old Town area, however, Quy Nhon is a rising star on the tourist map due to its beauty and serene atmosphere.

To learn more about the Vietage or to book: www.thevietagetrain.com

Hoi An, To Do and To Eat

Strolling down Old Town with my favourite coffee drink

The options in Hoi An are many, and honestly, we did try any food or drinks we didn’t like/or loved in Hoi An. There are numerous restaurant and cute cafés everywhere, and if in doubt, go by Hoi An Central Market (19 Tran Phu Street, Cam Chau Ward – open daily 6AM-10PM). We got our (Hoi An speciality) Cao Lau at the market and it was so good (thick noodles and pork).

We (of course) had to have the best Banh Mi at Banh Mi Phuong and this time we also came by RoseIce gelato and Got addicted to the most amazing iced coconut cream latte at Faifo Coffee.

If you have the time, a food tour is something amazing to do, we did it last time, but wasn’t able to repeat this treat once again, because of baby Ellen (she was just too tired after 6PM for anything else but time and sleep in the hotel room.

We also got a hair hash & cut at the Ba Le Well Salon…it was not fancy at all, but it is so much fun going to the hairdresser in Vietnam (I also tried it the last time we were here), because you lie down (like on a bed) when you get your hair washed. The girls loved it, and we spend a couple of hours with the sweetest hairdresser at the salon. Later in the evening I also had a pedicure at the Korean-owned spa Lemontree. I very much recommend a pedicure (or anything else here), it is down a small side street (so a little tucked away from the main street hutle and bustle).

The beach is also a very nice option in Hoi An. I did this post about it the last time Hoi An Beach – Disclaimer: back then, there were very few hotels, but now it has really changed, we were a little checket by the many many resort that had taken over the beach all the way from Da Nang to Hoi An.

Hoi An

Hoi An Old Town

It is our second time in Hoi An and we really loved coming back. Especially the UNESCO protected Old Town is such a nice place to just hang-out, people watching and have amazing food and drinks. The international influence through hundreds of years is very clear in Hoi An in both architecture and cuisine. The small charming streets are beautifully decorated with handmade lanterne on every corner, and the atmosphere is both buzzling and relaxed at the same time. The town is famous for it’s many skilles tailors, elevated cuisine and spas.

If going to Vietnam we highly reccommend going by Hoi An. The town has so much to offer, and if you crave a little beach time, there is a super nice stretch of that and also some “bigger city vibes” just around the corner in Da Nang (if you fly or go ny train, you go by Da Nang).