Powdery sand beaches, spa treatments, cocktails beside a rooftop pool and fine dining — you don’t need to be filthy rich to enjoy life’s luxuries in Vietnam. Thanks to the favorable exchange rate between the Japanese yen and Vietnamese dong, experiencing a world away from the ordinariness of daily life is more than accessible. Relaxation comes in many sought-after forms including recreation, nourishment, indulgence and rest. Vietnam is an emerging super destination and over the years has seen rapid growth in all corners, including tourism for those seeking to meet their personal relaxation needs.
Relax on the beach
Vietnam has more than 3,400 km of coastline, so if golden sand is your answer to relaxation, you’ve hit beach jackpot. Most notably, Phu Quoc Island is the ultimate escape and was relatively unknown until recent years. The 50-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City takes you to its jungle surrounded by tropical beaches, coconut trees and turquoise waters.
Nha Trang is a vibrant seaside resort city popular for water activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving. It has soothing mineral mud baths and natural waterfalls, and in the evening the town comes alive with a buzzing nightlife.
Finally, Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. Kayaking through the emerald waters to reach its quieter islands, coves and beaches are highly recommended.
Relax with culture
For many, relaxation comes in the form of wandering museums and famous landmarks, which Vietnam certainly has no shortage of. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are go-to cities to explore the nation’s deep and complex history. In Ho Chi Minh City you’ll find the War Remnants Museum, a powerful exhibition highlighting the effects of war on civilians. You’ll also discover wonderful architecture, with highlights such as the Jade Emperor Pagoda Temple and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Hanoi, meanwhile, is the home of the inspiring Vietnamese Women’s Museum and the iconic Ngoc Son Temple, perched on a tiny island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Relax with food and drink
Vietnamese cooking is known for its fresh, healthy ingredients and flavorsome broths. From Bánh mì to Beef Pho and Gỏi cuốn salad rolls to fish congee, there’s no denying that food in Vietnam not only tastes good but also leaves you feeling good. Cookery tours and classes are staple activities, and tour packages can be easily booked at most hotels. The general format involves giving visitors a VIP shopping tour of local markets with an expert guide, before returning to a cooking studio to prepare a feast. Participants then sit down to enjoy their culinary creations paired with local wine.
If lying in and eating out later sounds more relaxing, restaurants are in abundance in even the quietest towns. One favorite in Hanoi is the Hanoi Social Club, serving healthy and vegan international dishes. Its chilled-out, hippie vibe makes it the perfect place to unwind with a good book or magazine, and the evening acoustic sessions go perfectly with a cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee or an iced cocktail.
Relax with pampering
Grand hotels and spas in Vietnam are outstanding and affordable. For just 500,000 VND (approx ¥2,430) in Hanoi, non-guests can enjoy the five-star Apricot Hotel’s luxury roof pool and spa, which overlooks the city center. Alternatively, the Marvellous Hotel Spa has divine foot massages starting at 290,000 VND (approx ¥1,410) for 60 minutes.
In Hoi An, the newly opened Allamanda Estate is typical of the type of service and facilities you can expect from competitors within this picturesque town. Take advantage of a free, 60-minute daily spa service, private villa room with outdoor pebble bathroom and 24-hour concierge service.