TRAVEL A few days of respite from the choking haze

While out for my morning brisk walk, I could feel the slight haze with a PSI reading of 26, irritating my throat and almost choking my lungs. Thoughts of Da Nang, Vietnam, where the very fresh air and wonderful sea breeze caressing my face and hair came to my thoughts. Hence, I decided to complete this blog started during my stay there with whatever pictures that are ready. I will upload the rest gradually over the weeks ahead.
Tea in the balcony

View of part of a long stretch of beach on the way to the resort
Da Nang, Vietnam is not too expensive to fly to if you can make your bookings early. Still not a very popular place among Singaporeans as yet, you may still find flights a week or two ahead.

Why blog about #DaNang at this point? It’s because the air is so fresh and clean, I noticed that I was less tired and my skin was glowing with joy. Hence it makes a good retreat from the hazy situation here. #Vietnam is one hour ahead of Singapore, and the sky brightens up by 6am. This is the place I sleep and eat less, not because I am out partying—only because I feel more energised by the crisp and fresh air, and more relaxed environment.
View of the wonderfully blue ocean from my suite
Weather at Da Nang
The weather is superb when I arrived on February 16 as it warms up to about 23 degree C. Da Nang is always about 2-3 degrees cooler than Ho Chi Minh, especially with the sea breeze keeping temperatures down.

The resort is built on the side of a mountain, and rooms/suites decorate the mountain side and grouped into Sky, Sea, Earth and Beach. To me it’s a very safe place for a family with kids if they wish for a more relaxing retreat as the resort is very clean, well-equipped with great amenities and beautiful décor that is not in your face and one will not grow tired admiring.
Suite on the beach with the other suites in the background
#SimplyBeauty stayed at #Earth Suite 245. It’s one of the bigger rooms with two sliding glass doors on either side of the bed. So either side you toss to in bed, you will have a good view of the sea. The sound of the waves pounding on the rocks seems louder in the silence of the night compared to the day, the wonderful tinted glass doors shield out prying eyes as they filter out all views as well as the pitch darkness. (psst, actually it's just the view of the ocean out there, no corridors so no one can look in.)

Looking out from the bed
Great relaxing bath in store 
Contrary to what most think that press trips are a relaxing time to rest and relax, I spent most of roaming around the resort gathering as much information and snapping more pictures than I have time to process, while also trying to fit into the tight schedule mapped out for us for the opening of Bastien’s Mani Pedi Studio (a service you must try for its more than simple manicure and pedicure, when in Da Nang). However, I strongly feel that InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula is the place to R&R. Instead of calling for the buggy, it is therapeutic to take the time to stroll to breakfast at the restaurant #Citron perched on the highest altitude in the resort, approximately 100m from sea level. It takes about 10 minutes to brisk walk from Earth Suite 245 to the restaurant or the reception/check in level. If you are in for a workout, skip the sky lifts which I think resemble more like dream boats floating in the air as they glide down the tracks between the highest level of the resort to the beach.

The décor of the resort is worth exploring and it would probably take you more than two days to relax and enjoy these unique and classy touches at the restaurants right up to the various rest rooms dotted around the resort.

I shall not go into too much detail about the F&B as these are available at their website. One thing to note is that within this wonderful resort is a Michelin starred French Restaurant called Maison you should not miss.

Experience and learn the art of rowing the traditional Vietnamese boat you see around the waters of Central Vietnam. It is actually a giant wicker basket which requires great skill to manoeuvre, or you may just end up dancing in circles. This activity is complimentary for resort guests and needs at least 1 day's advance booking.

If you are in for some working out on dry ground, another complimentary activity is the trek to a bunch of #banyan trees close to the fringe of the resort. It requires 1 hour to cover 2km to and fro. This may not be a watersport, but you will not be guaranteed to be ‘left high and dry’.

What Can Kids Do?
Kids and teens will not be bored when mum and dad do a bit of city exploration. Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort has activities for both age groups. Wii and computer games are available to keep teens entertained, while younger kids can be left to play safely at the adventure kids club. I was amazed that the club was as well decorated as those back in Singapore, complete with a keyboard, slide, and children’s songs playing in the background.

Nooks and Corners to Relax
Other than the wonderful guest rooms and restaurants, and deck chairs on the beach, there are plenty to places to lie back and read a book. In particular, I love the #LongBar, decorated with comfy seats with a wonderful view of the relaxing sea. More importantly, it is in the shade, an arm’s length away from the drinks bar, close to the kid’s adventure club (if you have kids) and as well as the wash room. (think picnic at Marine Parade and the need to walk 10 minutes in search of the nearest rest room)

Yes a local is posing for a trigger happy moment at the
right hand corner of this shot

Seats inside the Long Bar

Comfortable large lounger at the Long Bar with wonderful view of the sea and beach
Pretty Vietnamese hat, beach bag and slippers that will put you in the holiday mode
when you wear them to the beach. These items can be found in the guest room.
Exploring Town
Intercontinental offers shuttle service to Da Nang local market where tourists can find cheap buys. The shuttle is about half an hour’s bus ride.

For those who do not mind a longer shuttle ride of up to an hour, Hoi An is a quaint little town and the place to get Vietnamese lamps. The shuttle bus services from the resort park for 45 minutes at Hoi An, before heading back to Da Nang market and finally to the resort. 45 minutes is a little short to explore #HoiAn, but good enough if your aim is to buy lanterns as the bus stops inside “Viettown”, known for tailored clothes, hats and the silk lanterns Hoi An is known for. I tried exploring Hoi An for half hour after getting off the bus and realised that I had not been able to find another lantern shop after passing by many similar looking shops retailing clothes during the half hour walk. Thus, it’s best to get to the Hoi An town in the morning with the morning shuttle so that you can have half a day to explore the town, try the local food and enjoy the great coffee at the many coffee joints dotted around the little town, before heading back with the 4pm bus. Hoi An is bustling with many shops selling identical things like most touristy cities, but if you take the time to walk further, you’ll find one or two with a couple of more interesting designs. I spotted signs indicating that tailored silk clothes costs up to VND3M (about S$180) so ask around to double check as it doesn’t sound like what I was told–that off the rack clothes is reasonably priced. Always try before committing and an advice given to me is to opt for clothes that take a couple of days to be ready instead of a day for better workmanship. 
Da Nang Market

Market at one of the villages the van passed by on the way to Hoi An

One More For the Road
The luxuries of being a guest of InterContinental DaNang Sun Peninsula extend all the way to the DaNang airport. Its wonderful resort lounges at the airport offers a more comfortable wait for your flight. After arrival and before taking the flight out of DaNang, you can enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks in a tastefully decorated lounge with complimentary wifi. For this, do not remove your resort tag from your luggage until you reach home as this precious tag is your admission ticket to a more comfortable time waiting for the flight to arrive.

Lounge at Domestic Airport Arrival Hall

Snack served to both lounges (at arrival hall and departure hall) 
Checking out the beef pho and juice
Departure lounge

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