The Perfect Sanctuary After Days of Sightseeing
The Vedana Lagoon Resort‘s serene location between Hue and Da Nang makes it undoubtedly the perfect sanctuary for a stay after days of sightseeing and exploring. For me the fact that the resort did not belong to any of the major hotel chains, plus its tranquil spot on a remote peninsular near a local fishing village, made it even more attractive for a relaxing stay. The added luxury and idea of staying in a water villa over the lagoon was the final decision maker for us.
Staying in an Over Water Villa
Having fallen in love with this indulgence during our trip to the Maldives the previous year we found that nothing compares to sleeping in a stilt house over calm waters, with the waves gently lapping below and getting up to the sun rising over the water. While a water villa in the Maldives often comes with a hefty price tag, Vedana Lagoon’s aqua villas were very reasonably priced in comparison. I would recommend this unique experience for families with older children but perhaps a stay in a water villa might not be the best option for families with younger ones due to the constant need to keep an eye on any poor or non-swimmers. Fortunately there are other villas and rooms available spread over the spacious secluded grounds, all with views over the lake.
Transfer to Vedana Lagoon
Vedana Lagoon turned out to be the sister hotel of the Pilgrimage in Hue and offered complimentary transfer for guests staying at both resorts. The car left for the lagoon resort with a group of excited Chinese girls. The drive took us through the outskirts of Hue and later on through the flat countryside with many villages along the way. Overall the journey took a little over an hour in total, but it past quickly with plenty to see of the scenery passing by. Once we turned off the main road, the van rode down a narrow country lane, past the edge of Da Bac fishing village. Some of the local kids waved at us excitedly and we saw some of the local fishermen out in their wooden boats.
A Warm Welcome at the Resort
Members of staff from Vedana Lagoon Resort already awaited our arrival and we received a very warm welcome by Thang who was our personal concierge for the entire stay and absolutely impeccable in her service. Her bubbly persona is certainly infectious and made us feel at home straight away. A golf cart drove us to our water villa and Jerome immediately spotted the kayaks in the water, close to reception. He would have liked to paddle out into the lagoon with his Dad around all the fishing boats, but for security reasons (once hotel staff had to rescue a lonely paddler miles from the hotel after getting lost) there was only a small, restricted area for kayaking available close to shore, and both boys felt this was too boring for them compared to other more adventurous kayak excursions they had done together before.
The Aqua Bungalow
The aqua bungalow was everything we could have hoped for and more – spacious and beautifully decorated with a large terrace and outdoor shower area. The space between the villas was surprisingly generous, providing all guests with plenty of privacy, apart from the odd fishing boat gliding past in the distance. The views were spectacular and sitting on the terrace over the water is a guaranteed way to relax.
Swimming at Vedana Lagoon
Sadly the water in the lagoon is rather murky from the tides, and also the rocks make it too dangerous for a safe swim in the lagoon directly off the villa. However there is no reason to despair, as the hotel pool is located at the point of the peninsular with fantastic views over the landscape and is easily reachable by bike, walk, or a short golf cart ride from all the villas and rooms. Of course for a special treat you could consider booking one of the villas that come with their own private swimming pool instead. If you prefer to feel sand between your toes or a swim in the ocean, there are plenty of beaches that can be reached by a short taxi ride or head to the house beach on the hotel’s complimentary bus shuttle each day.
Excursion to Chan May Beach
In fact we took advantage of this shuttle service and made our first excursion from the hotel a visit to Chan May Beach, together with another family. On our drive to the coast we noticed the building sites that had sprung up behind the beach line. New streets criss-crossed the otherwise empty landscape, ready for new homes, or more likely condominiums, to be built. Chan May village still had kept its charm and local kids were running around everywhere, except on the beach. The driver parked behind one of the restaurants on the beach. The staff greeted us and offered us drinks and the lunch menu.
Seafood on the Beach
Fresh fish was the speciality, chosen straight from one of the bowls in the restaurant’s open dining room. Jerome and I glanced at the red buckets, filled with seawater and an array of living sea creatures, including crabs, lobsters and calamari. Jerome was painfully aware that they would eventually end up on the plate of a hungry tourist or local. We took some cool drinks to the cabana on the beach with tables and chairs and made ourselves at home.
Swimming in the Sea
Taking in the fresh but hot sea air, we were aware that there was no one else on the beach besides us, despite the row of restaurants and bars that line the entire sandy stretch. The boys quickly changed into their swimming costumes and made their way to the sea. The sand was so hot from the sun that they had to wear flip-flops to avoid getting burnt on the soles of their feet. The sea was warm, almost like a hot tub and had no cooling effect what so ever. Jerome played ball and frisbee with the boys from the other family in the shallow sea, we always pack them for these occasions along with swimming goggles. We had expected to see some jellies in the water, after our experience in Ha Long Bay but thankfully there were none in sight. After a quick dip I took my camera and went for a stroll along the empty beach.
Bars and Restaurants on Chan May Beach
The restaurants had made quite an effort to make a stay on Chan May as comfortable and pleasant as possible, even for kids. There were swings, volleyball nets and plenty of shady spots, even an old motorbike sunk in the sand. Colourful bunting and lights gave the beach a festive atmosphere and we could only imagine the locals coming for dinner and a drink at the restaurants in the evening. Some of the eateries were mere shacks, wooden poles in the sand with tarpaulin or plastic makeshift roofs. Plastic chairs were ever present inside. Most of these places were fairly basic and in some the debris from the previous nights lay still on the tables and in the sand.
A Chat With Other Travellers
I chatted to an Austrian couple, who had turned up after us and who were staying at nearby An Bang Beach (a popular beach with backpackers and locals alike). We exchanged tales of our travels through Vietnam and I somehow got the feeling that they were slightly disappointed in their holiday but could not quite work out why. Chris eventually came to find me, he was wondering what had happened to me on my photographic exploration.
Card Games on the Beach
Jerome and the boys seemed to have hit it off, they were playing cards in the shade when I returned to the cabana, and they played again together later that evening at the pool before dinner.
Return to Vedana Lagoon Resort
Finally, the driver came to tell us that it was time to return to Vedana Lagoon Resort and we sadly obliged as everyone was enjoying the beach. I guess we could have stayed on Chan May Beach for longer and requested a taxi back, but we had also liked the idea of cycling to the fishing village and explore the immediate surroundings of the hotel before dinner.
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