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From the Ground: New Sunset Hoi An Kayaking Tour

By Jay Austin

Our new Sunset Kayaking Tour in Hoi An provides guests with the opportunity to see Hoi An from a different viewpoint and take in the serenity of life along the river and escape a little of the tourist bustle from old town Hoi An. This is the perfect addition to the beach portion of a tour, as it provides a little activity without intruding too much on your relaxation time at the beach.  This tour also pairs well with our ‘Wander the Ancient Town’ tour, which leads guest through the historical houses and community halls of beautiful Hoi An.

What you can expect from this tour:

Enjoy a leisurely paddle through the palm islands as you explore the Thu Bon River from the islands to the ancient town of Hoi An. The tour starts at 3pm allowing plenty of time to capture stunning images from your kayak of the passing scenery before you reach your sunset location. As the sun goes down enjoy the reflections of the ancient houses in the calm waters, while the area takes on a fantasy-like glow. For the more adventurous guests, there is an option to swap your kayak for a Stand-Up Paddleboard, providing a higher viewpoint of the surrounding scenery.  This tour is guided by an adventure guide, highly trained in safety procedures.

Please note: Dry bags are not provided, so those who are planning on bringing camera equipment should be sure to carry either a waterproof camera or a dry bag for the experience.

From the Ground: New Hoi An Foodie Tour

By Jay Austin

We are very excited to announce our new Hoi An Foodie Tour!  This half day cycling tour is really all about the people you meet along the way! Our guides are trained to interact on this tour with as many local people as possible to give our guests an authentic experience.   This tour is great for guests of all ages who wish to experience a truly special part of Hoi An.

What the itinerary for the Hoi An Foodie Tour looks like:

Your foodie tour guide will meet you at your hotel at 8am. Test and adjust your trail bike so you feel comfortable. When ready hop on your bicycle and set off.  As you cycle and walk the Hoi An neighborhood together, you will enjoy a variety of local Vietnamese snacks along the way to surprise and delight your taste buds, learn of the significance of each dish in the local culture, appreciate the ingredients, and spend time with the people and families who have a passion for creating the delicious food to be found here.

The Nam Hai has become the first Four Seasons Property in Vietnam

Photo Credit: Four Seasons Resort – The Nam Hai

By Courtney Ridgel

The Nam Hai, one of our all-time favorite luxury properties in Hoi An Vietnam, has been purchased by the Four Seasons.  From December 20th (of 2016) onward, their new official name is “Four Seasons Resort – The Nam Hai”.  This is the first Four Seasons property in Vietnam and we are sure that their additions to this already magnificent property will be delightful.

Photo Credit: Four Seasons Resort – The Nam Hai

In addition to renovating all of the villas, there are two new villa types available to guests.  The Four Seasons – The Nam Hai now offers a One Bedroom Villa Ocean View option in the 3rd and 4th rows back from the beach, and eight new Family Villas, which are specifically tailored to give parents and kids their own space to relax.

Photo Credit: Four Seasons Resort – The Nam Hai

Other new features that guests can look forward to include

Photo Credit: Four Seasons Resort – The Nam Hai

Here’s the feedback from recent guests who’ve stayed at the Nam Hai:

“Five stars – exceeded our expectations. Just gorgeous and excellent service!” – Barta Family

Highlights from Central Vietnam

Andrea and Anna get back on their bikes with Journeys Within guides from Central Vietnam…

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A Stop off at Ho Quyen Arena, where for many centuries elephants and tigers fought to the death.
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Enjoying a delicious lunch at a nearby pagoda, prepared by the local nuns.
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Nuns taking part in their daily prayers.
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Learning the highly skilled technique of making paper flowers in Thanh Tien Village near Hue.
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The finished product, in theory. It should be noted that Anna and Andrea’s looked a little different…
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The peaceful Truc Lam Bach Ma Pagoda, located between Hue and Hoi An.
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Ms. Binh, our Central Vietnam Tours Manager, enjoying her first parasailing experience off the beach at Hoi An!
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Reunion with Andrea’s longstanding friend Ms.Wang, a talented seamstress on Tran Hung Dao St. in Hoi An .
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You can’t go to Hoi An and not get at least one dress made!


Guide training 2011 – Vietnam!

By: Michelle Nyguen – Vietnam country director

9 days, 1 country and a truly amazing team…I am so excited to share our 2011 guide training journey with you and introduce you to our stars here in Vietnam.

In a nutshell we travelled from Hanoi down to Hoi An in the centre, on to Saigon in the south and deeper in to the Mekong through Cai Be, Vinh Long and Can Tho, before ending our journey in Chau Doc.

I can’t believe how fast the time went Andrea – did we really meet every guide, do so many inspections, as well as do all that cycling? You even squeezed in your first game of football and scored some goals!!!

Thank you everyone in the team. I can’t wait for the year ahead and to see you all again soon!

Our guides from Hanoi

Over two days we took part in activities in and around Dong Ngac Cultural village. This is an exceptional village full of history off the beaten track of the normal tourist routes and new to our guide team. I would like to personally thank the villagers who live here for opening their doors and welcoming us in to their homes. Over our time with them they patiently and proudly shared their family temple and community history so that we may learn and in turn offer this experience to our guests.

Our guides making lunch at Dong Ngac Village

It was challenging at the local market to see who could buy their ingredients first, peaceful when sauntering through the tranquil village, inspiring when visiting some of the historical homes, delicious when cooking and relaxing in the garden with a local family and heart-warming when helping the primary children with colouring their conical hats. We cycled on both days. On the first day the heavens opened and we enjoyed a very wet and fun bike ride through the neighbouring countryside. Thank goodness for warm rain and soft grass (when I skidded and fell off when coming down the hill). For the second day we were blessed with beautiful sunshine. Both rides were fun. It was such a great time as everyone in the team has such a great sense of humour…just like hanging out with friends.

Enjoying our lunch in Dong Ngac Village with guides and villagers

Our guides from Hoi An and Hue

We all met at the Secret Garden restaurant for lunch to share our ideas and take an afternoon bike ride on the islands. We cycled past local families making boats, coracles, mats, furniture; everyone we came across was so happy to chat. It was Sunday and there were weddings in full swing and music in the air as we passed by. Cycling over the floating bridge was something new. All too soon we arrived back at the boat to head back in to Hoi An for dusk and dinner. Andrea and I covered some inspection visits while we were in town, by bicycle of course! Ask Andrea about the Streets restaurant and of course we couldn’t leave without having dessert at the Cargo Club. We stayed at the Life Heritage Resort and I loved it here. I can’t wait to go back with my family!

Cycling over the floating bridge

Our guides from Saigon

This year the challenge was on for a football match with a final score of 11 to 5. Discussions are already underway to name the challenge activity for the coveted “Team Challenge Trophy” for next year. As for this year, needless to say some us were a little sore and bruised the next day.

Two of our guides joined us on our Mekong inspection trip. Arriving later in the day we took the local boat to check on some “Ancient House” home stays in Cai Be.  It was a good time of day to be on the river as it was peaceful. We cruised by the moored Pandaw boat and as the sun went down we arrived on An Binh island where we stayed overnight at Nam Thanh home stay in Vinh Long. Relaxing in the hammocks strung up in the family’s peaceful garden was just what was needed. The next morning we set off at an early 7:30 am to cycle around the island and were lucky to find Andrea’s camera when she discovered it had dropped out along the bike path as she held her breath going past a fish area. By lunchtime we were at Mr. Bac Nam’s home stay (Cai Tac) and were treated to singing and guitar playing over family lunch. Just enough time to squeeze one final bike ride along the river and back before we were picked up and made our way to Chau Doc for our journeys end and our last evening.

Trying out a new tour on the Mekong

Early yesterday morning Andrea caught the speedboat on to Phnom Penh where her story will continue…

And here is the video with many more pictures from this amazing guide training trip!