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From the Ground: Hoi An, Vietnam 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.

From the Ground: New Hotel – Fusion Suites Saigon

By Jay Austin

The new boutique Fusion Suites Saigon is now open!  We are excited to offer this new Saigon hotel option to our guests, as we also book their sister property, the Fusion Maia in Danang.  This property includes a unique ‘all-inclusive’ and restorative philosophy, so all of the rooms are suites, daily spa treatments are included with each stay, and the Fresh Restaurant and Zen Rooftop Restaurant offer healthy, fresh and delicious food and beverage options with great service.  (We love their breakfast menu!) In keeping with the relaxing and restorative concept, calming music plays down each hallway.

This is a great mid-range hotel option for young couples and families on a budget.  Although the property doesn’t have a swimming pool, they have a Family Suite which has a bedroom just off the parents’ room with bunk beds for younger children – a very unique feature in Southeast Asia! The suites also include a kitchenette with spacious and bright rooms.  This property overlooks Tao Dan Park and the Bitexco Financial Tower, and the property offers good views of the fireworks shows from their rooftop.

From the Ground: New Saigon Artistic Tour

We are excited to announce a new artistic tour in Saigon.  You will enjoy a day of guided exploration of the city’s vibrant art galleries and museums, as well as special request visits (if made in advance) to one or two of our favorite local artists who keep the skills and traditions of Vietnamese art alive from home. You will gain an appreciation for the artistic side of Vietnamese culture and also enjoy the opportunity to learn and apply some techniques for yourself firsthand to take home with you. With a diverse program offering unique experiences, it is perfectly suited for either fine arts aficionados or travelers with a general interest in arts and culture.  This tour not only introduces the blossoming art scene in Saigon, but also allows travelers to personally meet the artists themselves. The artistic house visited as part of this tour is the highlight of the trip, and here you will have the opportunity to participate and learn a thing or two, to really round out the experience.

Vegan-friendly Dining in Southeast Asia

By Courtney Ridgel

Vegans Rejoice!  Chiang Mai, Saigon and Bangkok have been named among the top ten Vegan-Friendly Cities in Asia by PETA.  After seeing the article, we sent our team out to see if we agreed.   We asked our team about their favorite vegan meals and where to go:

Travelers can find a variety of fresh vegan dishes in Southeast Asia – Photo credit: Michelle & Khoa Nguyen

Joy & Chris, Thailand: “Our favorite vegan dishes are stir-fried mixed vegetables, Thai Fresh Spring Rolls with spicy sauce, Vegetarian Pad Thai with Tofu (ask for no egg and no meat), and Vegetarian Som Tam.  You can find these delicious local dishes almost anywhere!”

Lotus Rice (Com Sen) – rice and vegetables with cooked lotus seeds – Photo credit: Michelle & Khoa Nguyen

Michelle & Khoa, Southern Vietnam:   “The Loving Hut is a great place!  It closes at 9pm except for vegan/vegetarian days of the Buddhist calendar when it stays open a bit longer. It is a great location, but you will need a car or motorbike taxi to get there and English-speaking skills are limited so we recommend having your guide assist you.   The food is hot, delivered quickly and delicious, and the menu has a lot of variety.  For kids and less adventurous visitors, there are even options such as vegan burgers, pizza and Spaghetti Bolognese versions.   Some of the items we liked were the sea nuggets rolled with seaweed, the Vietnamese-style papaya salad, the Kumquat & coconut juice, and hot soya milk.”

‘Sea Nuggets’  – Photo credit: Michelle & Khoa Nguyen

We also recommend Hum Vegetarian, Cafe & Restaurant and 3 Lá Vegetarian and you can find dishes such as lotus rice, “vegan pork” in clay pot, and fresh “vegan beef” rolls dipped in pineapple and mushroom sauce.

Vietnamese-style Papaya Salad (Goi Du Du Viet)  – Photo credit: Michelle & Khoa Nguyen

Remember, if you have dietary preferences, requirements or allergies – be sure to let our team and your guides know so that we can have translation cards made for you and so we can recommend the best restaurants for your needs.

Fresh vegan spring rolls with peanuts  – Photo credit: Michelle & Khoa Nguyen

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