FLIGHT TO DANANG, VIETNAM
I'm off on my family vacation to Asia: first stop being Danang, Vietnam! The main priority for the trip was to visit family out in Korea, but we decided to start in Vietnam since there were affordable flights available. Our first stop was Danang, a coastal city known for its seafood and historical sites. We ended up going during a typhoon, so we didn't visit some attractions like we originally planned such as the Ba Na Hills. Nonetheless, we still made the most of the first leg of our trip and did some sight-seeing and activities. We flew with Asiana Airlines and got the quintessential bibimbap (Korean mixed rice) for dinner.
CHECKING IN TO The Five Villas & Resort Quangnam Danang
We stayed at The Five Villas and Resort, which is located right on the beach. The resort has beautiful facilities with modern fixtures, and the villas offer an "All in One" service style. The villas range from 3-5 bedrooms with a private pool and outdoor area in each villa. There is also an upper deck and multiple balconies with a tub in the primary balcony to enjoy an outdoor bath. My favorite part of staying at this hotel was definitely the pool and enjoying fresh seasonal fruit and juices on their floating tray set up. Another great note about this property is that it is located right next to The Shilla Monogram Hotel, which has its own infinity pool and breakfast buffet that guests of The Five Villas can enjoy. My parents had dinner there the first night and we all tried breakfast there the next morning and it was delicious! I love a good breakfast buffet and appreciate when there's so much variety between the traditional continental breakfast items and the regional delicacies.
BREAKFAST: PHO THIN at THE FIVE VILLAS
We started our first official day with breakfast at The Five Villas' on-site pho restaurant, Pho Thin. Pho is a Vietnamese rice noodle dish that is truly a comfort food. The broth is rich and a little fatty from the beef but in a good way. They only serve beef pho here, but also offer combinations with sides which was what we ordered. The sides were fried dough, poached egg and drink. The fried dough was delicious when dipped into the broth, and the watermelon drink I tried was so refreshing. They served the pho with a side of pickled garlic, which I am definitely going to recreate once I get home.
We had some time to kill before our cooking class later that day, so we decided to head over to a cafe. We ended up going to a different location (this was 20 minutes away from our hotel when the one we wanted to go to was supposed to be 8 minutes away), but this was a lesson in just going with the punches. I ordered a passion fruit, strawberry and mango smoothie from Bong Cafe and it was so fresh. The fruits here are truly unmatched and I already know I'm going to miss the quality when I go back home.
Next we had our cooking class with Jennie from Happy Cooking Class. I booked the class through my friend, Kaitlin Tomasello, who is a travel agent so I highly recommend you book through her or another travel agency because they can help you find accommodations and activities at discounted rates! We learned how to make papaya and mango salad with beef and shrimp, pork and taro spring rolls with the spiciest nuoc cham dipping sauce I have ever tried, and a passion fruit smoothie. We loved learning about the local ingredients and cooking customs that she shared, and will definitely take away some techniques like blending whole limes with passion fruit juice, sugar syrup and ice to make one of the most refreshing drinks I've had. She even let us take home a papaya that she grew in her backyard. I highly recommend her class if you want to learn how to make authentic and healthy Vietnamese dishes!
BREAKFAST BUFFET AT DINING M
The Five Villas is located right next to The Shilla Monogram Hotel, and they allow guests to use their amenities - including the breakfast buffet at Dining M. I always love a good breakfast buffet, especially if there's a lot of variety. I appreciated their more traditional continental breakfast style offerings, and was excited to try their Korean and regional Vietnamese dishes. I filled my plate with mostly vegetables, salads and a fruit plate with 2 glasses of fresh passion fruit juice since I'm more of a lunch girly anyways. Anyone else the same?
POOL SIDE ROOM SERVICE
One of my favorite things I did in Vietnam was the poolside room service I ordered with the floating tray. I saw some posts on their Instagram page and wanted to have my own pool moment and I'm so glad it was the last thing I did before we checked out. I ordered a seasonal fruit plate with a fresh watermelon juice on the side and it was absolutely delicious. The tropical weather makes the fruit here so juicy and sweet; it's all incredible!
EXPLORING IN DANANG
Once we checked out of our villa, we headed into the city for our massage appointments at Kop Spa. We all got the 90-minute Aroma massage, which was a full body massage including hot stones at the end. I always love starting and ending the trip with a massage since travel days can be hard on the body. We felt so relaxed after the massages and were ready to keep exploring by MyAn Beach. We went eye-shopping at one of the famous markets and got a couple souvenirs and a one-piece swimsuit for me since I forgot mine and need some at the onsens in Japan.
Next we went to a food cart and ordered a banh mi (pork and pate sandwich with French bread). Then right next door, there was Pho Thao, a local food stall offering a variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes. We ordered bun cha (meatball noodle soup), banh xeo (stuffed rice paper crepe with shrimp and vegetables), and sautéed morning glory with garlic (vegetable similar to spinach). All of the food was delicious, but my favorite had to be the morning glory dipped in a dark and sweet soy dipping sauce. We headed to Lotte Mart, which is a duty-free shopping center so my mom can buy coffee, dried mangoes and a bottle of Ballantine whiskey as a gift for our family when we arrive to Korea. I had to try a shrimp burger thanks to TikTok and I want to try one once we get to Korea to compare since it's a Korean chain.
We were right by the outskirts of Helio Market, one of the night markets, so we went to sightsee before ending the night at Coxi Garden Cafe. We had mango tea, pineapple tea, and peach tea and all were so refreshing and delicious after a day of walking in the humidity. We also met the cutest teacup dog and played with him before heading to the airport.
And that wraps up the first leg of the Asia trip!
What do you think of the villas, and would you stay there? Let's talk below in the comments section!
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