10 years ago in 2006, I first visited Ho Chi Minh city and Nha Trang beach. Back then, the country was battling with an ill reputation of being dangerous but my trip was nothing short of wonderful and the niceness of people whom I met then is kept within my heart and memories. 10 years on, Nha Trang has developed into a popular beach destination and I found myself stumbling upon yet another less trodden beach near Ho Chi Minh city… unspoiled by commercial developments. As always, it is easy to fall in love with all that Vietnam has to offer and Ho Tram is no difference. Our relaxing retreat began on a mundane Friday afternoon… …
The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. ~ Henry Beston
Ho Tram is a small beach town in Southeast Vietnam where most affluent locals visit for a weekend getaway from Ho Chi Minh city (about 2-hour drive away). With only a handful of resorts, the main attraction of this Lonely Planet Must-Visit Destination Near Ho Chi Minh often lies in the accommodation. Be it the shiny The Grand Ho Tram Strip (integrated resort) or the secluded Ho Tram Beach Boutique Resort & Spa, there are various relaxing and bonding activities to do.
Relaxing retreat in Ho Tram
Ho Tram Beach Boutique Resort & Spa -a member of the Song Living Collection – was our choice accommodation. Opened in recent years by its local owner who believes in sustainable tourism, the resort was designed and furnished with local artwork (many of which are recycled items!) and provides jobs for villagers who are staying in the same or nearby town. With our limited time, Bernie and I decided to go for the spa upon our arrival (since the trip was supposed to be a relaxing retreat).
Everyone often talks about Thai massage but the best country to go for massage for me in Asia is Vietnam. Go for a body treatment or spa package (if time permits) at the very professional Aurora Spa in Ho Tram Beach Boutique Resort – you won’t regret it! I woke up from a relaxed state in our cosy treatment room that partially faces the sea, and I can still smell the salty sea breeze as I am typing now. Ahh~ I miss Ho Tram!
While the beach is great for strolling, watching fishermen set off for work at dawn or enjoying the sunset, the angry-looking waves is not for swimming. For those who are looking to swim or play with water, there are two pools (saltwater and freshwater) in the vicinity of the resort.
To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude. ~ Jeanne Moreau
Other facilities includes a playground with swings (good for adults too!), cosy open-air library with a century old traditional bed, billiard tables, tennis court, etc. The resort also organises activities such as movie nights and excursions to the town. With its various services, Ho Tram Beach Boutique Resort & Spa may be starting to sound like a Club Med resort but (no offence!) the former certainly has more character.
Dining in Ho Tram: A casual but memorable affair
Being a beach town, seafood is the main fare and nothing is better than going local! In this case, that means heading to one of those local family restaurants that are a stone’s throw from the beach. Ask for some recommendations from your accommodation if you are planning to eat out.
To order, one begins by choosing the seafood of our choices (swimming in shallow plastic containers). Just point and state how much you want – hand language works well here if you do not speak Vietnamese – before settling on one of those small red or blue stools outdoors or in the restaurant. In case you are wondering, there is a menu somewhere and if you are lucky, it may come with pictures, although more often than not, what is shown on the menu is unavailable.
“Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze. ” ― Elinor Glyn
Dining by the road in a small stuffy family restaurant is not the most romantic thing to do but it is characteristic of Ho Tram and it is nice to experience a slice of life as the locals do. Of course, the relatively lower-priced seafood (as compared to home in Singapore) helps!
Note: there are many flies around, and it is not the most hygienic eating place. If you are one of those squeamish travellers with OCD, it is best to eat in the resort instead. Having said that, Bernie and I enjoyed our meal thoroughly and none of us had any toilet disaster after that. 🙂
Ho Tram: Undiscovered Beach Getaway From Ho Chi Minh
In addition to the above-mentioned, one can go trekking in the nearby national park or visit the town of Ho Tram. Due to time-constraint (a pain of full-time work), Bernie and I were not able to explore more of Ho Tram but were rejuvenated after a relaxing 2D1N stay at Ho Tram Beach Boutique Resort & Spa. The resort arranged our transfers to and fro Ho Chi Minh City, providing great convenience at a reasonable cost. Should you be travelling in a group of more than 2, the cost will be even better (think economy of scale).
The above information is based on the author’s own experience and should only be used as a reference. For more information on the destination, do check out: http://vietnamtourism.gov.vn/english/index.php/cat/70