All photography by Christian Berg
Much has been said about this striking seascape in Northern Vietnam, and for good reason. The bays of Ha Long, Bai Tu Long, and Lan Ha never get tired. The marina is just a short two-hour drive from the airport in Hanoi. Whisk your partner away on a luxury cruise, and spend the hours watching the karsts drift by, kayaking around floating villages, and taking in spectacular scenery from the deck.
Where to stay: Emperor Cruises runs luxurious, overnight itineraries in lesser-visited parts of the Gulf of Tonkin, perfect for couples who want views all to themselves.
Not many travellers venture to the central province of Dak Lak, which means that couples who appreciate peace and quiet will find it here. Dak Lak is known for its thundering waterfalls, coffee plantations, and ethnic minority villages. The vast Lak Lake is ideal for kayaking or boating, and Vietnam’s first ethical elephant tour is now open in Yok Don National Park, where you can also spend a day birdwatching and trekking in the jungle.
Where to stay: Make your base at Lak Tented Camp. Each tent is an explorer’s dream, luxurious yet nostalgic, with a wooden porch set up to make the most of the lake breezes. Breakfast over the water, then hop on a bicycle to explore ethnic villages nearby.
Although it feels worlds away, the islands of Con Dao are just a short flight from Ho Chi Minh City. Surrounded by wind-swept beaches, and blanketed in tropical jungle, Con Dao’s lazy rhythms and small-town vibe are perfect for a stress-free getaway. Join a snorkeling tour on the islands in the archipelago, ride a bicycle around the tree-shaded streets, or simply claim a spot on the sand and do nothing at all.
Where to stay: Six Senses Con Dao is the only five-star resort on the island, and its serene, all-wood beach bungalows and sea-facing spa villas are havens of calm.
The Mekong Delta is what most people think of when they think of Vietnam. This part of the country is awash in exotic visuals: bustling floating markets, children riding bicycles, tiny sampans floating down leafy canals, sun-drenched rice paddies, and ornate pagodas. The areas surrounding Chau Doc, Cai Be, and Can Tho are especially compelling. Here, life goes on peacefully in the shade of fruit trees, and the food is always fresh and nourishing. Wake up early and take a boat to the nearest floating market for an unforgettable bowl of hủ tiếu.
Where to stay: Surrounded by flowering gardens and ponds, Mekong Rustic has set up beautiful, all-natural bungalows just outside Cai Be and Can Tho. Take a community-based tour to learn more about local life in the area and make friends with your hosts over tea and fruit.
Cam Ranh is still off the radar for many visitors, but with an excellent airport and some of the purest shores in Vietnam, that’s bound to change. For now, it’s easy to make an escape to this quiet part of Central Vietnam, where long (long!) beaches, bobbing fishing boats and fluttering palm trees are the norm. A clutch of new five-star resorts makes holidaying in Cam Ranh even more enticing for couples. Claim a private villa with a plunge pool, dine on freshly caught seafood, and let your tension melt away under the tropical sunshine.
Where to stay: A uniquely Vietnamese luxury resort, The Anam spoils guests with gorgeous gardens and divine swimming pools. Splurge on a Seaview Villa for direct access to the water, and spend quality time relaxing on the patio, slipping into the spa, or strolling on the sand.
Crawling, wading, and climbing through dark caves may not be everyone’s idea of a romantic vacation, but for adventure enthusiasts, Phong Nha offers the trip of a lifetime. Why not share each jaw-dropping sight and rewarding moment with your significant other? A multi-day tour will have you scrambling through tunnels and swimming in rock pools by day, and camping next to rivers and in the shelter of huge caverns at night.
Where to stay: Book your Phong Nha experience with Oxalis, a reputable outfit that runs tours to the major caves in Phong Nha. Their four-day Tu Lan cave experience is one for the books.
If food is your number one reason for travelling, set aside a few days to check out the amazing culinary scene and cool cafes in Ho Chi Minh City. Expand your palate with southern dishes such as cơm tấm — a favourite local breakfast, follow Anthony Bourdain’s footsteps to a steaming bowl of noodles from the Lunch Lady, and have an adventurous evening at Anan Saigon, trying wormwood shots and updated street fare such as banh xeo tacos.
Where to stay: Couples will adore the Hotel des Arts, a jewel box of a hotel boasting fabulous rooms overlooking the treetops of District 3, plus one of the chicest rooftop bars in town.
In Vietnam, the name Da Lat is now synonymous with romance. Clear spring skies, rustling pine forests, and French art deco mansions make Da Lat a favourite retreat for couples. Da Lat’s glorious flower farms lend themselves well to Instagram, as do its peaceful lakes and hideaway cafes. Link arms and go for a stroll around Xuyen Huong Lake, stop for tea with a view, and dine on beautiful produce from Da Lat’s highland farms and rivers.
Where to stay: Spoil your partner at Ana Mandara Dalat, a set of renovated French villas nestled on a pine-covered hill. Score some quality time in the heated outdoor swimming pool and cuddle up in villas furnished with canopied beds, clawfoot bathtubs, and fireplaces.