But it has to be borne in mind that primary sources provide us with little assessment of the importance of trade, nor can we be certain of the extent of knowledge of medieval writers in relation to technologies, material and the like. What we can be certain of is that cultural and commercial exchanges developed along sea routes, and that boat building developed in response to the need for local and long distant travel to improve. While reed craft were common in Egypt and Mesepotamia, there was little development of this type within the region.
Villa accommodation is stylish and lavish running down the hillside to the seaside. The island has been developed an all-in entertainment getaway with dolphin and crocodile shows, theme parks, golf, and more hotel rooms.
There are water and laser shows to keep families occupied, and the more energetic can pursue a broad range of water sports and beach activity — or a hard-hitting game of tennis. The ballroom can hold persons. At a pinch this dramatic coast can be squeezed in as a day trip from Hanoi but it is best enjoyed over a couple of days with a Halong Bay cruise through the limestone outcroppings that lend the area its unique megapixel charm.
Novotel Ha Long Bay an earlier entrant since offers the usual Novotel trappings — rooms are clean-lined with a hint of Vietnamese influence and have aircon, cable television, complimentary WiFi, in-room safe. Request a room with a view of the bay. Novotel caters for the business crowd with plenty of meeting space, as well as three restaurants to cut some deals.
Another of the many options in this area is the Royal Lotus Hotel Halong, a hotel rather than resort-style set-up with space for meetings and conferences, an indoor pool, varied cuisine including Japanese, and contemporary rooms with bright colours and wooden floors.
Also a city-style highrise is the Saigon Halong Hotel.
Other entrants in Ha Long Bay include the massive Vin Pearl Ha Long Bay Resort with the usual raft of facilities and somewhat impersonal service and the highrise Wyndham Legend Halong Hotel, a comfortable and neat option with good bay views.
The carrier uses Airbus A and A aircraft with a single-aisle seat configuration on the short hop from Hanoi. If you're on one of these aircraft, pick middle seats B and E for about two to four inches of extra seat width.
Hue airport is small and unhurried. An alternative entry point is via Danang Airport. Grab a taxi and head off. Once the flourishing capital of the Nguyen Dynasty and later severely pummelled during the Tet Offensive, Hue has lost much of its imperial accoutrement but retains a certain historical cachet.
The area is littered with small private pagodas and village homes in the classical Oriental style mixing Chinese architectural forms with Vietnamese styles.
It is a low-rise community with the occasional high-rise hotel or office block. Hue hotel and resort options are laid-back and unpretentious in keeping with the style of this ancient town. This modern dedication to the last Nguyen emperor, Queen Nam Phuong, offers spacious rooms and suites, starting from 35sqm, in peach blush pastel with huge inviting plump beds, inch flat-screen TVs, free WiFi throughout, a work desk, and signature toiletries.
The safe can house a laptop and a wooden latticework sliding door separates the bedroom from the open-plan bathing area and washbasin. The grand lobby with its de rigueur staircase is in gold hues with ornate chandeliers and beige marble.
Le Spa offers wellness distractions with steam, sauna, massage and manicure. Shopping galleries beckon big spenders, while the roomy person ballroom aims squarely at the MICE market comfortably positioning Indochine Palace as one of the best central Vietnam conference hotels and a top choice for corporate meetings in Hue.
The test of the pudding of course is in the eating. Yet, despite all this muscle and razzamatazz, the hotel manages to pull it off with understatement and class.
Not surprisingly, the designers of the Park Hyatt Saigon were at work here and the room product displays startling similarities.
A newer arrival is Ana Mandara Hue with cottages set in three hectares of green fronting the beach where a large blue freeform pool catches the rays.
The m beach offers good powder underfoot. This resort serves up 78 rooms from deluxe to beach and pool villas.
The sq m Pool Villas offer a 48sq m pool and a luxurious sq m of indoor living space with two bedrooms. This is smart lux getaway with the added bonus of good restaurants and 1,sq m of conference space should you be in search of an offbeat small corporate meetings venue in Vietnam.
Also find a spa and a gym. The room Imperial Hotel Hue is another high-rise that prides itself on sweeping views from the Panorama Bar and lounge on the 16th floor. Expect Cinemascope river and city views from the lounge or head out to the alfresco wrought-iron chairs vertiginously perched at the edge of the roof.
This area doubles as a meetings and events space. The rooms are pleasant enough with wood parquet flooring, a boxy TV, carved dark-wood chairs and free WiFi and Broadband.
Expect a laptop-size safe, a carved wooden cupboard and a bathroom with separate bathtub and shower cubicle. There is an outdoor pool on the third floor with some fitness equipment for workouts. Nearby is the four-star pink-hued low-rise room Hotel Saigon Morin.
This place was built by the French in and serves up free WiFi, city and river views, fitness facilities, a beauty salon and a colonial feel. Rooms are simple and classical with wooden floors, ornate runners and bed covers, and box TVs. Pilgrimage Village, Hue, is a soothing respite with a bucolic theme and thatch-roof brick bungalows set in refreshingly green manicured gardens.Compare and Contrast: Traditional Families with Modern Families Similarities and Differences between Traditional and Modern Family Family patterns are changing dramatically because of the demand of modern life.
JOURNEYS. Vietnam's toast of the coast. The best Vietnam beach resorts from Danang and Hoi An to Nha Trang and Phu Quoc in our free-wheeling Vietnam resorts review for hushed romantics or bawling families.
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