Arriving in paradise

Arriving at our resort in Da Nang was surreal. Our hotel picked us up at the airport late afternoon, so that we caught glimpses of the city in the soft evening light. By the time we got to the hotel, night had fallen on the thick jungle that enclosed the resort. We couldn't see much - just the roadside lit by lanterns, but we could taste the salt on the sea air. Pulling up to the reception that overlooks the bay, I turned to grin at my boyfriend - he was as awestruck as I was. A hostess materialized out of nowhere and handed me a welcome drink - cool Jasmine tea with honey and elderflower - and smiled knowingly: 'Just wait until you see it in the daylight Ma'am'.

She was right.

I woke up before sunrise on the first morning and tip toed out to our terrace overlooking the water. We'd fallen asleep to the sound of crashing waves but couldn't see much in the darkness. Now, with the sun rising punctually out from behind the jungle-covered mountains, the resort stood out in all of her glory. Designed by Bill Bengley, the resort is truly spectacular. It's split into 4 levels: sea, earth, sky, and heaven, with a wooden cable car to whisk you neatly up to any level you choose. A multitude of pathways meandered around the resort, each revealing something of interest such as a hidden lookout or a slope full of butterflies and flowers. The main pathway, from which you could hail down a golf buggy to take you to anywhere within the resort, was lined with bronze monkey statues.

This area was called Monkey Bay for a reason - within about five minutes of sitting on our terrace on the first morning a couple of inquisitive monkeys came to say hello, clearly unfazed by our presence. We (us and the monkeys) watched the sun rise up before heading down to the beach for breakfast. With toes dug into the sand, we feasted on tropical fruit, cinnamon-spiced French toast and pastries. I began my tradition of ordering freshly squeezed orange juice and Vietnamese coffee (iced, and sweetened with condensed milk) every morning. We ate and ate until our bellies were fit to burst, before waddling a few steps down to the loungers. I flopped into a shaded hammock with a good book, swinging in the breeze and quite content.

More adventures tomorrow!