Have toddler, will travel? Follow Jessica Tham on a perfect three-day escape in Da Nang and historic Hoi An, Vietnam. Watch the video for travel inspiration!
We’re the kind of parents who have no plans of slowing down our love of travel, but the golden rule? Memorable destinations close to Singapore are key. For our latest break, we joined Jessica Tham, founder of fashion label SOIGNÉ, her husband Silas and their toddler son Eli on a three-day escape to Vietnam. This long weekend was all about gorgeous beaches – Eli’s first experience of the sand and sea – and a mega dose of culture in Da Nang and Hoi An. Their base? Hilton Da Nang: it’s new to the buzzing heart of the city, and amazingly family friendly.
How to get to Da Nang from Singapore
Parents, you already know this: we all agree the direct flight is best when you’re traveling with a baby or little kids. Hallelujah, Da Nang is under three hours from Singapore! Just remember to check whether you’ll need to pre-arrange a visa to enter Vietnam. Now, on to the fun!
DAY 1: Unwind at the beach
Reset and recharge by the seaside. After you’ve settled into your hotel suite, it’s a super quick trip to the beach to burn off some energy. Da Nang’s famous My Khe Beach – an easy 10-minute drive from Hilton Da Nang – is known for its long stretch of soft sand and clean waters, and for Jessica, it was the most memorable part of the holiday: “This was Eli’s first time at the beach and he had an amazing time! He loved ‘riding’ the waves and even cried when we had to leave!”
DAY 2: Head to Hoi An
When you’re in this part of the world, a day spent roaming the quiet, colourful streets of historic Hoi An is essential. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is car-free (and pram-friendly!), so it’s perfect for exploring with kids at your own pace. As you stroll through Hoi An Ancient Town, you’ll find bustling markets, swaying lanterns and scenes that will make you stop for yet another photo opp. “Every corner of Hoi An was picture perfect with its colourful buildings and vibrant bougainvillea on every turn,” says Jessica. “Spam all your OOTDs!”
You’ll come across so many gorgeous little cafes and bars to stop for a break, and kids are welcome. Sandwiches, healthy juices and smoothies are always a hit for the whole fam at one of our favourite spots, Cocobox. Kids love the colourful walls and calamari rings at Mango Mango. But one memorable place for dinner is the popular Morning Glory Original restaurant, which has high chairs available if you’re dining with a toddler. Jessica recommends the prawn coconut curry: “It was flavourful with a hint of spiciness and had generous servings of fresh prawns,” she shares. “In fact, all the dishes we had at the restaurant were delicious!”
Wrap up your day with a gentle boat ride on the river. “We were just in time for the sunset and the warm orange glow made everything look even more beautiful,” says Jessica.
DAY 3: Ba Na Hills
For a change of scenery, take a day trip to Ba Na Hills – a 45-minute drive from the hotel. A scenic, 20-minute cable car ride will take you to Sun World Ba Na Hills, where you can stroll across the impressive Golden Bridge – which looks as if it’s supported by a pair of giant hands – wander through gorgeous gardens, and explore an old-world, French-themed village. To say this is unlike anything else in Vietnam is an understatement. The views here are spectacular – you’ll be 1,487 metres above sea level – and if you need a break from the heat, this is one spot you’ll enjoy all day.
Where to stay in Da Nang
The new Hilton Da Nang, located on buzzing Bach Dang Street but with peaceful views of the Han River, was the perfect base for this family vacay: “Hilton was surprisingly toddler-friendly,” says Jessica. “The staff were so lovely and friendly towards Eli – they teased and played with him whenever they spotted us.”
The spacious rooms are a huge bonus for families too. “Eli dislikes being confined, so the ample space allowed him to crawl and explore on his own when my husband and I were busy. He also loved sitting on the sofa and looking out of the window at the boats on the river,” she adds. For family-friendly dining, settle in at Cafe Viet for local treats with a twist, or let the hotel arrange a babysitter for a night and relax at the rooftop restaurant and bar The Sail, taking in the amazing views and grazing on Mediterranean bites.
For those visits to the beach and days spent exploring, you’re perfectly placed. “Aside from having a beach just a few minutes from the hotel (and great attractions easily within reach), I was amazed that we could easily take a day trip to Hoi An or even head over to Ba Na Hills to experience an entirely different world,” says Jessica. And did we mention the hotel is just 10 minutes from the airport? Smooth sailing.
Hilton Da Nang, 50 Bach Dang St, Hai Chau District 550000, Da Nang, Vietnam
Benefits for the fam
Book a family room at Hilton Da Nang, and children dine for free at Brasserie Nam (below 12 years old, and from the children’s menu) with accompanying adults! Exciting welcome goodies, kid-friendly TV channels and baby cots are also available for the young ones.
This story is in partnership with Hilton.