What’s happening this Christmas?

Written by Zip Or. Posted in News and Events

Finding the Festive Season Festivities in Hoi An and Da Nang

He may be riding a scooter pulled by water buffalo instead of a sleigh pulled by reindeer, but Santa Clause is coming to town! Vietnam is not where one typically imagines Christmas celebrations but they’re here – many of them free or reasonably priced, many supporting local charities, and all open for you to join. Here’s what’s happening in Hoi An and Da Nang for Christmas!

Christmas Market (Hoi An)

Who: Hosted by Pop Up at Nomad Café, open to all

What: A festive Christmas market with live music, crafts and unique gifts for sale, food and drink available and the rumour of a Santa appearance.

When: Sunday, December 4, 10AM – 10PM

Where: Hoi An, 6, Le Hong Phong, Hoi An, Quang Nam-Da Nang, Vietnam



Christmas Charity Fair

Who: Hosted by Singapore International School

What: A family event with games for the kids, live music and Santa Clause! Food and drinks available for purchase. Game tickets are 10,000 VND a piece. A prize raffle will be held at the end. Santa will be there! All proceeds go to benefit Operation Smile.

When: Saturday, December 10, 2PM – 5PM

Where: SIS@DaNang campus, Vùng Trung 3, Hòa Hải, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng



Da Nang Santa Crawl

Who: Sponsored by local businesses

What: This is a fun adult evening of holiday drinks, nibbles and caroling! This year the crawl will begin at Premier Village Resort. Transportation is provided from there to Waterfront DaNang Restaurant and Bar, then to My Casa and will finish at The Village. Tickets are 500,000 VND a piece and include drinks, food and transportation for the evening. All proceeds go to benefit the Kianh Foundation. Prizes and raffles will occur throughout the crawl!

When: Friday, December 16






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Festive season! Festive deals.

Written by Justin. Posted in Uncategorized

Consider an Almanity Getaway this festive season

As the festive season fast approaches, many top resorts and hotels are offering holiday packages and discounts.  A holiday getaway is an excellent alternative, or addition, to traditional presents.  It allows you and your loved ones time together and the opportunity to share old – and create new – memories.

Central Vietnam is home to some of the world’s top places to stay.  Many offer access to the beach, fine dining options, spa services and luxury rooms or villas.  The Almanity Resort is now offering a deluxe holiday getaway package.  Starting at $290 you can enjoy a two night upgraded stay for two people – perfect for a romantic Christmas, Hanukah or New Years.  The package includes the Almanity’s renowned buffet breakfast and delicious dinner.  It also treats you and your partner to 90 minute visits to the My Chi Spa, one of Vietnam’s finest. Details below:



Contact Almanity with information above for more details.

This holiday season consider celebrating with a mini-vacation to one of Vietnam’s beautiful resorts.  The cool, greyness of Central Vietnam invites you to cosy up with family or reminisce with friends.  The attractive deals offer the chance to spoil yourself and loved ones with a bit of style.  After all, a holiday away is guaranteed to be more memorable than a new tie or pair of socks under the Christmas tree!








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L’aubergine 49 restaurant in Hoi An

Written by Justin. Posted in Food and Drink, Hoi An Blogs

One of Hoi An’s best restaurants

L’aubergine 49 is one of Hoi An’s hottest new restaurants. It combines a fusion of Vietnamese and Western style flavors, presented in a beautiful culinary display that you would only expect from a Parisian restaurant. Owner and Chef Thinh worked as a chef for ten years in London, Paris and Tokyo training under some of the world’s best culinary experts. He returned home recently to open his own restaurant and much the delight of locals, expats and tourists who have a passion for great food.

L’aubergine-49 restaurant

L’aubergine 49

L’Aubergine offers a relaxing dining atmosphere, modeled around a typical Vietnamese family home with intimate surroundings and soft lighting. The neighborhood it rests in has an authentic feel of Hoi An, chickens, ducks and even cows strolling past the front gates are common place and all a part of the experience.

They offer impressive three course meals for a very reasonable 350,000VND. Prices are a little higher than the standard Vietnamese restaurant but the standard of the food and service is fantastic. For a special night out that demands great food and tranquil surroundings we would definitely recommend L’Aubergine.


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Sports bars and pubs in Hoi An

Written by Justin. Posted in Food and Drink

Although there is plenty to do in Hoi An, there is not too much in the way of proper British and Irish style bars & pubs. There is an array of good restaurants that serve good local or Western food as well as the odd larger or exotic cocktail. Cold beer is easy to come by, selling for $1 on every street corner, so you wont go thirsty when walking round during the day. But if you are from the Paddy or O’Reilly clan and are planning a whole day-long pub crawl on a Friday night, you might well end up bitterly disappointed.

Hoi An Sports Bar

The only decent bars or pubs around the old town are Hoi An Sports Bar, 3 Dragons, Cham Dive bar and the very newly opened The Dublin Gates. The rest are mainly backpackers bars and although you can have a good time they are unfortunately not recommended. The hangover from the dodgy liquor they offer is really not pleasant. Vietnam as a whole is flooded with fake liquor, so be very careful when offered sensational discounts and 2 for 1 deals. This is bound to be fake liquor, which can be potentially very harmful to your health in high quantities. You are better off paying triple the price for the real deal at one of the more established bars or restaurants in town.

Outside of the old town and just a five minute scooter ride are some great beach bars which offer good food, drinks and unbeatable views. The most popular of these with the expats are by far, Soul Kitchen, An Bang Beach Club and The H’mong Sisters. They are all right next to each other and easy to find when you see the beach, head all the way down to the left side you wont be disappointed!







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Almanity’s amazing My Chi Spa

Written by Justin. Posted in Hoi An Blogs

There is nothing like getting away to a beautiful peaceful place with first class facilities on hand that meets your every desire. Almanity’s My Chi Spa boasts the largest resort spa in Vietnam where guests have access to exquisite daily spa and beauty treatments. A soothing & professional massage can relax the muscles and completely refresh the mind and spirit.

My Chi spa massage

The My Chi Spa prides itself on offering something very unique and personal. These journeys can help guests to connect to Hoi An’s ancient culture allowing for a more authentic and memorable experience. Visit My Chi spa for a modern interpretation of ancient fables, or even take a short journey into the local cuisine with their chefs and guides.

Almanity resort MyChi

The esteemed and trendy 4 Plates restaurant at Almanity also offers many delightful deals including a new “All You Can Eat” buffet every Thursday evening.

Enjoy an atmospheric journey with live music and exquisite tastes, smells and textures. Their buffet offers a variety of cuisines including Japanese, Italian, Vietnamese and Grill. Also keep an eye out for more Almanity weekend buffets, they are a great way to end a week.

For more information on offerings and specials get in contact with Almanity Resort and Spa or visit their website: www.almanityhoian.com

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Time to Clean Up Da Nang!

Written by Justin. Posted in Uncategorized

Vietnam is a country of great beauty.  Da Nang hosts one of the longest beaches in the world as well as tons of secret, secluded ones on Son Tra peninsula that can take your breath away.  There’s nothing more serene than lying on one of the local white sand beaches and admiring this unique culture and the wonderful blue sea.

Danangs beauty

Unless there’s litter in the way.

Danangs not beauty

Garbage is quickly destroying the charm and grace of the beaches we know and love around Da Nang.  Lack of environmental education – coupled with growing numbers of tourists, expats and adventurous locals – is taking its toll on the nature around this incredible city.

That’s why Da Nang Clean Up is organising a beach clean-up day on Sunday, June 5, World Environment Day.  Starting at 2 pm organisers and volunteers will gather at Bãi Nam, Sơn Trà, near Sơn Trà Resort & Spa.  Donations of water, snacks and especially your time are greatly needed – and appreciated.  To register for this important event, visit http://goo.gl/forms/vCbGlgu4SJfHx4OY2.  All are welcome!

Clean up Da Nang

It will be a day of purpose – and fun!  Come with friends or get ready to meet some new ones.  It will be a day of music, beach games and making a difference in your community, all with gorgeous Son Tra as the backdrop.

This event is organised by Evergreen Labs in collaboration with GreenViet Biodiversity Conservation Centre (GreenViet) and Son Tra Eco-Tourism Sea Management Board.

Come join us as we give back to a place that gives us so much beauty.  More details available at https://www.facebook.com/events/1005394312876244/ or e-mail Naphi at nhaphuongl@googlemail.com.




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An Expat Take on Tradition: Tet + Christmas = Tetmas

Written by Sarah Aldrich. Posted in Vietnamese Culture

For the Vietnamese, Tet is like Thanksgiving + Christmas + the New Year for Christian Americans. And as an expat, it’s important to know that, during Tet, businesses close down for anywhere from three days to two weeks and everyone—I mean everyone—goes home to be with their families.

A young Vietnamese woman who works at a restaurant that caters to expats told me that her boss offered to pay her a substantially increased wage to work through the Tet holiday. This woman called her mom to discuss the option of staying in Da Nang to earn extra money rather than traveling the six hours north to go home. She said her mom didn’t skip a beat with her response: “OK, that’s fine, and don’t bother coming home next year either.” The woman turned down the money and booked her train ticket home the next day. The restaurant closed down for two weeks. Even Vincom closed down for a few days! Though the CGV theater in Vincom seemed to be open when I drove past on the day after Tet. My family has a tradition of going to Christmas day movies in America. Maybe some Vietnamese families have a similar tradition.

The Vietnamese have many superstitions surrounding Tet. For those who want to know more, this illustrated guide explains things wonderfully.

An illustration of a Vietnamese home and a man holding a broom at its doorway.

Because of all the tourists, Hoi An doesn’t shut down as much during Tet, though some shops do have limited hours. We noticed lots of Chinese tourists on the streets of Hoi An since many Chinese use their days off for the lunar new year holiday to travel.

Hoi An’s sister to the north, Da Nang, feels particularly quiet during Tet. Because my boyfriend’s family was in town from America and wanted to celebrate a delayed Christmas, we enjoyed a made-up holiday of Tetmas during which we opened presents (I can’t believe how many presents they packed) and munched on traditional Tet snacks. Our feast included dried coconut and ginger, cashews, sweet and spicy dried meat (Vietnamese jerky), and Tet cakes, called bánh chưng, which are more savory than sweet and are made of rice, mung beans, and pork. We also had some American fudge and a traditional Polish dessert,  a nod to the culture of my boyfriend’s brother-in-law. We celebrated a couple of days early, but we even went so far as to barely leave the house, which is also the Vietnamese way. It was a perfect day for nesting, gray and dreary. I’m not sure if this is the Vietnamese way, but our transplanted group of eight watched three movies…some people watched four. Suffice it to say that if you plan to be in Da Nang over Tet, you should be well stocked up on entertainment. And it’s smart to stock up on food, though don’t freak out because you will be able to find some restaurants and shops open if you run out of supplies. It’s not the apocalypse.

To get into the spirit, our group went to the celebration at Oasis Tapas Bar that ushered in the year of the monkey with monkey-themed tunes playing outdoors and monkey-themed art on display and for sale to the first interested buyer. My boyfriend and my Tetmas gifts for our group were monkeys painted by local artists so we could always remember the trip and honor my boyfriend’s sister, who was the hostess and is a monkey herself. We also participated in the Tet traditions of taking photos by the flowers lining Bach Dang near the Monkey bridge during the day—#selfies—and watching the fireworks over the bridge on Tet Eve.

Were you in Hoi An or Da Nang for the Tet holiday? If so, how did you spend it?

[Adapted from sarahelizabethaldrich.com/blog]

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Santa Clause is Crawling to Town!

Written by Justin. Posted in News and Events

It seems it’s that time of year again when the white beards and red suits come out.   That’s right, Christmas is just around the corner.  And, perhaps more excitingly, the Santa Crawl is back in town!  One of Da Nang’s biggest – and most successful – charity events is also its most fun.  The Santa Crawl brings together friends, holiday cheer – and lots of booze – in the pursuit of helping others.

Santa Crawl Da Nang

This year’s stop offs for the Santa Crawl include Soho, Novotel, Waterfront, Wine Warehouse and local beer hoi just to spice things up a bit.  Tickets are available for purchase from Waterfront on Bach Dang Street for 500,000 VND each.  Buy early to ensure your place in the crawl!  The Santa Crawl starts at Novotel on Saturday, December 13 at 6 pm. Transportation between venues is provided.

Last year’s Crawl proved a great success.  One hundred and fifty Da Nangians participated along with a slew of bewildered local families who wondered what the crowd of fake Santas were doing. Ticket purchases and raffles during the Crawl managed to raise over 25 million VND for local charities.  This year the Crawl’s proceeds will be donated again to a noteworthy cause.

Sponsors will offer drawings for great prizes throughout the Crawl to ticketholders. Raffles for a host of bigger prizes – to be announced at the start of the Crawl – will be auctioned off to the highest bidders.

It’s going to be a lot of fun with Christmas caroling, live music, and free drinks and snacks provided at each venue.  Put on your party shoes, people, because Santa is crawling to town.

To get you in the mood, some photos of last year’s event Crawl…

Santa crawl


Salmon 1

Santa crawl da nang

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Hola Taco

Written by Justin. Posted in Food and Drink


Hola Taco is one of Hoi An’s newest eateries on the block and it comes packed with style and taste. Situated at 5 Phan Chau Trinh St, Hola Taco is a small Mexican fusion restaurant that creates tasty mexican inspired Tacos and Tapas. This stylishly decorated restaurant is owned and run by a husband and wife team who have recently moved from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. The decor is retro chic with an eclectic mix of wooden furniture, subtle colours and cool movie prints. Its a restaurant, cafe and living room all rolled into one relaxing atmosphere.

The menu is small but well thought out with a good list of Tacos that seem to be ever changing. Spiced slow cooked pork, Pan seared shrimp with pineapple and cucumber and spiced black bean, corn, red pepper and salsa are some of the combinations that Hola Taco create. The starters, like the tacos, are packed with flavour and freshness. Fresh guacomole with tortilla crisps, a fancy cabbage, coconut, pineapple and coriander coleslaw go beautifully with their BBQ rack of pork ribs or artisan Mexican Sausage. It’s Mexican but it’s not Tex Mex – you wont see jugs of margaritas or Chimichangas as big as your face here. Instead they concentrate on experimenting with flavour and freshness.

Hola Taco is a culinary breath of fresh air in a quaint town that welcomes thousands of international guests each year but manages to keep its Vietnamese charm. If you need a change from noodles and rice, check out Hola Taco, its perfect for a fun meal with friends or a casual couples meal.

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Full 4th of July Cowboy Swing at SOHO

Written by Justin. Posted in News and Events

Sure we might not all be American, but we all love a good party!  This Friday SOHO Bar in Da Nang, Vietnam will be hosting a 4th of July Party featuring drink specials and free American style snacks and food.  Whether you’re out to celebrate the true meaning of America’s Independence Day or just looking for free hot dogs and hamburgers, SOHO is the place to be this Friday evening.  Make sure to get there before 9 pm when the live music starts!

Soho 4 July partyFor those of you Yanks who happen to find yourself away from home on Independence Day it’ll be a great way to stave off homesickness.  For those of you who just want to have some fun, it’s time to come out with bells on.  All you can drink bottle and draft beers will be available for 100,000 VND and other drinks are available at prices that beg you to have a big night out.  Don’t make any plans for early Saturday morning.  Put that time aside for recovery and make Friday night the highlight of your week.

Americans may not have made it to the next stage of World Cup, but they do know how to have a good time.  Come raise a glass and have a dance as we celebrate the ol’ red, white and blue in uniquely SOHO style.

SOHO is located right on the eastside of the Han River next to the Dragon Bridge.

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