5 ideas to start planning your summer escapes

By VnExpress   May 19, 2017 | 10:00 am GMT+7

Summer is here and it's really about time you treated yourself to a good dose of vitamin D and an escape from the daily grind. 

Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Discover the myriad of new theme parks across the country

Photo by VnExpress/Phuong SOn

Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Son

There has never been such a wave of new amusement parks opening across Vietnam as there is at the moment. VinGroup has added amusement complexes in nearly all of its resorts, including Hanoi, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc. Sun World has also opened four massive projects in the past couple of years: SunWorld Fansipan Legend in Sapa, Sunworld Halong in Quang Ninh, SunWorld Danang Wonders and Sunworld Bana Hills. All come with world class roller coasters, indoor and outdoor games and an infinite source of food and shopping opportunities. If you need somewhere to spend the day and enjoy a good dose of adrenaline, this makes for the perfect quick escape.

2. Pamper yourself at a spa

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Who doesn't love a spa? You just need to make time for it. If you are in Vietnam or planning to visit anytime soon, consider yourself lucky as you have access to some of the best spa centers in the world!

All major cities and beach destinations in Vietnam offer a bountiful selection of spa and massage facilities to match your budget. For residents and visitors in Ho Chi Minh City, check out Temple Leaf Spa which has several outlets in the city center (74/1a Hai Ba Trung) at affordable prices, or the high-end L'Apothiquaire Artisan Beauté in District 1. In Hanoi, try Sofitel Legend Metropole spa if you want a top-range facility, or turn to SpasHanoi (18 Hang Manh Street) for one hour of relaxation at a fraction of price. If you are interested in something more meaningful, contact Omamori spa operated by Blink Links which provides employment and income opportunities for the visually impaired - their new location is very centrally located.

Quick tip: Although the sun offers the vitamin D vital for your well-being, it's scorching heat is also a cause for concern if your skin is susceptible to pigment change. A weekly visit to detox your skin will leave you with an enviable glow after the summer.

3. Hiking in Sapa

Sapas rice paddies. Photo by VnExpress Photo Contest/Huynh Ngoc Dung

Sapa's rice paddies. Photo by VnExpress Photo Contest/Huynh Ngoc Dung

A holiday that can combine relaxation and exploration is often the most memorable. Leave your worries behind and forget your office chair. Fly to Hanoi and take the expressway that connects Noi Bai Airport to Lao Cai on a 3.5 hour ride. You will be in Sapa in no time.

The emerging new home-stays are the best places to stay: inexpensive, tasteful local decor and plenty of opportunities to mingle with ethnic villagers, why not? Spend time weaving with local Red Dzao women, make friends with Hmong kids in your community and enter a world that could not be further removed from the stress of modern life. Enjoy the mind-boggling natural beauty and tranquil village life that no tours can offer. Plus the good hike and climb will help you stretch your muscles and leave you feeling renewed after the trip.

Recommended home-stays in Sapa: Eco Palms House Sapa, MeKhoo & Zizi Sapa, Phori's House, Ta Phin Stone Garden Ecological.

4. Forget your busy life with a Ha Long Bay cruise

Ha Long Bay from above. Photo by VnExpress Photo Contest/Nguyen Minh Huyen

Ha Long Bay from above. Photo by VnExpress Photo Contest/Nguyen Minh Huyen

Sometimes you don't even realize what a huge collection of natural wonders Vietnam possesses. Ha Long Bay tops the list for many thanks to its magnificent rock formations and thousands of islets and caves rising out of the emerald waters. So why don't you take a break from the daily grind and plan a trip out to sea: a cruise in Ha Long is difficult to beat.

Ranging anywhere from a decent hostel bed and breakfast to extravagant luxury, Ha Long's cruises can satisfy the most challenging and demanding guests. A typical cruise trip that lasts for two or three days will take you to some of the bay's stunning caves, a floating village (which is among the oldest of its kind on the planet) and other exciting water based activities such as kayaking and squid-fishing. And for selfie-lovers, this is the time utilize of all your phone apps: there are just too many not to be missed opportunities.

The good news: as summer is generally the low season in Ha Long Bay, there are many great deals that can dip to as low as half of what you'd pay during peak season.

5. A vacation to remember on Phu Quoc

a man preparing a boat for tourists on a beach in Phu Quoc Island in southern Vietnam. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam

A man preparing a boat for tourists on a beach in Phu Quoc Island in southern Vietnam. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam

Phu Quoc Island is growing in popularity and is constantly touted in local media as the go-to destination of all time. It really is.

With sparkling azure waters, lush virgin mountainsides and world class beach villas, Phu Quoc has everything possible to charm you. That includes the night market in Duong Dong and the long lines of beautiful beaches that spread from center of the island right down to the southern tip, promising you a holiday to remember. Along with the new additions, local traditions are still alive and well: durian orchards, pepper plantations, pearl factories, bee farms, "sim" wine houses and fish sauce breweries. Discovering all of these local specialties may take you longer than you think. If you haven't added Phu Quoc to your bucket list yet, do it now.

Side note: There may be occasional showers if you visit Phu Quoc in summer, but if you are budget-conscious, it's still the best season to visit with many great hotel deals. The rain is only fleeting anyway. Avoid weekends though as flights may become expensive and beaches are flooded with tourists.

With these sizzling options awaiting, make sure you don't let your summer pass into mundanity.

Tags: summer