Cam Ranh, Vietnam

Photo: The Anam Resort

The cold weather is finally settling in for winter. It took a while. Autumn was unseasonably warm. October was gorgeous. Beach days extended into the beginning of November. While the first few days of December certainly didn’t feel like the holidays were fast approaching. But it couldn’t last. Temperatures aren’t getting above the 30s this week. So your mind is starting to wander to a place where they rarely dip below 75 degrees.

The South Central Coast of Vietnam has been on your wish list for a long time. Nha Trang is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Luxury resorts line its pristine stretches of fine sand. Dense jungles guard the mountains behind them. Water sports—especially scuba diving and yacht racing—draw people into the South China Sea’s warm water. Plus every meal features fresh seafood (you must try the lobster). The area just never fit into a trip to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, though.

So this time, instead of trying to add Nha Trang to your plans, you’re making it the focus of your trip. Once you settle on that decision, you start to frame your time around Cam Ranh. It’s a quieter area, not yet overdeveloped, located south of Nha Trang. Its airport used to be a major naval base along its own deep-water bay. French, American, and Russian forces used it as an airbase over the years. Swaying palm trees far outnumber troops now.

Photo: The Anam Resort

The Anam is the real reason you chose Cam Ranh. The resort—at the north end of the Northern Cam Ranh Peninsula—is breathtaking. Bougainvillea dots its grounds. The view includes white sand, turquoise water, and islands in the distance. It has colonial-era decor with mosaic-tile floors, hardwood accents, and Vietnamese lanterns. Black-and-white photographs of the country’s landscape fill the walls. Traditional Vietnamese dishes—banh canh cha ca and bun ca sura, barbecued pork rice paper rolls and bird’s nest soup—are served at the Indochine. While afternoon tea is available at the Saigon Bar.

But the resort isn’t stuck in a bygone time. Stand-alone villas feature rain showers and over-sized bathtubs, whose windows open to little gardens. Private plunge pools have views of the ocean. Larger pools dot the rest of the property. The Sri Mara Spa feels like a trip to Bali. Sunrise yoga is offered on the lawn overlooking the water. There’s a 3D movie theater and a putting green, too.

None of these features is unique in an area booming with new luxury resorts, though. It’s the resort’s philosophy that ultimately tips the scale. “No shoes. No news. No stress.” With such a relaxed vibe, you can easily postpone winter just a little bit longer.

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