Nha Trang

Surrounded by step, dark green hills, the city hugs a long curve of yellow beach and a bay as blue as a fancy cocktail. Everywhere you look there are splashes of colour: yellow colonial mansions, red flame trees, the whirling hues of the Ferris wheel and the children's amusement park, vendors selling balloons and beach toys, beach umbrellas in bold, primary colours...

Life in this southern city revolves around the beach. you can roll out of bed, stroll to the sea, take your place at a waterfront cafe and watch the world go by. Or you can snooze under an umbrella on the sand, waking up to enjoy a swim or a massage. But don't confine yourself to the town's central beach. Take a boat trip to spend the day cruising through these islands, stopping to explore hidden coves where you can swim and snorkel in crystal clear water.

Should you tire of sand and surf, Nha Trang has several unusual sites, including a group of 9th century Cham towers and a stunning, 14-metre tall statue of the Buddha. Perched in the hills above town, the Buddha commands a stunning view of Nha Trang and the sparkling sea beyond.

When sunset's red glow has faded, you'll see the lights of the fishing boats, strung out across the bay like a string of glowing beads. While you sleep, the fishermen will be hard at work, catching the delicious seafood that will show up in the city's restaurants and markets the next day. But by the time you drink your morning coffee, the fishermen will be home asleep and the beach will be again devoted to blissful relaxation.