Bao Dai Villas, Nha Trang - review by Rusty Compass
Nha Trang | see and do guide

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Bao Dai Villas, Nha Trang

| 25 Nov 2011

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Bao Dai Villas, Nha Trang
Cau Da, Vinh Nguyen Dist, Nha Trang - toward to the port from town

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Our rating
25 Nov 2011

Another long neglected piece of of Vietnam’s history, 1920’s Bao Dai Villas were built on Nha Trang’s finest piece of real estate as a local residence for the nation’s last Emperor. History buffs will enjoy a visit but don’t expect any information on the grand complex.

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Vietnam’s last Emperor, flamboyant Francophile, Bao Dai, built holiday villas in some of Vietnam’s most picturesque locations. In Nha Trang, he chose a bluff 5kms from downtown with a private beach and spectacular views across the bay.

The French colonial style villa complex has been decaying for decades and these days is more a relic of official neglect than the nation’s last dynasty. It operates as a rundown hotel where one of the city’s best assets is offered up, in poor condition, to travellers hoping to somehow connect with the country’s ever elusive past albeit while enjoying some of Nha Trang’s best views.

Visitors can make a visit to the expansive gardened compound, wander around the grounds and wonder what exactly this place was all about. The recently opened small museum in the main villa contains items of questionable authenticity and provides no  meaningful information on the history of the building or its connection to the former Emperor. The lovely little beach that’s connected to the complex is strewn with plastic and rubbish.

Despite all that, Bao Dai’s villa is definitely worth a visit for anyone travelling through Vietnam with historical discovery in their plan. You won’t learn a lot about Bao Dai, but you’ll take away a sense of something.

A quiet drink at the top of the bluff in front of the main villa looking over Vinpearl Island is a good place to contemplate Vietnam’s rulers old and new.
Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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