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Coral, Kingfishers and Dragonflies: Wildlife Travel at Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô

A surfacing whale spouts water into the sky, the spray scattering like confetti thrown in a parade held to honor the splendors of the natural world.

One doesn’t associate such an inspiring scene with Vietnam, but it does in fact happen here. Just this year, for example, on numerous occasions, a pod of whales emerged to scoop up schools of fish beside a tourist boat off the coast of Phú Yên province.


While a whale sighting may be rare in Vietnam, incredible encounters with the natural world are daily occurrences when one ventures beyond urban landscapes. For example, white-throated kingfishers, a powerful muse for ancient poets who described it as having been born from rainbows, can be observed flittering from shrub to grass in Vietnamese forests and fields. Meanwhile, blossom-headed parakeets seem to fill the sky with falling petals while flocks of chattering Asian green bee-eaters put landscapes filled with car horns and construction noise to shame. These birds are in addition to the many frogs, lizards, snakes and insects that city dwellers too often forget live amongst us.


Thankfully, there are a few locales where travelers eager to embrace the nation’s rich biodiversity can head. Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô, for example, is situated on a 98-hectare plot of land that is 97% covered with vegetation and designed in such a way as to respect and protect native flora and fauna while fostering interactions with the “animal neighbors.” Since opening its doors in 2020, the resort has allowed visitors to not only enjoy luxurious accommodations influenced by the unique culture of Central Vietnam but also marvel at the natural world. 

Knowing nature exists around oneself is different than being able to experience it up close and personally. One can watch dragonflies whiz atop fields of blooming flowers or hear the nighttime calls of roosting owls without straying far from their rooms, but the resort enables more immersive experiences as well. A variety of tailored excursions led by knowledgeable in-house tour guides bring guests via bicycle motorbike or car and on foot to a vast array of nearby ecosystems such as the Vân Hòa Plateau or Xuân Đài Bay.

True to its name, which translates to “bay of corals,” Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô offers tremendous opportunities to explore the ocean’s varied ecosystems. Snorkeling in the clear waters just beyond majestic prehistoric cliffs introduces travelers to a angel, butterfly and clown fish as well as colorful coral, starfish and cuttlefish. And those that prefer not to swim can still take in the unique coast consisting of uniformly interlocking basalt rock columns formed by volcanic eruptions via kayak, catamaran and standup paddle board. And of course, the resort's one-kilometer-long private white sand beach is perfect for lazy afternoon sunbathing amidst the occasional duck call or the shadow of a passing stork. 

 While perhaps not as eye-catching as animals, plants are no less interesting or important. Phú Yên is famous for having been used as the shooting location for the idyllic “I See Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass.” Native flowering shrubs, trees heavy with ripe fruits, verdant bushes, vines, ferns and grasses that shiver when a soft breeze spreads across open plains can all be observed at the resort. Space remains to pay homage to humanity’s relationship with agriculture as well. Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô’s picturesque rice paddies invite guests to learn about the process of planting and harvesting according to traditional methods. 

Admiring nature demands respecting it and guests seek assurances that their presence causes as limited an impact as possible. Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô thus took painstaking efforts during construction to ensure as minimal changes to the ecosystem. 90% of the resort’s current landscape was already growing prior to their arrival and the 10% of added flora is all native to the region. A nursery was established to care for any plants that needed to be temporarily moved and the team was careful when establishing pathways so animals could continue their normal lives and routines unharmed. The resort plans to partner with local experts to not only help protect the coral reefs but expand educational programs for guests.

 It’s easy to think about nature as an abstract, but true transcendence comes from entering it. Hearing a chorus of croaking frogs beneath a star-filled sky; watching a bird return to its nest with food for the hungry beaks grasping beside shut eyes; savoring a fresh berry that was just plucked from a wild vine: such experiences may not be part of your daily routine, which makes them all the more profound. A trip to Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô thus serves as a welcome reminder of the joys of nature. 

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