GO: Monsoon season typically lasts from September through December in lush central Vietnam, with April tallying the lowest rainfall.
STAY: Hospitality is priority No. 1 at Laguna Lang Co, whether you stay at the Angsana Lang Co hotel or splurge on a private villa at the Banyan Tree. Either way you’ll enjoy deep soaking tubs, daily fresh fruit deliveries, kimono robes and even private infinity edge pools—before ever leaving your room. Onsite at Angsana is a meandering pool that totals 800 meters; or enjoy a stunning beachfront swim or lounge session.
DINE: Moomba is Angsana’s main hot spot, with a beach-casual vibe, international tapas menu and cocktails galore. Post-race the patio turns into an all-you-can-eat barbecue and social meetup. The Banyan Tree’s signature restaurant, Saffron, sits atop a hillside with sweeping views of Lang Co Bay. Try the “Orchid Set” prix fixe meal for an abundant array of gourmet Thai cuisine—at 900,000 VND per person (about $40) it’s one of the more expensive meals you’ll eat in Vietnam, but well worth the extravagance.
Spend a day in the port town of Hoi An, one of three Unesco World Heritage Sites within a short drive of Laguna Lang Co Resort, to find take-home trinkets and custom tailoring, or simply to stroll the architecturally preserved old town streets. A 17th-century Japanese covered bridge sets a focal point along the Thu Bon River, with countless cafés and the town’s Central Market spreading in either direction along the water’s edge. Don’t miss Reaching Out, a retail outlet exhibiting goods handmade by local disabled artisans and focused on fair-trade business practices (Reachingoutvietnam.com). Tourists are welcome to visit the artists at work in the studio next to the store, or enjoy a refreshment in the nearby Reaching Out Tea House. If hands-on is more your taste, try a cooking class with the chef at Morning Glory restaurant. A half-day lesson runs $27 and includes an excursion to the local market and preparation of a traditional Vietnamese meal. An added highlight for health-conscious athletes: In 2012, Hoi An joined the country’s smoke-free city campaign.
Get a buzz
Request a Vietnamese coffee and you’ll get a full-blown caffeine fix with potent flavor. The coffee is altogether intense and served inch high in a clear glass—likely to emphasize the impossibility of seeing through it.
Vietnam is teeming with energetic school children—nearly half of whom suffer from water-borne illnesses. Pro triathlete Chris Lieto’s organization More Than Sport partnered with Laguna Lang Co on a clean-water project to benefit local elementary schools along the race course. It’s an ongoing mission and everyone—whether visiting athletes or fans from afar—is invited to help.
With a warm 1.1-mile ocean swim, a 38-mile jungle and rice field-buffeted bike course, and a 7.4-mile run through the resort’s golf course grounds, the Laguna Lang Co Triathlon is well-suited to build on the legendary status of its sister race, the Laguna Phuket Triathlon. The 2013 inaugural event drew the likes of Chris McCormack, Chris Lieto, Belinda Granger and inaugural champions Massimo Cigana and Radka Vodickova, all eager to sample the sights, sounds and sense of Vietnam adventure.