The islands of northern Vietnam, easily accesible from Hanoi, are a regular feature on the bucket list of travelers to southeast Asia. Ha Long Bay is stupendously beautiful, home to literally majestic limestone towers that jut into the sky above the sea; if you're a kayaker or climber, this is where you want to be.
castaway island (6 images)
Many visitors settle for overnights on boats that sail the bay (codename: "booze cruise"), but there's a superior option set to open soon (codename: Castaway Island Resort). Designed by Hanoi-based firm VTN Architects, the resort is only accessible by boat and will — should, anyway — open for business this summer. The resort will consist of five huts, a restaurant and a pavillion; altogether, there's room for 160 guests.
Of particular interest to the design-minded among them are some of the practices used to create the resort, which relies heavily on bamboo. In line with traditional Vietnamese construction practices, the wood is soaked in mud, smoked and then bound together with additional rods, creating a literal building block of exceptional strength and flexibility. The vibe of the building's skeleton is reminiscent of a flying buttress, proving that vacations may be local, but engineering foundations are universal.