The coastal city of Phan Thiet

If you are looking for a quiet beach escape to enjoy a palm dotted coastline and various sightseeing opportunities in the surrounding area then it is a great idea to take either the train or a bus to Phan Thiet to have the relaxing time that everybody deserves and needs every once in a while.

 

Phan Thiet can be visited all year round and has its high season from October to April.

The city of Phan Thiet has a population of around 400.000 and has a coastline of more than 60 kilometers, most residents live in the city center but more than a quarter of the population live in the four wards, located along the coastline.

 

Besides tourism the main industries of the city are fishing and the manufacturing of fish sauce. Therefore you will find a colorful fleet of fishing boats at the port, which is definitely worth a visit for a picture moment.

 

The first introduction of tourism and its beach resorts took place in the mid-1990s in the wards of Hung Long and Phu Thuy in the city center as well as in the wards of Phu Hai and Ham Tien. A wheel was set in motion and from that point on lots of resorts, hotels, restaurants, shops and bars were built in the city of Phan Thiet.

One of the many reasons that people discovered the beauty and potential of Phan Thiet was because of the solar eclipse on October 24, 1995, as scientists predicted that one of the best places in the world to experience this total eclipse was on the beaches northeast of Phan Thiet’s city center.

Suoi Tien Phan Thiet

Every ward of Phan Thiet has its own sights to be discovered and unique characteristic:

 

South of the city center you will find Ke Ga and Tien Thanh ward which both will offer you a quiet and peaceful getaway. Due to the fact that there are only a few hundred of people living there you will have the chance to retreat in serenity without being bothered by the noise of motorbikes, cars and more of the hustle and bustle. In Ke Ga you will find the lighthouse which was built in 1899 by the French and provides breath-taking views for its visitors nowadays.

 

In the city center of Phan Thiet you will not be overwhelmed with beach resorts and therefore as a tourist you will have the chance to experience the hustle and bustle of a Vietnamese city once you would leave the resort. Here you also have the opportunity to enjoy traditional cuisine in many of the restaurants, go shopping in a mall or visit the museum and school where Ho Chi Minh taught before leaving to Paris.

Thap Poshanu Cham Tower

Along Ham Tien ward you will find a palm dotted beach strip where most of the action can be found, so if you are looking for action and something to do 24/7 then this is the place to be. This beach is called Rang beach and is famous for being one of the top kite surfing destinations in the world and along this 10 kilometer long beach you find loads of restaurants, souvenir shops, bars and tour operators. If you are up for the challenge you can rent and hire equipment and a instructor to give you lessons on how to kite surf or challenge the waves with a jet ski or windsurf.

 

One of the most beautiful sights to visit in Ham Tien is the ‘Fairy Stream’, which is a small stream that has created a colorful canyon marking its path in the sand dunes.

 

Just a stone throw away from Ham Tien you find the ward of Mui Ne which is made up of two communities and two beaches. When visiting Mui Ne it is a good idea to experience the lively town in the early morning when all the colorful fishing boats are heading back to the port or in the early evening when many of the locals go out for coffee or dinner at one of the many restaurants and cafes that can be found nearby.

 

The meaning of Mui Ne comes from the locals as the word ‘Mui’ means cape in Vietnamese and ‘Ne’ means shelter, this because for centuries they have been using the cape to shelter their fishing boats from the wind. This ward has two beaches named Ganh and Suoi Nuoc beach, especially for those who are not looking for a busy tourist strip this is an ideal location. The most visited attraction here are the red sand dunes.

Sand Dunes

Around 23 kilometers away from Mui Ne you will find the larger white sand dunes where one can visit by Jeep and upon arrival you have the choice to either discover these dunes further by jeep, quad or by foot. Also take the opportunity to make some beautiful pictures and slide down the dunes on a board provided to you by the local children, for a small fee.
No matter which ward you decide to visit, you definitely ( or for sure) will enjoy the great location that brings you lots of things to do and to see all around.

Hindu Temples & Sacred Monkeys

‘They say these monkeys are sacred’, our tour guide chuckled to himself in sheer delight.

I shrugged, returning his giggle with a knowing smile. Up until now, the notion of holy primates might have seemed pretty ludicrous to some. They do spend their days plucking lice from one another, after all. However, having spent the morning touring the temple-clad streets of Ubud, I was beginning to comprehend the significance of religion. As it turns out, in Bali, almost everything is sacred.

While wandering around an ancient temple earlier that day, our tour guide had explained that nearly 90 percent of Bali’s population practised Hinduism. Happy to do so, he enlightened us about the impact this has upon daily life.

‘We only eat the inexpensive fruit. All exotic fruit is reserved purely for our sacred temple offerings to please the Gods. We cannot have too many children because our festivals cost us a lot of money!’

He may have been smiling, but I understood the gravity of his statement. With constant preparation for ceremonies and festivals, all personal gain had to be put aside for dedication to faith. I probed him a little further, questioning the necessity of the luminous sarongs that had covered our legs at the time.

‘Our legs are evil so we must cover them up. Our heads, well, our heads are sacred. They are our connection to the Gods. You can never touch another man’s head or you will be breaking his link to the Gods.’

He went onto explain how his barber apologised at every visit, before proceeding to cut his hair. Clearly, spirituality was not something to be taken lightly.

So, for this very reason, by the time we were nestled within the leafy folds of the Ubud Monkey Forest, the word ‘sacred’ was yet to elicit an emotion. Other than the aforementioned shrug, of course. It wasn’t that the monkeys weren’t cute. Boy, were they cute. Bouncing around, grasping bananas and snatching water bottles from tourists – it was all very entertaining. However, aside from an oversized chimp hissing at me (perhaps I had displeased the Gods) I was yet to feel any kind of religious sentiment.

Moving swiftly on from the monkey forest – I think our guide could guess at our growing restlessness – we journeyed to the heart of Batur region. Yet another sacred spot, this area is renowned for its potent active volcano, Mount Batur, lording over a shimmering lake. Stopping at our lookout point, a verge carved into the mountainous village of Penelokan, our guide educated us about the significance of the Balinese mountains.

‘We have four sacred mountains: Agung, Batur, Batukao and Abang. The highest of them all – Gunung Agung – is considered the most sacred. This before you, Mount Batur, however, is also very sacred; it is the home of Dewi Danu, the Goddess of the Lake. Giving nourishment to the land, she is responsible for all the water distributed to central Bali’.

This abiding reverence for nature in all its forms was becoming a bit of a recurring theme; however, I was starting to see why. With visions of palm-fringed jungles and glistening lakes before me, how could I not?!

It wasn’t until our final stop of the day, however, that any real reverence ensued. Perched upon a craggy peninsula overlooking the Indian Ocean, Uluwatu Temple simply radiated serenity from the moment we arrived. A sentiment clearly reflected in the surrounding landscape, the gnarled cliff – withered by the gradual passing of time – clung ferociously to its virtuous asset.

As we wandered through the outer shell of Uluwatu to reach the inner sanctum, we were suddenly struck by a bustle of activity. There was a festival taking place and we had just strolled right into the ceremonial core. Standing back to admire the scene unfurling, we looked on with wide-eyed wonderment. Gaggling groups of men and women had assembled in small clusters, eagerly anticipating their call to prayer. Smiling, chatting, and passing colourful offerings to one another, their animated excitement was both humbling and contagious.

Silencing their chatter with a sudden stroke of solemnity, a bellowing sound echoed from a nearby speaker. Ascending into a rigorous chant, this spiritual prompt ushered the people to prayer like clockwork. Obediently filing through the temple doors, one by one the groups dwindled as individuals disappeared into the distance. Suddenly left stranded on the periphery, the foreignness of my presence was all too apparent. I longed to stride through the temple doors after them, joining in their meditative state. That was when it hit me: the religious sentiment that I had been so avidly searching for all day. With the power to move even the most pessimistic of people, Bali’s abundance of soul and rich tapestry of light and colour had won me over. Perhaps some things are truly sacred after all.

Healthy, Gorgeous, Tipsy Retreat

Need a break from Paradise? To some people that means getting away from Bali, but you may think your own little world is Paradise. Think again. Think about heading over to Sumba Island to indulge in a week of food, wine and fitness at The Healthy, Gorgeous & Tipsy Retreat from October 11th – 18th at the luxurious Nihiwatu Resort in a unique corner of Paradise.  It’s the perfect combination of a healthy and active getaway on an unspoiled tropical island  – without deprivation.

This is for an intimate group of luxury-loving, health-conscious men and women who want a sun- and fun-filled holiday that leaves you feeling lighter, energized and unstoppable….. without giving up a gorgeous glass of wine. Authenticity and a sense of humor are prerequisites for being part of this unique group.

A First Class Food, Wine & Fitness Retreat.

Nihiwatu, the leading luxury resort on Sumba Island in NTT Indonesia, just 1 flying hour from Bali, has partnered with Simone Baldwin, founder of Healthy, Gorgeous and Tipsy, Wine Expert and Raw Food Chef as well as health and hedonism believer to create an exclusive 7-day wellness retreat. The retreat aims to gather like-minded individuals in the tropical surroundings of Sumba Island, offering a complete body, mind, palate and soul experience.

Melbourne based Simone Baldwin acquired a love and passion for wine at a young age when her family established a vineyard in the Yarra Valley. When she switched to a plant-based diet she saw the dramatic result of a much healthier lifestyle. This inspired Simone to pursue a certificate as a Raw Food Chef and Instructor under the leading educator in raw cuisine Living Light Culinary Institute in California in 2013. Today, Simone and her company educate followers in the pleasures and benefits of a vegan diet accompanied by a glass of good wine.

Healthy, Gorgeous & Tipsy was founded by Simone Baldwin, and is dedicated to helping women and men who wish to dramatically enhance their quality of life by adding more raw and cooked vegan food to their lives.

On this unique retreat Simone offers her professionalism in wine appreciation and devotion to healthy eating with a supporting team of renowned experts including Sophie Navita, (holistic plant based Chef) and Sarah Fuson, (yoga teacher and group fitness instructor) offering a wide range of tailored activities. Sophie is known to many in Indonesia through her work as a TV host, actor, singer, celebrated chef and gifted teacher, while Sarah is famed for her authentic, non-judgmental teaching style and outgoing personality.

Simone says, “This is about discovering a lifestyle that will have you waking up every day feeling full of energy.” Nihiwatu will follow the essentials of Healthy, Gorgeous & Tipsy philosophy to allow guests to fully connect the inner health conscious hedonist with the incredible range of land and sea-based nature experiences which Nihiwatu offers.

Guests will also have the opportunity to experience the signature Nihi Oka Spa Safari, where they can spend a full day in a Balé overlooking the beach with a personal therapist who takes body, mind and spirit through a menu of massage treatments.

This will be The Ultimate Empowering Lifestyle Retreat.

Date: Sunday, 11th to Sunday, 18th October 2015 (7 Nights)

Tailored experiences include:

*  7 nights’ luxury villa accommodation with private butler

*  Organic and vegan meals including snacks throughout the day

*  Curated selection of organic and biodynamic wines and champagnes daily

*  Fine wine training with Simone Baldwin, Wine Expert and Raw Food Chef

*  Every night you will sample a variety of wine from around the world

*  Yoga, Pilates and Sumba Method with Sarah Fuson, Yoga Instructor

*  Cooking demonstrations by Sophie Navita, holistic plant based Chef

*  Up to 3 additional massages at your villa

*  Nihi Oka Spafari, hikes to Rice Island and the Blue Waterfall

Rates: US$5,937 per person (based on twin share), exclusive of air transportation from Bali to Sumba.

About Nihiwatu Resort

Nihiwatu Resort is situated in the wildness of the small island of Sumba in the Indian Ocean, stretching across 300 hectares of unspoiled natural land including a two and half-kilometer private beach. This spectacular all-villa resort offers secluded privacy and the ultimate in adventure and understated opulence.

The experience of Nihiwatu is one of unregulated freedom, understated luxury and unforgettable memories. Nihiwatu started as a vision to protect and preserve the unique culture of Sumba and empower the local communities to support themselves and their families. The resort is proud to employ over 90% local Sumbanese, a team that conveys a genuine spirit of island hospitality. American entrepreneur Chris Burch and prolific South African-born hotelier, James McBride acquired the resort in 2012.

Getting there:

Garuda flies daily from Bali to Sumba, departing at 13:00 and arriving at Tambolaka Airport, Sumba at 14:00. Travel time from the airport to Nihiwatu is 90 minutes and your transportation to the Resort is all taken care of.