Surfing the Gold Coast

Surfer girl pink

The Gold Coast of Australia truly is a paradise for surfing with four impressive point breaks and 70 kilometres of sandy beaches.  Many worldwide surfing competitions are held here as it is world renowned for its constant waves and beaches that are patrolled every day by qualified lifeguards.  There are many surf schools along the coast and is the ideal place for beginners to learn.

Aussie Top Four

Main Beach, Palm Beach, The Spit and Mermain Beach are places where you are certain to catch a wave.  The easterly swells and winds help to make ideal one to two foot swells and the point breaks give nice uncrowded waves.  The legendary four foot waves created by offshore cyclones attract huge numbers of surfers every few months.  The morning time is most suitable for boogie boarding and kit surfing at Narrowneck is the best place for these.

Surfer girl blue

At sunrise South Stradbroke Island is the place to be.  If you’re feeling brave, paddle from the Gold Coast to South Stradbroke, where you will find the freshest and most regular breaks in Queensland.  The waves are definitely worth the trip.

Mermaid Beach is one of the best spots for body boarding and to surf the timeless right-handers.  After a long day surfing chill out at the tall stands of Norfolk Island Pines that have made this safe beach so popular with adults and kids alike.

Close to the New South Wales border is the infamous Snapper Rocks Superbank.  Extending from Snapper Rocks Point, Ranbow Beach, the old Greenmount Headland, Coolangatta Beach and Kirra the sand bar was made when sand was moved from the Tweed River to prevent coastal erosion.  The Superbank is the place to go for some of the largest waves on the planet which makes it one of the busiest spots

Mermain statue on mermain beach

After a busy day surfing you will have a wide choice of surf clubs along the Gold Coast to have some food, drink and fun watching other people surfing.  Zagames Paradise Resort Gold Coast is great for families as it has a waterpark, kids club, ice-rink with arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, trivia nights and many more activities available.

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Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay

six senses hideaway

This post was written by my cheeky monkey friend Beth @

Of all of the designer accommodations available in Vietnam, Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay is one that moves to a different beat. Isolated from dizzying city lights and the roar of rush hour traffic, the island resort invites guests to take time out of their hectic lifestyles and appreciate the peace and serenity that only Mother Nature can offer.

Accessible only by a 20 minute boat ride, Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay’s secluded location stands out from popular resort town of Nha Trang. Upon arrival guests are greeted by a long stretch of white beach unsullied by mass tourism. Dotted along the coast are 58 pool villas, each ensconced in dense green foliage to ensure privacy. Built to reflect its natural surroundings, each unit features thatched roofs, timber beams and dried palm leaves lining the ceiling. Such rustic charm is given an added boost with al fresco bathrooms and open air living rooms, while private affinity pools, plush bedding and 24 hour butler service bring a touch of extravagance to this secluded heaven.

Vietnam: Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay

Like all other eco-conscious Six Senses properties, the boutique establishment is designed to blend into its environment, with no plastic, chemicals, bleach or paint used during the construction. Where possible local bamboo has been used for fences and wall cladding, while the majority of wood used has been recycled. These painstaking efforts have earned Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay accolades at the 2008 Annual Guide Awards setting an admirable example for others to emulate.

The resort’s dedication towards nature preservation may give it a rural outlook, yet guests need not worry when modern conveniences are at hand. Satellite television, broadband Internet access and DVD players enable guests to stay in touch, although most will prefer to spend their time outdoors basking in the sun and luxuriating in the island’s tranquil splendour.

With the lush island at one’s disposal, guests will feel the urge to head out as much as possible. Water sports enthusiasts can take advantage if the bay’s limpid waters, while the island’s hilly terrain provides guests with an appealing alternative to keep fit. Tucked away in the hillside is the world-renowned Six Senses Spa, offering a plethora of massages as well as local treatments such as Vietnamese facials and baths. From adrenaline-packed jaunts to lazy, indulgent afternoons, Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay’s comprehensive facilities are sure to cater to all tastes.

Vietnam: Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay

Should dining be more one’s cup of tea, get acquainted with the diverse cuisines offered by the resort. Dining by the Bay capitalises on its panoramic beach views with al fresco seating and a repertoire of local, fusion and international specialities. Dining by the Pool offers Vietnamese and international fare in the glow of candlelight, while dining by the Rocks presents a smorgasbord of flavours in an intimate setting overlooking the ocean.

For a truly exceptional experience, take a short boating excursion out to the various hidden coves, with a personal chef and waiter in tow. As the sun disappears over the horizon, guests can toast yet another spectacular day spent at Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay.

Vietnam: Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay


58 Pool Villas


Dining by the Bay- international and fusion

Dining by the Rocks- fine dining

Private Dining

Dining by the Pool- Vietnamese and international


Drinks by the Bay: bar- wine cave


Six Senses Spa, private infinity pool, in-villa butler, mini wine cellar, satellite TV, high-speed internet access, water sports and dive facilities, fitness centre, trekking and nature trails, library, business facilities

Green Features-

Designed to blend into the surroundings

Use of natural and recycled materials

Recycled water programme

Low energy consumption due to naturally ventilated design

Use of solar energy

Organic vegetable garden

Waste recycling


Nha Trang, Hon Rom, Hon Mot and Hon Mun


Nin Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam, Tel: +8458 372 8222, Email:, Website:

The well traveled Malaysia loving cheeky monkey can be found on her blog here.

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Banyan Tree Ringha – Hong Po Village

Banyan Tree Ringha

Tucked away on a slope in the mountainous Yunnan province, Zhongdian is an oasis of serenity and breathtaking beauty. The region has been designated the official Shangri-La by the Chinese government, and aptly so, for the aura of tranquillity it exudes. At an altitude of 3,200m above sea level, an immediate change in pace can be felt from cosmopolitan life as one contemplates the majestic peaks of the Yangtze range or stop for black shaggy yaks that meander across the highlands. This is a world whose innocence has been preserved in its edenic locale, and can be fully experienced at Banyan Tree Ringha’s luxury accommodation and world-class spa.

The main entrance to our villa at Banyan Tree Ringha

The main entrance to our villa at Banyan Tree Ringha

Banyan Tree Ringha Lobby

Banyan Tree Ringha Lobby

Partial view of the upstairs level ... this lodge was really huge

Partial view of the upstairs level … this lodge was really huge

Banyan Tree Ringha The fireplace which was not yet in use at this time of the year

Banyan Tree Ringha The fireplace which was not yet in use at this time of the year

Viewed from the outside, Banyan Tree Ringha’s lodges are harmoniously assimilated into the local environment. The highland escape encompasses refurbishedTibetan farmhouses that were transported log by log to the new site. Inside, rooms are dressed in bold colours, echoing the warm red furnishings and ornate Tibetan carpeting. Modern facilities such as sumptuous bedding and satellite television are paired with traditional wooden hand-crafted bathtubs and finely woven tapestries, while private balconies open up to magnificent tableaus of the mountains or the Ringha River below.

Banyan Tree Ringha The only sounds audible were moos, cow bells, and the river. Bliss.

Banyan Tree Ringha The only sounds audible were moos, cow bells, and the river. Bliss.

A nod towards traditional Tibetan heritage, the central compound is decorated with impressive pine pillars, exquisite carvings and intricate lacquer work. it is a grand display of Tibetan artistry, one highlighted by the retreat’s lavish indulgence on its guests. Indeed, one is pampered in all ways possible, whether with a soothing spa session with locally inspired treatments such as Tui Na, or a romantic dinner by the riverbank, showcasing seasonal delicacies from Llambo Restaurant, one of Banyan Tree Ringha’s two dining establishments.

Sesión de Masaje Chino Tui Na en Clínica Salud

Tui Na Massage

The integration of Banyan Tree Ringha with its environs goes beyond the merely cosmetic; it extends to being ecologically responsible and giving back to the local community. For instance, the retreat has maintained an ongoing interaction with village residents to tackle waste management problems, and spearheaded tree planting and river cleanup endeavours. Banyan Tree Ringha also sells indigenously made souvenirs, stimulating the local economy while enabling guests to depart with a cherished piece of the Tibetan prefecture.

Baiyu County,Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture,Sichuan Province,China

Tibetan Prefecture Landscape

Treks of varying intensity ranging from the Shudugang Acclimatisation Trek, to the Tsalong Village Trek are available to explore the vast landscape firsthand. Besides being a healthy and environmentally friendly way to discover the area, these excursions include farmhouse visits where guests can sample authentic local cuisine such as home-made yak cheese, and be immersed in the autochthonous culture.

Yunnan - Shudugang Lake

Yunnan – Shudugang Lake

As a rare glimpse into a lifestyle far removed from the stresses and pollution of modern living, staying at Banyan Tree Ringha will elicit renewed appreciation for wide open spaces and fresh air. It brings together the best of nature’s creations and a local way of life, evoking nostalgia for the simple pleasures that have become all too elusive today.

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Beach Bliss Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Beach Bliss

Sri Lanka Beach Bliss Photo Credit

The beautiful tear drop shaped island of Sri Lanka is popular with both sun seekers and explorers alike. There are many luscious sandy beaches, sprawling nature reserves and sites of great historic and religious importance.


Almost ladder to heaven Beach Bliss Sri Lanka Photo Credit

Within a short journey from the airport, Negombo is a popular place for visitors to either base themselves for the length of their holiday or just to use as a starting base. There are many beach hotels and although there are undoubtedly better beaches in Sri Lank,  Negombo still boasts a huge sandy beach. A lively bar scene and great food at reasonable prices make it a great place to begin your adventure in Sri Lanka.


Chocs Away Sri Lanka Island Photo Credit

To the north of Dambulla is the truly awe inspiring citadel of Sigiriya. Translating as “Lion Rock” it towers 200m high over the plains beneath. Inscriptions found around the caves in Sigiriya suggest that the area was used a religious retreat thousands of years ago. Sigiriya was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the early 80’s and no visit to Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit.

Top Dog at Sigiriya Sri Lanka

Top Dog at Sigiriya Sri Lanka Photo Credit

Wilpattu National Park is huge, and despite its wildlife suffering during the violence involving the Tamil Tigers it is beginning to thrive again. A visit to Wilpattu gives you the opportunity to see leopards, elephants and deer. Its vast size ensures that you never get the sense of being over crowded which only heightens the feeling of being in the animals’ natural habitat.

Top of the Sigiriya rock

Top of the Sigiriya rock Photo Credit

Colonial Kandy is one of the greenest areas of Sri Lanka and is easily reachable by rail or road from Colombo.
The tea gardens of Kandy are extremely well maintained and this contrasts with the rugged green hills that surround it. Kandy is also home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth which holds great importance to Buddhists in the country.

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Paris Hanoi Laboratoire & Parisian Cookery Schools

Paris Hanoi Laboratoire


A story of three brothers who started with a Vietnamese sandwich stall that grew into two restaurants. In 2011 they began giving classes in a converted factory. Now, the Paris Hanoi is the place to learn how to handle a wok and put Vietnamese flavours together. Classes are small, always with plenty of time to taste as you go, and they can accommodate English speakers.

How to get there: 9, rue Mont-Louis – Paris 11 – Tel. +33 (0) 7 60 54 08 48


O Chateau

O Chateau

This lively and unpretentious wine bar and restaurant has an impressive vaulted stone cellar where they hold wine tastings and wine pairing dinners. The sommeliers are all fully bilingual and the selection of wines eclectic.

How to get there: 68, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Paris 1 – Tel. +33 (0) 1 44 73 97 80


On Rue Tatin

Susan Loomis

Famous author and cook Susan Loomis offers classes in Paris and in her lovely fifteenth-century Normandy kitchen. Lots of time spent learning and even more spent enjoying and tasting what you’ve cooked.


Promenades Gourmandes


Paule Caillat and Aude Barbera are two true Parisiennes. This small but extremely warm, welcoming and professional outfit can take you on a gourmet tour, give you a lesson after a visit to the market or train you as a professional patissier.

How to get there: Tel. +33 (0) 1 48 04 56 84


Patricia Wells


The queen of French cooking and writing gives regular classes in Paris and Provence, following her principles of simplicity, intense flavours and culinary excellence. Again, great fun while you’re learning and an even better time when you sit down to eat and taste the wines Patricia loves and shares.

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About Me

Asian travel experiences in the enchanting Far East & beyond written by Sevy