Nihiwatu Sumba Island

Wainyapu Village on Sumba Island

You’re spoilt for choice among the 17,000 islands of the Indonesian archipelago, but this is the place to come to spoil yourself. Sip champagne in the outdoor spa bath as the sun sets over the pounding surf. Exotic villas are sculpted onto the cliff’s edge using thatch, bamboo and wood. Large rooms display tribal artefacts and ikat weavings, and you can relax into rattan chairs outside on the sea-facing balconies. Decadent dining could not be simpler: exquisite three-course lunches and dinners are served on communal wooden tables in the outdoor pavilions overlooking the pristine jungle-lined bay.

A landscape in Lamboya area with Sumba traditional village on the hill

Luxury is the lure, but there’s a truly remarkable humanitarian story at work here. Claude and Petra camped on one of Sumba’s isolated beaches for years with no electricity or running water while developing friendships with local people and gradually building a luxury resort that has done wonders for the health and education of the island’s local communities.

Sumba, Indonesia

Read More

Laos Waterfalls and Thai Gastronomy

Laos Waterfalls and Thai Gastronomy

Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city offers formal and informal tourists the opportunity to taste its exquisite culture. Street carts litter the sidewalks and you’ll find yourself dodging Scooters and passers-by as you browse the mysterious offerings of these highly affordable traditional street food merchants. If formal gourmet meals are your thing, skyscrapers that reach up into the clouds offer stunning views and luxurious multi-course dishes.

For those looking to dine in a less high profile location, the Molecular Idian Gastronomy Restaurant in Bangkok might just do the trick.

New Molecular Idian Restaurant in Bangkok: Gaggan

Photo credit

 The head chef here has cooked for Bill Clinton and trained in a world famous Spanish restaurant, El Bulli, so you are in safe hands. You’ll need to book ahead to reserve a highly coveted spot.

After filling your bellies in the evening, the next morning you might want to visit the temples of Banglamphu by day and ride the Skytrains to Sukhumvit to taste the nightlife.

Laos

Wat Sen Luang Prabang Buddhist temple

 Photo credit

Luang Prabang is one of the best-preserved heritage sites in Laos. Pictured above is Wat Sen, a Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang. King Kitsarath ordered this temple built in 1718 and it was recently restored in 1957 celebrating the Buddha’s birth 2500 years earlier. This temple is a true enchantment to visit. One of the first things you’ll notice is the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, especially expressed by the monks that worship here. Monks drift around peacefully – almost like they are in a different realm. The culture in a lot of Asian destinations – with Luang Prabang included – is heavily influenced by their agrarian traditions and this might somewhat explain the surreal differences here compared with western culture.

After a hard day of temple sightseeing – what better than to leap into one of Laos’ thundering waterfalls.

Kuang Si Falls Waterfall

 Photo credit

Kuang Si Falls or ‘Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls’ are a popular attraction to Laos adventurers. There is a small charge to visit this site and some pools even permit you to take a swim to cool down from that scorching hot far-eastern sunshine.

Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls

 Photo credit

Read More

Yogamagic Canvas Ecotel

yogamagic canvas ecotel

Spot the tents and flags from a distance – splashes of colour amid the palms, paddy fields and strolling buffalo. British Phil and Juliette greet you warmly – both are passionate about their natural retreat. In the bamboo, rammed-earth and palm-leafed restaurant, relax on soft cushions and watch the hummingbirds.

tent at yogamagic canvas ecotel

Floating flowers, water candles, a Buddha statue, soft Indian music and delicious treats are here – from perfect eggs florentine to generous vegetarian buffets. Be inspired by the use of local wood and cotton, solar-power, recycling, and organic fruit and veg. The peaceful and luxurious suite is inside, while the Rajastani hunting tents, each lined with a different color to represent one of the chakras, reveal comfy beds, wardrobes, a sink and a composting loo. Flower-filled gardens and outside showers are a short stroll.

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea

There’s yoga by day (you should choose it) and a pool, fires, and music performances by night. A small piece of paradise.

Read More

Antique Shopping in Kuala Lumpur

If you like to shop til you drop, Kuala Lumpur is the city for you. You have so much to see and such little time. If you’ve ever flown to Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia, you’ll have likely rode their world class metro. This air conditioned track chaser is fully air conditioned, something you will appreciate in year round baking heat. You can hop on and off this metro to reach different shopping areas throughout the day. You’ll love it!

Kuala Lumpur Metro

Photo credit

The metro from the airport will lead you into the city. From here you can roam the streets to become more acclimatised to your surroundings. UO Superstore in Chinatown (North) or Sogo department store (central) are open late into the night – so you have all the time in the world to shop your socks off. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, and who could resist with so many street vendors, we recommend sampling some chicken satay or nasi goring from a Hawker stall.

Hawker Stall Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit

These Hawker centers are open-air stalls that sell a wide variety of low cost food. In Saigon you can eat comfortably for less than $1-2, I’m not sure about Malaysia – please add a comment if you know!

Hawker Stall Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit

Antique shopping in Malaysia is a popular pursuit. In North East Kuala Lumpur, one very special antique dealer named the House of Suzie is open to the public from 10:00-21:30.

House of Suzie specialises in wood etchings. Not only can you buy the many pieces available at House of Suzie, but you can also watch the masters at work, etching the wood by hand.

House of Suzie Antique Etchings

Photo credit

House of Suzie Antique Etchings

Photo credit

Read More

Top casinos to visit when travelling in Australia

Casino

Gamblers tend to be a rather superstitions group of people, in fact only sportsmen and women are more superstitious overall. Australians with their inbuilt love of gambling are no exception, so it might seem a little strange that there are just thirteen casinos in the country. Of course in bingo the special call for number thirteen is “unlucky for some”, which presumably means that it is also lucky for some, but if you visit the Star Casino and Hotel in Sydney you will find that there is no room number thirteen, there is a twelve, a twelve A, and a fourteen.   If bingo does happen to be your game, then the Star is one of the best casinos in Australia to play it at. Australians love their bingo, but then they love just about any game that they can bet on. The Star is also just about the top location in the country for poker, which in many ways is on the opposite side of the spectrum from bingo. There are also just under 1,500 slot games and 300 gaming tables and if you feel like something to eat you can visit the Fat Noodle Restaurant or the more upmarket Century Restaurant which is famed for its splendid seafood.   While the Star is the second largest casino in Australia, the biggest is the Crown Casino in Melbourne. The rise in popularity of gaming sites such as   Perth also boasts a Crown casino which although currently smaller than either of those mentioned above is going though the planning process for a huge extension which will increase its number of slot machines to 2,500 and its gaming tables to 350 which should make it the second largest in the country.

Read More

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.

Read More

Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay


six senses hideaway

This post was written by my cheeky monkey friend Beth @ Thefashionlesslife.com

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

Rooms-

58 Pool Villas

Food-

Dining by the Bay- international and fusion

Dining by the Rocks- fine dining

Private Dining

Dining by the Pool- Vietnamese and international

Drinks-

Drinks by the Bay: bar- wine cave

Features-

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

Nearby-

Nha Trang, Hon Rom, Hon Mot and Hon Mun

Contact-

Nin Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam, Tel: +8458 372 8222, Email: reservations-ninhvan@sixsenses.com, Website: www.sixsenses.com

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

Read More

About Me

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