Travel diary

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Travel diary 2017-05-08T12:05:04+00:00

A peep into some of my travel journals.. 

From the diary of.. Jean.. Meeting the locals in Nha Trang

Aah, Nha Trang.. What time is it? Where was I..?.Whose that talking outside my door? What day is it? Do you wake up in a strange room feeling totally strange as well?

Aah…. memories instantly fill my mind! I am in Nha Trang, a beautiful seaside town..One hour’s short flight from Saigon.  I had a good nights’ rest, peaceful, and I felt great! I was well rested! Guess it must be time to get up, anyway.  Ok.. First things first, bathers on, let me investigate who is talking so loudly first! Oh.. I see.. The locals all gather to exercise… walk.. Talk.. Swim.. Tai chi. And by the looks of things, I was late!

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And all so very friendly. Just as well I’d grabbed my camera! A photographer is always prepared.  Like a good ‘boy scout!’! I chatted to these friendly men, Maybe they just wanted to practice English with me? Either way, I enjoyed their chattering.  I always say, “The world is a small place, so be nice to everybody you meet!”

meeting the locals nha trang

But I had things to do, so I enjoyed a brisk walk, and then a swim, though a word of warning though.  Don’t swim alone. This beach dips badly, and there were no lifeguards on duty!  And I’m lucky I am a strong swimmer, otherwise I might not be here to tell the rest of my Nha Trang tale! When I returned to my verandah, somebody had delivered a pot of ginger and lemongrass tea, with some very yummy cookies! What a lovely touch!

 my pot of ginger and lemon grass tea

Breakfast time, all that exercise and adrenaline has left me hungry.  First stop and have a quick chat with the gardener.. his gardens are a pleasure to wander around in. Thank you Mr Gardener!

meet the gardener

The choices here are amazing!

breakfast time

Of course being a tropical country, there are fruits galore. All kinds of weird and wonderful tasting ones.. Mangosteen, Rambutan, Longa, Starfruit, Papaya, Guava, waterapple, jackfruit, banana, bumpy apples, tamarind, persimmons, durian, coconut, dragon fruit.. And the list goes on! Oh not only fruit,  but the lightest fluffiest waffles, and croissants, and baguettes’ across Vietnam as well. This is thanks to their French Colonial past, an amazing coffee!

All served on very beautiful dragon fly crockery.  Aah, I do enjoy being on holiday!

There was art on display in the foyer of the Ana Mandara when I last visited, and I was in the right place, at the right time.

I was invited to be on National Television, to give my opinion about having this display of art in the foyer. Talk about ‘Meeting the Locals today!’!!!

Gosh, from the men on the beach, to the gardener, to the fruit and waffle server, and now Vietnam National television!   I am so sorry I didn’t buy this oil painting come to think of it!! I’ve learnt from previous times. “If you like it. Buy it!”  You’ll never see quite the same again, though you will find some amazing art across Vietnam.

art displayed at ana mandara

But once again, I was in a hurry.  I had a transfer to meet;

 I was going for a spa treatment on Ninh Van Bay Island!  Ninh Van Bay Island?

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay sits on dramatic Ninh Van Bay, with its impressive rock formations overlooking the East Vietnam Sea, white sand beach and towering mountains behind, all adding to the sense of being luxuriously at one with nature. The exclusive property also presents the reality of the destination, with an architectural style reflecting the traditions of Vietnam.

voyage across

This had to be the highlight of my trip to Nha Trang today, surely! Accessed only by speed boat (30mins) and when you get there, it feels like another world! They don’t normally allow day visitors, but all things can be arranged if you know somebody, who knows somebody!

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I had a spa treatment par excellence! And lunch as well. This completed a very indulgent day on this very exotic island! I’ll be back, for a few nights accommodation here one day soon!

Anybody interested in joining me?

 Accommodations at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay provide generous personal space and present an uncompromised standard of luxury. Accessible only by water, the 58 pool villas are situated on the beach front, on the hillside and over rock formations in which private swimming pools have been crafted.

 There are different types of rooms.. Rock Villas.. Beach Villas.. Presidential Villas..

My massage Spa Treatment left me feeling so relaxed, I was about to sink into that soft sofa and order a Campari and enjoy ‘Dinner on the Pier’, 

“Earth to Jean? There’s a ferry to catch. Return to the pier please!”

Ok… so I got back to the Mainland, Nha Trang with the workers… (Just in case any of you are thinking I’ve relocated and live permanently in paradise) I had a superb dinner at Ana Mandara, and crawled into my soft warm, cocoon, beachside bungalow room, with its gorgeous voile drapes!

Aah.. Such is the life of a very refreshed… very blessed traveler.

here’s a peep… of my next adventure…

I’ve got an appointment to meet Mai Loc, the local photographer this afternoon!  Mai Loc was discovered back in 1995, by Norwegian, Gunter and Eva. He was their Cyclo driver at that stage!  Loc was learning English; they were impressed by his eagerness, so they promised to pay for future English classes. They formed a friendship, kept in touch, and returned to visit Vietnam again in 1996 and 1997 for Loc’s wedding. They presented him with his first camera as a wedding gift.  In 1998 he inherited an amount of money from Gunter, shortly before he passed away. Friends encouraged Loc to sell his postcards/photography, in 2002 Eva returned, and she was so impressed with his progress, she took them back to Norway. In 2006, the Nordiclight Photo Festival in Kristiansund, Norway invited him to attend, and with the support of the Norway Photography Association and government officials, he finally got a visa.

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 Mai Loc has just opened his own gallery in Nha Trang as well, I was in for a treat! He was waiting at reception for me, with a helmet. Outside he led me towards his moped. Oh my gosh! I’d just seen how these drivers drive in Saigon! What was I thinking when I set up this appointment?  “No time for cold feet now Jean!”  So helmet on, on the back of his moped I got, and off we sped! In which direction? I couldn’t say! He did say over rush of the wind, and through his helmet that we were heading 35kms out of town!?!!? To a remote fishing village, not filled with tourists!  35kms! Oh dear me. And the sun was setting rapidly! Light was failing, so we sped off. Thankfully the roads in Nha Trang were quieter than Saigon! We got to this little village on the edge of the sea and my camera went into overdrive!

  nha trang 10

I ruined a pair of shoes with the wet fishy water, but it was a small price for the memory of this amazing afternoon! They say one picture is worth a thousand words? Well read on.

nha trang mai loc

Eventually all my camera disc had all been filled. And the light was fading real fast! So, we sped back to Nha Trang on the back of his moped, me this time like a local, so relaxed and at ease, surprising myself! He took me to his camera shop connection in Nha Trang, where he wheeled and dealed, a good price for some more new disc’s for the rest of my holiday in Vietnam. What a gentleman Mai was. I can thoroughly recommend this experience to anyone with a passion for photography! For further details, contact me for Mai’s contact details, etc.

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Next episode –a peep into a Pilates Tour of Vietnam.. where girls had fun! 

photo journals after photography trip TO DOHave Journal will travel! 

I escorted a small group of very energetic Pilates ladies to Vietnam during August 2013.

Vietnam 2013 002

Wonderful memories were made, new friendship formed, many laughs shared, and many pictures taken!

Vietnam 2013 007

We did cookery lesson with Ms Vy.. the very iconic chef in Hoi An who started the first Western Style kitchen.

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We checked into marvelous hotels.. Park Hyatt in Saigon, Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi, Anantara in Hoi An, Amantara in Lang Co

pilates combo with logo

We did Pilates in the most amazing settings.. rooftop gardens, in the middle of rice paddy fields,

combined la residence

We had lunches and dinners in the most amazing settings.. this one above is the La Residence in Hue.. ooh .. lovely! lovely!

after pilates girls spa banyan tree resort

We had spa treatments at the famous Banyan tree Lang Co.. amazing!

cheers girls lang co pilates i

We slurped, and cheered, and ate and tasted.. from exotic freshly squeezed coconut water, to the most exotic of cocktails..

Yoga_on_the_beach1Thanks girls.. this tour was life changing for me. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did?