This month I’ve decided to get off the beaten track in more ways than one – not just taking in some of the best beaches that Vietnam has to offer, but doing it in a bit of style as well.
At the risk of raising an eyebrow or two, I’m on a luxury tour from Nha Thrang down to Mui Ne on Vietnam’s south east coast staying at the Mia Resorts – five star havens of tranquillity and beauty. Not my usual style, I know, but worth every penny, trust me.
This is mainly thanks to the fact that Vietnam is not an expensive place to begin with. So your budget doesn’t have to be outrageous.
The coastal city of Nha Thrang is a beautiful place, but I soon found it swarmed by too many Russians who liked to party, and Chinese who couldn’t swim. (Flailing about in their bright yellow life jackets) So I was glad to get away to the first of my two Mia resorts, just a few miles north of Nha Thrang.
Situated on a two-km stretch of exclusive beach, this five star collection of villas set in manicured lawns struck me as perfect place for families and even honeymooners. For me though, it was a chance to relax and explore the entire resort.
Imagine beginning your day with nothing but the sound of waves and a stunning view. Then, after breakfast, walking the beach or swimming in the crystal clear waters. I found yoga and scuba diving classes as well. Then came lunch, followed by cocktails at sunset, followed by a buffet dinner. So that by the time I got back to my bungalow, I was the only to run a bath in my luxury spa-like bathroom and sink into complete relaxation.
For those who still want to experience the city of Nha Thrang, however, there is a shuttle service that runs between the resort and the sailing club, which is also co-owned by Mia. I found it a great way to get into the Nha Thrang scene, without fully stepping out of Mia’s chilled concept. A place that relaxes by day, but cooks up a party storm by night. So much so in fact, it has now earned the reputation as one of the hottest places in Nha Thrang.
Next up, I headed for Mia’s even more reasonably-priced four-star resort in Mui Ne – 200 km’s further south down the coast. A laid-back little town famous for its sand dunes, Mui Ne is possibly best described as a kitesurfers paradise and a windsurfers dream. Much more than that though, it made me feel immediately at peace, as if the weight of the world had been lifted from me, and as if all I wanted to do was reach for a healthy drink, a good book and a vegetarian meal.
Yes, not exactly my usual style – again.
But with its unique jungle and beach shack style design, this was more a healthy retreat for body and mind. A place where they offer yoga for all ages, healthy food drinks all day, kite surfing and windsurfing lessons, a library and meditation area; and last but not least, a small luxury spa set in a lovely bit of jungle vegetation.
The Mia concept is simple, treat all human beings, wealthy or not, in a way they will find hard to forget for the rest of their lives. Yes, wealth made this place possible, but the impression I came away with from the Mia resorts was more purity than luxury. Places built in such a way as to leave you with a strange but wonderful feeling of nostalgia.
Getting to both Mui Ne and Nha Thrang is straight forward. You can arrive by plane, or by train (Nha Thrang is a stop on the main railway-line connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon). Or you can arrive like many adventurous bikers do, following the famous Ho Chi Minh trail.
One thing is for sure, for someone who normally loves the more adventurous places and who usually goes for places with a much lower price tag, I found that a little luxury in Vietnam goes a long, long way.
Until next time, let the world be your playground.
© 2016 – VIDA Magazine – Marc Casolani