Sunday, 10 December 2017

Nha Trang, Vietnam 23rd to 26rh November 2017

AirAsia recently started direct flights to this sea-side city. So, taking advantage of the promotion then, I organized a 4 days 3 nights stay for my sisters and my family. There were 6 of us adults making it convenient and economical to travel to and fro the airport and around the city by  van or large SUV.

For hotel accommodation, I managed to book the 5 star Sheraton hotel which is located at the strategic and popular Trang Phu street fronting the long stretch of sandy beach. The hotel is located almost at the end of one side of the hustle and bustle of the main tourist area. That is fine with us as it is merely a 15 mins casual walk from the hotel.

View from our hotel room balcony. Intercontinental hotel is opposite
View from 28th floor, Altitude Bar

The hotel was great. We booked the deluxe room. All rooms comes with a balcony with a side sea view. Very clean, relatively well maintained, bed nice and comfy with a spacious bathroom. Most importantly for me, a well equipped gym, jacuzzi and sauna for the ladies and to complete our seal of approval, buffet spread was good! And at the 28th floor is the Altitude bar. It offers great view of both the beach and the city especially at night. Vinpearl land amusement park on a nearby island linked by cable car can be seen from afar brightly lit up at night.
Pho Hoa noodle soup

Assortment of sauces and chillies

In terms of places of interest, in my opinion Nha Trang has more to offer than Danang. There is Vinpearl mentioned above which is great for families with kids or teens, soothing mud baths ( don't miss it), Dam Market, Long Son pagoda, Nha Trang Cathedral, Po Nagar Cham Towers, Con See Tre Tourist Village, etc.
Our hired van for the day

Thap Ba hot spring

Guaranteed better skin tone after mud
Day Two

Then comes the shower to wash away the mud
The invigorating jacuzzi pool

Long Son Pagoda

The hill and the statue of Buddha can be seen in the background 

Po Nagar Cham Towers

Strangely, the temples have a narrow entrance to the dim chambers inside

Hong Chong, it has a small cultural village and access to the rock formation

Tourists come here to see some unique rock formation jutting out to the sea. Come drop by for quick look.

Group photo of the entourage
Day Three

Dam Market. You can cover it in almost 45 mins to an hour. Typical market selling tourists items.

Nha Tho Nui or Nha Trang Cathedral

We stumble onto their local market when we exploring the city. Ad odd fruit indeed.

Shell fish

Local food

There is plenty restaurants for fresh seafood. You can either ask the hotel front desk or the cab driver for suggestions. The locals are generally very friendly. For value for money although not fine dining sea food, try Mr Ba for steamboat and charcoal grill combo buffet.

1st night. Yummy BBQ buffett. That is the actual name of the joint located on the street just behind Sheraton.
Seafood dinner on 2nd night.
Lol. Can't have enough seafood. On 3rd night, we had charcoal barbeque and steamboat. Try Mr Ba, worth the price of the meal per pax. They have a few restaurant all over town.

The whole group agreed it was a fun, gastronomical and relaxing getaway. Don't mind coming back again. Doesn't burn a hole in the pocket and it is only 2 hrs flight time. Fun getaway. Less motorcycle traffic than Hanoi and Ho Cinh Minh cities.

AirAsia Go. Flight + 3 nights hotel stay = RM1,053.00 per pax.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Mandarava Resort & Spa, Karon Beach, Phuket 17 to 20 September 2017

We decided to pamper ourselves or rather me with a 3 nights escapade at the 4.5 star Mandarava Resort & Spa. Since it was also my birthday, we booked the Panaromic Deluxe Room 1206.

The resort is nestled on a steep jungle fringed hill some 12 mintues walk from Karon beach. There's some walking to the restaurant for buffett breakfast, the gym and the main swimming pool. BTW, there are 5 swimming pools spread out across this resort!

 Kudos to the Hotel Management to have the entire resort in its natural surrounding with a rich and diverse plants, flowers and trees. There are even streams running through the grounds creating a relaxing and calming effect.

There is a daily shuttle van service back and forth to Karon Beach. However, there is no complimentary shuttle service to Patong town approximately 5 km away. It cost 150 baht one way by the hotel van. On the 3rd night, we rented a scooter instead for 300 baht to go to Patong town.

The room was big with a view of the ocean from afar but not exactly a panaromic view, lol. The bathroom came with a bath tub and a separate shower cubicle.

Buffet breakfast was alright (the best so far is still Pullman Arcadia, Phuket) and we had 3 consecutive extravagant dinners at the Sweet & Sour restaurant recommended by many in Trip Advisor which is locted just a few minutes walk from the resort.

All in all, a great 3 day escapade to celebrate my birthday.

AirAsiaGo. Tic plus hotel: RM1788.50.
Taxi to & fro KLIA2: RM75 x 2
Shuttle Mini Van to Karon Beach, 200 baht per pax.
Booked private taxi from Patong town, 800 baht.

Decent gym

View from room balcony

Karon Beach. Not as crowded as Patong beach.

Mango sticky rice