A haven of tranquility in Nha Trang, Vietnam
By Massimo Morello
We continue to seek out what is ‘too good to be true’. This is what drives travel: the desire to touch the matrix image.” So says Marc Augé, one of the world’s most noted contemporary anthropologists. In his view, travellers are undertaking their very own mission impossible. There are places, though, where it is possible to succeed.
Six Senses at Ninh Van Bay, in Vietnam, is a perfect example of a place that is ‘too good to be true’. In fact, with idyllic islands often the focus of a traveller’s dreams, it is easy to imagine that this is such a place – an ideal exacerbated by the need to arrive by boat.
Ninh Van Bay, however, is on a peninsula just north of Nha Trang, surrounded by forest-covered mountains that make it more isolated and remote than an island. It is a deep bay edged and dotted with rocks that look like sculptures, ringed by breath-taking sands that dip into the bien dong – the eastern sea, as the Vietnamese call the South China Sea. To avoid misunderstandings (it is a delicate subject), you could refer to these crystal clear waters as the ‘Vietnamese Mediterranean’, given the 250 days of sun per year and average temperature of 23 degrees celsius.
Here, everything is special, even by the exclusive standards of the planet’s jet set. New terms have been coined: the location is a ‘private peninsula’ and this ‘boutique retreat’ is designed in ‘eco-chic castaway’ style. The red national flag fluttering over the jetty – which provides a perfect setting for romantic dinners – seems almost a design touch.
The 58 villas – ranging in size from 176 to 271 square-metres with garden, terrace and private pool – are dotted around the bay, providing stunning views as well as privacy and relaxation, on the beach, among the rock formations, in the forest, on the slopes of the mountain. Each villa comes with its own butler to cater to every guest’s requirements.
For those who want to keep wondering if it is all too good to be true, a trip to the wine cave might be in order. While enjoying a Concha Y Toro late harvest sauvignon blanc, the answer seems to arrive with a little more haste.
Sometimes it’s just not enough…
It may sound impossible, but for some people a place like Six Senses is still not enough. Those wanting to get even further away from it all can be whisked to the deserted beach on the isle of Bai Nho. Available by day or by night, this exclusive castaway experience comes with a chef and a waiter to cook and serve a barbecue.
Six Senses Spa
At this spa, the senses are awakened even before you enter, simply by walking on the stone slab path and listening to the sound of a gentle waterfall in the forest. The menu includes ancient Vietnamese treatments, a programme of holistic therapies and a selection of wellness activities such as yoga and Tai Chi.
Two kilometres north of Nha Trang, after the bridge over the river Xom Bong (with views of the fishing harbour), the Hindu temple of Po Nagar stands atop a granite knoll. Consisting of four temple towers, is one of the best surviving structures built by Cham, the rulers of much of Indochina in the 7th century.
Under the rain
Two Vietnamese girls shelter from the rain under an umbrella. A ray of sunlight illuminates the raindrops and puddles. A rickshaw sits in the background. This is the photo, taken in 1987, that made Nha Trang photographer Long Thanh famous. His photos are collectable items and his gallery is a must-see. longthanhart.com
Tel: +84 583 728 222. Website: sixsenses.com/sixsensesninhvanbay. Daily rates: from $693 to $1130. Suggested accommodation: beachfront villa ($705). See website for longer stays and special packages.
“Rolling in the Reap” – The Amansara is temple town’s most luxurious accommodation for weary explorers