Finding blissful seclusion in Nha Trang
In the wired, fast-paced world we live in, sometimes it feels like a luxury to simply disconnect and get away from it all. That’s my goal as I find myself heading north on Highway 1, the friendly vibes of Nha Trang fading behind me. Within minutes, the towering hotels of the strip are replaced by lush rice fields and banana plantations. Herds of buffalo out for a morning walk constitute a traffic jam. As we get closer to our destination and turn off the main road, fish and shrimp ponds and the occasional lotus field line both sides of the road.
* Images provided by Wild Beach resort
The area north of Nha Trang, with its many sparsely populated bays, have long been the home to luxe properties offering the lure of seclusion and tranquility. Wild Beach Resort & Spa shares the same real estate facing Van Phong Bay, an hour north of Nha Trang, but without the accompanying price tag. Set just shy of the sleepy fishing village of Ninh Van where the road literally ends at the sea, the resort enjoys some of the trappings of civilization like its own tennis court, spa and sauna, games room with foosball and billiards, restaurant and Jacuzzi, but eschews others, namely a glitzy lobby, raucous nightclub or even swanky rooms. Instead, what awaits is a one kilometer-long stretch of pristine beach, dotted with rustic, low-lying brick and terra cotta bungalows set amidst dense green jungle. Stone pathways edged with giant boulders and piles of improbably balanced rocks wind their way throughout the property, adding to its “back to nature” concept. Beach lovers will enjoy the huge window featured in the Sea View rooms and Ocean Suites looking out to the water so tantalizingly close that you half expect the surf to come rolling into the room – a more stunning vista to wake up to is difficult to imagine.
While any guest would be perfectly happy to laze around the pool or beach, adventure seekers need only hop in the resort’s war-era Jeep for the short trip down the road to the resort’s own beach club that is set up for camping, fishing, kayaking and diving. Dung, the resident diving instructor, takes us through our paces, helping us get suited up, showing us hand signals and having us practice our underwater breathing. Soon, we’re ready for our discovery dive, exploring the colourful reef just meters from shore. Shallow water makes it ideal for kids and beginners, whereas more experienced divers can arrange a boat out to Red Island just off the coast. Our dive over, we set off to explore the area, the coast road overlooking a series of photogenic bays leading us to the tiny village of Ninh Van whose claim to fame is the “No Number Pier,” a picturesque memorial to a weapons delivery ship that sank off its coast in 1968 (but heroically, not before delivering its payload). Other than that, “sleepy” is an overstatement for this charming town featuring a quilted landscape of onion patches and a single coffee shop that sits on its own deserted little cove.
We arrive back at the resort just in time for dinner. With few dining choices in close proximity other than a handful of cafés a bicycle ride away in the neighboring town of Ninh Phuoc, most guests go for the resort’s value-priced meal packages (Asian or Western options). Fortunately, the kitchen delivers a hearty, home- cooked meal of spring rolls, fried fish filet, caramelized shrimp, garlic-fried morning glory and a flavorsome spinach soup. An extensive a la carte menu is also available. With the sun setting and the sound of the waves just beyond the trees, we find ourselves happily settling into a rhythm, not dictated by electronic beeps and chirps, but by Mother Nature herself, appointing the Sun, the Moon and the tides as timekeepers on this blissful stretch of wild beach.
Wild Beach Resort & Spa offers four room categories: Sea Rock (Mountain View), Sea View, Ocean Suite and Beach Pool Bungalow, all featuring exposed brick walls, bamboo lamps and traditional furnishings. Doubles start at USD60. For more, including all-inclusive packages that cover room, transportation, food and diving, see www.wildbeachresort.com