Gadabout's Corner

Bird of passage

Author: Yok (Page 1 of 8)

NYUANG OO PHEE, A Private Island in the Andaman Sea

When most people think of the Andaman Sea, there are many names we could shout: Similan Islands, Koh Lipe, Phuket, Krabi, Mergui Archipelago, Lampi Island and a stunner like Ngapali Beach. These are what I could come up with. What are the places that you could think of? Please let me know. 😍

Anyway, when talking about destinations in the Andaman Sea, I would never though of Nyuang Oo Phee Island. To be more honest, I never heard of this place until I found it on the internet and I booked my place almost right away! A holiday on a private island that is not too far from home simply sold itself to me.

Accommodation and Activities
  • November to May
  • Fire Show
  • Bar and restaurant on site
  • Snorkelling
  • Hiking
  • Boat trip
    • Island hopping
    • Scuba Diving

Nyuang Oo Phee is a small island in Kawthaung, Southern Myanmar. The island is a property of Nyuand Oo Phee Resort, the only resort on island and it is only open to customers between November and May. For other months, no customers can spend a night on the island due to weather condition. However, visit during the day is allowed during those months.

There is everything for a good holiday on the island, you are all covered. They even have a fire show every night! There is a bar and a restaurant on site. You could chose to stay in bungalow tents or rooms, with either stream or ocean view. Apart from swimming, you could also snorkel at their small house reef, looking for string rays and greet the moray eel, that is only about 200 metres off the store. You could ask any staff on the island to pin the exact location. They might even show you spot themselves.

You could also go on a boat trip, hopping to islands nearby, snorkelling at other areas or even scuba diving. Again, just talk to the staff or visit their website for more information. But if you want to stay dry, you could also hike around the resort. There are several trails that you could follow.

Getting There
  • Yangong, Myanmar
    • Fly to Kawthaung
    • Speed boat to the island
  • Ranong, Thailand
    • Grand Andaman Pier
    • Koh Song
    • Kawthaung
    • Speed Boat to the island

To get there is really simple, you could fly from Yangon, Myanmar to Kawthaung with Myanmar National Airlines. There are flights every day between the two cities. From Kawthaung, you only hop on the speed boat that you’ll have to pre-booked with the resort, enjoy the ride for 1.30 hour, hop off the boat and land on the soft, white sand!

You could also easily get there from Ranong, Thailand. You simply have to book yourself a boat ride from Grand Andaman Pier to Kawthaung. There is a custom at the pier. It’s awfully convenience. After 30 minutes, the boat will stop at Koh Song, which you’ll only have to pass your passport and the documents from Thai custom to the staff on the boat, wait for 5 minutes and you are legally through the border of Myanmar. The boat will continue its journey to Kawthaung for another hour. From there, you’ll spend another 1.30 on a fun ride to our destination!

Things to do in Kawthaung

  • Maliwan Waterfall and Hot Springs
  • Palautonetone Fishing Village
  • Temples

If you don’t want to immediately go to Nyuang Oo Phee Island, and want to wander around Kawthaung first, I’ve got a list for you.

Firstly, I’d recommend cooling off at the Maliwan Waterfall, where you can dip in the natural pool, while listening to the sound of water crushing. Not too far from here, there is a natural trail taking you to the Maliwan Hot Springs, where you can relax and bathe the wonderfulness of nature. 

Then, I’d recommend visiting the Palautonetone Fishing Village. It’s a small island in the North of Kawthaung, linked to the mainland by a wooden bridge. The bridge takes you into the mangrove, which leads to the hearth of the village. The bridge itself is fascinating. However, I also enjoyed walking through the village, seeing kids playing around, sneakily observed us with friendly smiles. Also, there are many different styles of temples to admire and a very clean beach on this tiny island.

The Accommodation


I’d highly recommend staying at the Victoria Cliff Hotel and Resort, which is under the same operation as the Nyuang Oo Phee Resort. So, it’s really easy to book your transportation and all with them. They even offer tours around Kawthaung as well. The perfect location of this place gives you a stunning view of the Andaman Sea, from your balcony or from their infinity pool! They even have a long bridge going further into the sea, giving you view of the city and the hotel itself. I also have to mention that the food is great!

Day Trip Itinerary
  • Island hopping from Kawthaung
  • Lunch at Nyaung Oo Phee Island
  • More islands
  • Back to Kawthaung

If your timing is not right or you can’t simply spend a night on the island, don’t give up. You could contact the hotel about their fun day trip. You’ll be in a speed boat, visiting different islands and snorkelling spots! You’ll get to enjoy the private island, where there are almost no footprints and the stunning beach!

Two Days Trip Itinerary

But if you want to spend a night there, you could simply book a two days trip via the resort as well. This helps to reduce all the huzzles. You’ll get to do the same thing, but after more islands in the evening, you’ll be back on the island, watching fire show by the beach and enjoying a peaceful sleep. Then you leave for Kawthaung the next morning. 🌞

I really enjoyed my time there as I got to see a lot of things but there were no huzzles with transportations and bits and pieces. I got to see cultures and a nature that is so pure and so private. You won’t feel lonely either because the people there are so warm. It’s a perfect place to wind down. 🙃

 

 

 

 

 

HANOI – CAT BA – HALONG BAY, Vietnam on a Budget

Are you thinking about going from Hanoi to Halong Bay but you’re not sure how to enjoy it with a happy wallet? I hope this post will give you some ideas as I’m going to tell you how I enjoyed my trip to Halong Bay. 😄

You can skip to the next bit if you already know about Halong Bay and definitely are going there but if you want a bit more convincing then please do read my rambling part. It’s not too long…

Halong Bay is packed with beauty, legend, culture and history. If you don’t know already, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage and a second winner of the New 7 Wonders of Nature for 2007.

This “Bay of Descending Dragons” is 120 kilometres long and throughout this distance, there are thousands of limestones islands. Some are small and some are big enough to settle down. Though, thousands of people chose not to live on these islands. There are four floating fishing villages among these islets and islands. It’s amazing to think that they live like that, doing everyday things like buying fresh ingredients, cooking, eating and repeating all of this to many levels cooler than how I live. As an addition to this already too cool not to witness, there are also many traditional Junk Boats, with colorful masts that perfectly contrast the blue of this bay. ⛵

How I went to Halong Bay?

I did some research before flying to Hanoi. I ended up with confused head because there are too many ways to visit Halong Bay, from 3 days cruise, party cruise, a private cruise and more. Many of these choices are too expensive for me and some are not very convenience with my time.

So, I decided that I’d go from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island, which is the largest island of Halong Bay. Then from there, I’ll cruise to the Halong Bay!

From Hanoi to Cat Ba Island with Good Morning Cat Ba
  • Pick up and drop off at hotels
  • Leaves Hanoi at 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • 3 hours trip
  • 32 USD for return ticket

I came across www.goodmorningcatba.com and contacted them through Facebook Messenger. They offer a package that pick you up from your hotel around Old Quarter streets of Hanoi, take care of all your belongings and take you to Tan Vu. Here is where you hop off the bus and jump on the speed boat and after 10 minutes, you’ll arrive at the Cat Ba Island, where they drop you off at your accommodation in town as well!

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

Things to do in Cat Ba Island
  • Rent a scooter and see the Lan Ha Bay
  • Observe cultures at temples and markets
  • Visit the Cannon Fort
  • Explore the Hospital Caves and its National Park
  • Relax by Cat Co beaches

When I was doing all my bookings. I planned to stay in Cat Ba for a day because I only think of it as a stopover, but then I extended my stay. There are so many things to do and see here. Cat Ba is just as amazing as Halong Bay itself. 😎

I’d recommend renting a scooter or a bicycle to go around the island. The view along the coast by Lan Ha Bay is stunning. There are many fishing boats and few floating restaurants if you are keen on some seafood munch. Otherwise, you could also eat like a local at their market, which opens until very late. You can also localize to a spiritual level by visiting their temples. Please dress appropriately, though they are not too strict about clothing.

                                                                     Floating restaurants

My favourite spot of Cat Ba is at the Cannon Fort. It gives you the view of the harbour and the bay. There is a small café up here, which is pretty nice after a walk around. Another cool place to visit is the Hospital Cave. The name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a three-storey bomb-proof hospital inside a cave that was built in the 70s. It’s definitely worth paying 40,000 VND for. The entrance is right by the Cat Ba National Park!

If you are looking for a place to relax after all this, simply chose a number from 1 to 3. There are three main beaches on the island, Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2 and Cat Co 3. All of them are located by resorts but you can still hang around and even order some cocktails into the mix. At Cat Co 3, there is a cliff-side walking trail that’ll take you to Cat Co 2. I went up there after the swim, so I was barefoot and it wasn’t a smart idea. The floor is pretty sharp and hot! 🔥

                                             Cliff-side walking trail between Cat Co 3 and Cat Co 2

I was staying at the Bay View Hotel. It’s close to the night market and the harbour. There is a restaurant on site and they arrange scooter rentals as well. I also booked my day trip to Halong Bay with them. Upon booking, make sure prices of everything are included.

                                  View from the walking trail between Cat Co 2 and Cat Co 3

Halong Bay – 1 Day Trip
  • Fishing Village
  • Monkey Island

Cat Ba Island is a very good departure spot to cruise the Halong Bay. It’s pretty close and there are many boats leaving the island every day! This makes it easy to modify your schedule or design your own excursion.

I decided to go on a full day trip, which they picked me up at Bay View Hotel at 8 a.m., took me to the pier, got me on a Junk Boat and took me through islands and islets of Halong Bay. We did cruise through a Fishing Village and I was in awe!

After some time of cruising, the boat stoped. We got off the boat, jumped on our Kayak and spent around an hour rowing through some limestone bridges and holes.  It’s beautiful and I enjoyed it with every sore arms. 💪

After we got back on the boat, they took us to an enclosed bay, where they started serving us lunch, which was much-needed after how little we’ve done. Once we were satisfied and all, we swam from the boat to a small island that has a small beach where we sun bathed or we could just snorkel around the bay too.

We spent few hours there, then the boat took us to the Monkey Island! This was the highlight of my trip, with monkeys on the white sandy beach! I couldn’t think of a better way to end my trip! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 😁

 

 

 

 

 

MAURITIUS Road Trip: One Week Itinerary

Mahébourg Waterfront, Mauritius

Not many have heard of Mauritius, but a lot of you might have heard of the Underwater Waterfall. It’s the biggest waterfall on Earth and it’s in Mauritius, an island with azure waters and soft sands.

Mauritius or Île Maurice in French comes with peaceful comfort, tons of activities, amazing wildlife, great curries and seafood. It’s a relax place with excellence flow.

Le Mourne Public Beach

I met a lot of vacationers with months in the country, while some were stopping by for few days. However, if you have about a week to spare, with a driving license, then you are welcomed with a simple road trip itinerary that you could easily adjust to your preferences.

One of many scenic routes of Mauritius

Firstly, please note that you’ll see diversity in this country. You’ll hear locals speaking to each other in English, French and Creole. You’ll see people from around the world and everyone’s different. This is the last place to feel awkward, because warm welcome is opened to everyone visiting Mauritius.

Cap Malheureux Church, Mauritius

Secondly, please also note that there is no complication in doing the road trip here. The island itself is pretty small, driving from the very south to the very north takes about 1.45 hours, while from left to right takes only about 1.30 hours. Food is easy to find, fresh sugar cane juice is even easier to find and public toilets are everywhere. Foreign driving licenses are accepted, roads have clear signages, petrol filling stations open until late and parkings are mostly free. GPS is not needed, sim card is not necessary, only a free map from the rental place and you are ready to enjoy your week in paradise! 🚗

Day 1 - Arrival

There is nothing much for the arrival day. It’s usually the day to do all boring bits, like exchanging money or buying sim card. For driving around Mauritius, you wouldn’t need any internet or GPS to navigate because free maps that you could grab from the airport or at your accommodations are already very clear. Also, roads here are not complicated at all.

Mauritius’ skyline

When you exit the Arrival Hall of the airport, you’ll spot many bureaux de change and on the right, you’ll see a hub of car rental services. I’d say it’s a great place to choose your car, negotiate, make payment, deposit, load your baggages and go. The boring bits are over! 😆

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

Day 2 - Poste Lafayette, Pereybere to Grand Baie
  • Poste Lafayette Public Beach
  • Roches Noires
  • Pereybere Public Beach
  • La Cuvette Public Beach
  • Grand Baie Public Beach

Poste Lafayette to Grand Baie

So, I’m gonna kick this off with Poste Lafayette. There are many beachfront resorts in this area, so if you happen to stay here then you are very near. Taking B15, you might wanna stop at Poste Lafayette Public Beach, which has a small sandy beach area, suitable for swimming. You could park and walk towards the north. You’ll be at Roches Noires, where you will find a massive area of black rock, with amazingly loud wave crashing sound, a sign warning people not to swim and public restrooms. This place is extremely picturesque due to the contrasting colors of black rock and blue sea. It’s also very energetic!

Black rock at the northern part of Poste Lafayette Beach

If you follow B13, you’ll arrive at the Pereybere Public Beach. It’s one of the very crowded beaches on the island, but that’s because you could do a lot here. There are heaps of food vendors, choices of restaurants and souvenir boutiques. The sea itself is also very calm, very safe to swim or you could even rent a kayak and spend hours here as well.

Beach art at Pereybere, with cute admirer

Next up, it’s La Cuvette Public Beach. This beach is an odd one, because it features everything. Cliffs hang on one end, rocks decorate the other end and between them are short sandy beaches. It’s nice to walk through all of this and decide your spot. Plus, if you wanna stay for long, then you could simply switch up and there are few shower facilities in the area as well.

The final stop of the day could be Grand Baie Public Beach. It’s really close to La Cuvette. There are many restaurants, cafes, clubs and bars that are by the beach and some even hang just above the sea. If you are not driving, then this is a good stop for few drinks and party scenes can be found here as well. 💃

The very clear water of Grand Baie

Day 3 - Port Louis to Mont Choisy
  • Port Louis Waterfront
    • Fort Adélaide
    • St James Cathedral
  • Trou aux Biches Beach
  • Mont Choisy Public Beach

Port Louis to Mont Choisy

First thing first, let’s head into town for some morning treats! Around the city area of Port Louis, parkings are not free and you can’t just park anywhere like in other places. But, once you are happy with the parking, I’m sure you’ll enjoy walking around the city. It has amazing waterfront with loads of souvenir kiosks. Port Louis Waterfront is a good stop for food. However, you could wander around Fort Adélaide or visit the oldest Anglican church of Mauritius at St James Cathedral.

Stained-glass windows of St James Cathedral, Port Luois, Muritius; Minolta A3

You might ended up spending many hours in Port Louis but once you are ready, we could head out to more beaches! Next stop is on B36 and it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius. The blue water of Trou aux Biches Beach is decorated by colorful sunbeds and white fine sand. It’s also a good snorkeling spot as well as jet skiing and paddle boarding.

However, if you are looking for something just as nice, but with less people, then you might wanna go to a beach next to this, which is the Mont Choisy Public Beach. It’s very quiet and peaceful here.

The peaceful scene of Mont Choisy Beach

Day 4 - Le Morne Brabant to Flic en Flac

One of many amazing views from Le Morne

  • Le Morne Brabant
  • Le Morne Public Beach
  • Flic en Flac Beach

Le Morne Brabant to Flic en Flac

Personally, one thing that I think you should try when in Mauritius is to hike Le Morne Brabant. It has been declared a World Heritage by UNESCO. It’s the most preserved area of the island. It also holds a lot of history as well. This mountain was used by escaping slaves, who would committed suicide by jumping off the cliff here.

The view from the top of Le Morne, with an elegance cross

During the hike, you’ll get amazing views of the island and the wildness of this mountain. It’s a must! To get to the very top, it’s only illegal to be accompanied with Mountain Guides of Yanature. They are the only people who have the right access to the route, otherwise you’ll be trespassing. Click here for more information and reservation.

Yanature, Beyond the Peaks

After you are back on the sea level, then you might as well freshen up a little. There is a stunning beach very close to the base of the hiking route. Le Morne Public Beach is a perfect place to have a fresh dip. The water feels good and the breeze is pretty nice. It’s not only a good spot for swimming, but it’s also good for any other watersport activities as well. A perfect spot to catch some waves here is called One Eye.

Le Mourne and its blue water

But if you are looking for a place with more watersport facilities, then head over to Flic en Flac Beach. It has long white sand beach and great scuba diving sites, especially the one called The Cathedral. It has an arch that you dive through the dark and greeted by warm light on the other end.

Day 5 - Chamarel to Macondé
  • Seven Coloured Earth
  • Chamarel Waterfall
  • Macondé

Chamerel to Macondé

For today, we’ll gonna go off the coast for a bit. We’ll start at Chamarel Village. There is so much to see here. One place not to miss is the Seven Coloured Earth. It’s almost like a rainbow on land, with families of turtles! 🐢

Not far from here, there is a lookout point that gives you a whole sight of the Chamarel Waterfall. So, you’ll probably ended up spending many happy hours here.

Next stop is at the very south tip of the country, there is a sharp curve called Macondé. It has a small stairway that gives you a better look of the road, which is very panoramic.

View of an excellence curve at Macondé

Day 6 - Gris Gris to Mahébourg

Sun is setting nicely at Mahébourg Waterfront

  • Gris Gris Beach
  • La Roche Qui Pleure
  • Pont Naturel
  • Blue Bay Beach
  • Pointe d’Esny Beach
  • Mahébourg

For today, we gonna start at the very south area of the island. At Gris Gris, there is a big space of rock beach. It may not be a place to swim but it surely looks nice in picture. From Gris Gris Beach, you could walk to La Roche Qui Pleure. It’s a rocky tip that looks like a crying man, with crashing waves as tear.

Then onto something similar, but too nice to skip is the Pont Naturel. You’ll have to park quite far and walk towards the tip of the land, searching for a bridge and a hole. You might wanna watch out for surprise waves and splashes that come out of nowhere. 😂

For our next place, it’s Blue Bay Beach. This is a perfect place to snorkel. The reef is amazing with loads of colourful fish. The next beach is by the Coastal Road. Pointe d’Esny Beach is a hidden gem. The beach is blocked by buildings of resorts and hotels. You’ll have to park by the road and find small pathways that you could take on foot to the beach. It’s very calm here.

Last stop for the day is Mahébourg. It’s a small town with cute waterfront and loads of restaurants. At Mahébourg Waterfront, you could walk towards Pointe Canon, which is a memorial place that gives you the view of few tiny islands close by.

One of tiny islands that can be seen from Mahébourg Waterfront

Day 7 - La Cambuse and the farewell

For the last day, I want to end the trip at La Cambuse Public Beach. It’s a long beach with big trees that have odd shapes because of the wind. The water is extremely blue and there are toilet facilities as well.

Then sadly, we have to leave. On to the next journey!

Locals with their boat at Mahébourg

 

 

 

 

 

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