(No.3, Vol.4, Apr-May 2014 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)
Photo: Mom Da Chim â€“ Lazibeach Resort
I settled in with a prime view of the ultramarine sea 20 metres behind a thin veil of slim-bodied casuarinaceae trees growing right from blinding white sands on Mom Da Chim â€“ Lazibeach Resort premises, still remembering my ride on a local bus through the wilder spaces of Southwestern Phan Thiet. The long but entertaining trip reminded me more of a journey on a creaky long boat with salty, thick wind from the high sea on the port side and hot and dry khamsin from sand dunes on the starboard. The peaceful scenes of coastal village life – the groups of locals taking a bite under the cool shadows of trees, rural houses lamed in white with their inhabitants taking siesta in their hammocks or watching the highway with occasional buses and trucks, hotels and resorts sparsely scattered here and there along the sandy shoreline with spaces of blue ocean in the background – were akin to fragments of some old documentary on how Phan Thiet used to be when it was untouched by the tourism industry.
I hopped off the bus and raced across the sizzling hot road into the saving shade of the Mom Da Chim â€“ Lazibeach Resort premises. The spacious two-level lobby of the main building with modern architecture, so surprising to find within rustic naturescapes, is a gateway to an impressive property with tropical garden at full bloom stretching out to the sandy beach and serving as green dome for lines of white bungalows, all built in the inspiring shape of birds with their wings spread wide and overlooking the sea.
As the porter guided me through the verdant spaces with two swimming pools to the sea view bungalow, I caught sight of brightly coloured colibri sailing in the air, birdsâ€™ nests on exotic treesâ€™ trunks swinging in the sea-breeze and a crane strolling on the green-grass carpet of the garden.
The ocean front bungalow suite I finally installed myself in impressed one with an open-air veranda spacious enough to contain a coffee table with cozy beach beds and boasted a cozy separate sitting area, high ceilings beautifully framed with jesting beams and hazelnut-coloured furniture. The prime vista of peaceful surroundings and the immense body of the sea rolling and toying a few steps away seduced one to give oneself immediately to all kinds of meditation-spiritual and otherwise.
The resortâ€™s Ocean Terrace Restaurant, covered in the shade of beach pines with indoor and open-air sitting areas, also featured an inspiring design of several dining decks, with an expansive menu embracing the culinary expanses of Asia and Europe, starting from local must-try specialties like â€˜lau tha hot potâ€™, Phan Thiet raw fish salad and all the seafood galore one can expect from a seaside region.
Step out of the resort garden made on the sandy beach and the uninterrupted spaces of the ocean and the shoreline running both sides till the very horizon are at oneâ€™s full sight. On both sides, as far as the eye can reach, not a single human silhouette can be seen; only the small fishing fleet of round basket boats parked on the sand and the rocks standing out of water and growing from the sand spectacularly at a distance.
Next morning, I headed to the Ke Ga Lighthouse, first of its kind in the country, built in 1899 by the French. Itâ€™s perched on a small island with the stunning sandy headland on its back. The islet with lighthouse just asks to be painted and to be reached immediately by swimming or by whisking to in the basket boats parked in plenty on the shore. It is divided from the mainland with a picturesque bay animated by small sea vessels of all kinds. Here, the peaceful images of coastal life can be observed at their full beauty; sun-and-sea-breeze- beaten sailors dragging their cockleshells with a good take of squid out on the shore. Once on the shore, the catch is sorted out and bought up in minutes by the owners of small eateries scattered along the seashore. By travelling further south along the highway, one can enjoy the spectacular coastal sights full of rustic charm, mixed with colourful dragon fruit plantations, juicy green rice fields and â€˜snowdriftsâ€™ of salt-licks stretching till the Ta Ku mountain with a splendid Buddha concrete statue on its top.
Located amidst truly spectacular nature surroundings away (but within reach, if needed) from a broad path well-trodden by tourists, Mom Da Chim â€“ Lazibeach Resort features four-star resort accommodations, from casually elegant standard rooms with balconies to bungalows and suites, allowing enjoyment of alluring beauty and sweet solitude of the yet wilder coastal area in complete comfort.
Mom Da Chim – Lazibeach Resort
Ly Thai To St, Tan Tien, Lagi, Binh Thuan Province. Tel: (062) 3874-458