A Guide to Picturesque Vang Vieng – Laos

A Guide to Picturesque Vang Vieng – Laos

The picturesque Vang Vieng and its stunning surrounds is the first thing that will captivate you as you drive into this Popular tourist town in the country of Laos. The bubbly townships, the epic mountains that are visible throughout the town and the flowing rivers are what make Vang Vieng the perfect adventure for those who love the outdoor life.

Vang Vieng

Nam Song River, Vang Vieng.

Where is it

Vang Vieng is situated in the Vientiane Province, a good three hours north of the Laos Capital, also known as Vientiane. Although it is only about a hundred kilometres from the capital, poor and bendy roads make the trek that little bit longer.

Vang Vieng

Enter the streets of Vang Vieng.


Where to stay

Affordable accommodation can be found throughout Vang Vieng, whether it is crowded hostel for next to nothing or a cheap hotel for around $25 a night, whatever it is you seek you will find suitable accommodation to suit any budget.

I strongly recommend the Laos Haven Hotel and Spa, nice hotel that cost around 30 bucks a night, it comes with tidy private room, air conditioning, television and a bathroom. The hotel also comes with a boutique swimming pool which comes in handy when keeping cool in the Laos heat.

Laos haven Hotel

The swimming pool of Laos Haven.


Eating and drinking in Vang Vieng

You will not go hungry or thirsty in Vang Vieng with several great bars and restaurants to drink or dine in and at all a great price. Whether it is a meal at one of the many restaurants by the river with epic views or any basic restaurant along the busy streets, you will find great local and international meal to suit any taste bud.

If dancing, drinking and mingling with other party goers is your forte, then you will love the Sakura Bar. It is full on entertainment with crazy music, beer ping pong and cocktails to keep those bodies shaking for a great night out. Also, the staff love to hand out plenty of complimentary drinks to keep the party going. Perhaps the free drinks is to compliment the higher price it cost for an alcohol Beveridge, but heck, it all evens out in the end.

Sakura Bar

Get the party started at Sakura Bar.

The Riverhill Vang Vieng

The Riverhill Restaurant in Vang Vieng


Things to do in Picturesque Vang Vieng

Picturesque Vang Vieng is a must for any traveller who loves the great outdoors, with the stunning mountains and the beautiful Nam Song River well utilised on the many day trips that are available in area. At a very affordable price you will be able to create many adventures.

Here is a list of activities to do in Vang Vieng.

  • Kayaking the Nam Song River – Stunning views, but rapid waters give you a kayaking experience to remember. At one stage, you are admiring the views the next you are paddling furiously through the shallow water and trying to remain upright on the kayak.
    Picturesque Vang Vieng

    Kayaking the Nam Song River in Picturesque Vang Vieng.

  • Hot air Balloon – Witness picturesque Vang Vieng with a glorious bird’s eye view of the surrounding area. Don’t forget your camera as memories are bound to be made and captured while navigating the friendly skies.
  • Get an Adrenalin rush with Zip-lining – Get ready for a rush at high speeds with a zip-lining thrill adventure that will get the blood pumping and maybe for a few of you, the lungs screaming. Throughout any nerves that may come your way while participating in the zip-lining, don’t forget to pause for a moment and admire the amazing views around you.

    Zip-line and witness some thrills and glorious scenery.

  • Adventures in a dark water cave – I hope you are not afraid of the dark as you embark on an adventure that Indiana Jones would be proud of. Swim in cold water, slide down muddy slides and crawl in dark caves as you conquer the caves with a headlight as your only companion. Beware of spiders, they are everywhere in the caves.
    Vang Vieng

    Have an adventure in the caves.


  • The Magic of Blue Lagoon – You will fall in love with The Blue Lagoon upon arrival, even if the large crowds may make it a little disparaging. Clean fresh water, welcome shade from the heat and to chill and relax in the refreshing water, make the Blue lagoon a perfect pit-stop when you need a break from other strenuous activities in the surrounding the township.
    Blue Lagoon, Vang Vieng

    Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng

Travel Guide to Tanjung Benoa – Bali

Travel Guide to Tanjung Benoa – Bali

Tanjung Benoa is in the South-east part of Bali, Indonesia. A beautiful location, with some stunning sunrises, gorgeous beaches and a laidback township. Walking around in this boutique town won’t get you mobbed with locals desperate to sell you a stubby holder.

A little away from the popular Nusa Dua area and a twenty minute drive from Kuta. Tanjung Benoa is great for those who wish to escape the hustle and buste, with drinking cocktails by the beach and relaxing in the sun a popular past time.

Tanjung Benoa

Let’s go parasailing


Town Centre

The streets of Tanjung Benoa is an easy place to walk without the manic stress to buy a souvenoir. Go shopping in the boutique market stalls or stop in for a drink and feed at a relatively cheap price. You will find stretches of shops and restaurants in-between the luxury resorts.


Evening time in the town.


Praying on the streets




As in any part of Bali, shopping is conveient in the streets. However, Tanjung Benoa is not saturated with hundreds of markets and jewellery stalls. If it is basic women’s clothing or a singlet you are after, you will find a handful of market stalls in your travels down the main street.

Tanjung Benoa also has a few more upmarket retail stores with air conditioning that feature goods such as luggage/backpacks, picture frames, jewellery and other accessories, for those looking for a bargain.


A quiet market stall in Tanjung Benoa


Eating and Drinking

Restaurants, cafés and bars are naturally found in large numbers in Tanjung Benoa. If you seek a feed with a budget, then hit the streets and the smiling staff will be waiting outside, attempting to persuade you into their restaurant.

If you want to eat in style, then there are number of resorts with top notch restaurants who will welcome you with open arms, serving both Indonesia and Western Cuisines. Not to mention the world famous Starbucks for your coffee kick.

Popular restaurant and bars in Tanjung Benoa

–          Sakala Beach Club (luxury)

–          Meads Beach Bar and Grill (budget)

–          The Tao Bali (luxury)

–          Black Toms (budget)

–          The Tree (budget)

–          Eight Degrees South at Conrad Bali (luxury)

–          And many, many more, just check out TripAdvisor for more Information.

Great burgers at Black Tom’s.


The Sakala Restaurant.

Sakala Beach club

Sakala Beach club.




The area is made up of luxury resorts that do come at a price, but that does not mean you won’t find a few hotels at a cheaper price. If you do prefer to stay in style, then Tanjung Benoa is perfect for that large slice of paradise with stunning beach views and fine dining.

Popular Resorts in Tanjung Benoa

–          The Sakala Resort from $129 pn (luxury)

–          The Novel Bali Benoa from $149 pn (luxury)

–          Grand Aston Bali Beach Resort $200 pn (luxury)

–          Hotel Ibis Benoa $44 pn (budget)

–          The Benoa Beach Front Villas $54 pn (budget)

–          Check out TripAdvisor for more great prices on resorts in the area.

Sakala Resort

The Sakala Resort.

Luxury rooms at Luxury Resorts.



Activities all belong on the beach in Tanjung Benoa and the crowds gather to the sands in large numbers. Day trips submerge to the popular area for tourist who are keen for a little water activity on the beach.

Jet skiing, parasailing, a cruise to Turtle Island, boat fishing and much more can be found on the popular beach. Even if you haven’t booked a tour, you can rock up to any tour company located on the edge of the water. There you will find one of the friendly staff that will help organise a few activities at a great price.


Getting high in the blue sky.

Jet skiing is popular hobby on the beach.


Buy this In-depth Guide to Bali from Amazon

Follow Fair Dinkum Traveller On Social Media

<?php echo do_shortcode(

Travel Guide to Koombana Bay – Bunbury

Travel Guide to Koombana Bay – Bunbury

Koombana Bay is a summer sensation of Bunbury, Western Australia, it gets families flocking, couples romancing and the dolphins splashing around and putting on a show. Whether they mean to or not. The Bay has what you need as the temperatures starts to heat up. You can take a dip in the calm waters, go sailing, fine dine in style just around the corner or the stunning scenery that s around you.

Perhaps you enjoy the jet-skies or fishing off the boat. Playing beach volley ball on an open beach, while the kids get busy making sandcastles. Your day is covered in the Bay, and when one day is never enough, there is accommodation galore just a stone throw away. But more on that later, let’s get into it.

The Bay and the Bunbury Waterfront

The Bay and the Bunbury Waterfront


Where is Koombana Bay?

Koombana Bay is in the heart of the Bunbury town centre. Western Australia’s largest regional town, practically city. It is only less than two hours south of Perth, take the Kwinana Freeway, which eventually turns into the Forrest Highway. Soon enough you will run into Bunbury and the Bay. You won’t miss it.

Koombana Bay is a hit in summer with its calm waters.

Koombana Bay is a hit in summer with its calm waters.


Dolphin Discovery Centre

Let’s start with dolphins, we all love these mammals of the sea. The Dolphin Discovery Centre is in the heart of the Bay and you have a few choices to pick from.

Dolphin Discovery Centre

Dolphin Discovery Centre

You can visit the centre, learn, see and feed the different creatures of the sea. Study the dolphin habits and check them swim around in the digital theatre. Perhaps it is a coffee you are up for as you rest up in the café, while the kids play around on the playground. And if you are lucky enough, the dolphins will swim up nearby, which is monitored closely by the friendly volunteer staff on hand at the centre.

A volunteer n the lookout for dolphins.

A volunteer n the lookout for dolphins.

The next option is to take a cruise and spot the dolphins up close. Cruises run daily in the summer months and on weekends in winter, click the website for more details. It is a good way at making sure that your visit to Bunbury is complete by checking out the smiling dolphins in the flesh. If you don’t see dolphins, there is a money back condition.

Can you swim with dolphins? If that is your thing, you are all set. From October to April, there are daily cruises that leave early in the morning. Bring your bathers, snorkels and a towel and be ready to swim with the dolphins. It does cost a bit, so once again check out the website for details.

Dolphins in the Digital Theatre.

Dolphins in the Digital Theatre.


Koombana Bay

It is the most popular swimming beach in Bunbury, especially for families and for good reason. Being in the bay the waters are calm. It is perfect for kids to swim, under constant supervision of course, without fear of getting knocked out by a wave.

The pier at the bay.

The pier at the bay.

In the background, there are yachts anchored in the bay, all parked up and ready for sail. The boats are out for a day in the water as adrenalin enthusiasts get their tubes out and go for a spin off the back. While kayakers are out minding their own business and taking advantage of the, most times, excellent conditions. Just be careful of jet-skiers.

Then there are the sandy beaches, it runs for miles. It is perfect for a game of beach cricket or volleyball. The kids are out in their numbers running amok in the sand, building castles and having fun as kids should. It is a perfect spot to get out a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine and enjoy the scenery around you, even better at sunset. Either that, or you can buy a hamburgers and chips at the kiosk nearby.

The yachts anchored in the bay.

The yachts anchored in the bay.

Bunbury Waterfront

No need to get into the car. The Bunbury Waterfront is only a quick five-minute walk from the Bay. Once you get there, you are suddenly hit with a little Bunbury style and it is simply breathtaking.

The restaurants line up at the Bunbury Waterfront.

The restaurants line up at the Bunbury Waterfront.

There are apartments, hotels, cafes and restaurants, even a candy and ice-cream shop. The best part is, that it is situated right on the edge of the Koombana Bay as you overlook the stunning bay, which is full of activity and life as you dine in style with a gorgeous view.

Aristos at the Waterfront

It is perfect for lunch and even better at night, when the night clubs open and the place really livens up. Let’s take a look at some of the restaurants clubs available at the Waterfront.

  • Mash Brewery – Great food and even better beer. The Mash won’t let you own. Perfect for a date or a drink with friends.
  • Dome Café – Open from dawn to dusk, great for coffee and bite to eat. A great place to catch up on some gossip and a little downtime.
  • Taffy’s – It is not a restaurant but it will be the kids favourite place. This candy and ice-cream shop will liven up your kids as they gaze at all the candy, chocolate and fudge available. They can even watch the friendly staff make their famous salt-water taffy in the viewing area.
  • The Bayview Bar – A restaurant during the day, a bar every other time and a popular night spot in the evening. You get the best of both worlds at the Bayview Bar. It certainly is the pick of clubs in Bunbury.
  • Aristos – The best seafood shop, hands down in Bunbury, perhaps one of the best in the state. You will love feasting on the different range of seafood with a glass of white of wine as you hock into the chips.
  • Mesa by Casellas – The perfect fine dining, grill and tapas experience. If it is a quiet evening you are looking for Mesa is right for you. It is perfect for couples seeking a romantic night together, away from buzz of the previous restaurants mentioned.
The Dome at the Waterfront.

The Dome at the Waterfront.


There is a selection of accommodation available in and around the Koombana Bay and Waterfront Area. Anything from hotels, apartments, caravans and tents.

The Mantra Bunbury

Whatever you are looking for you are bound to find it. But let’s narrow it down a little bit.

  • Discovery Holiday park – Across the road from the Koombana Bay Beach, The Discovery Holiday Park is perfect for families. It has a selection of Villas, cabins and Caravans and tent sites on offer and is the most affordable accommodation in the area.
  • Quest Bunbury – Luxury apartments that comes with room service and stunning views. You will love putting your feet up and resting in style at The Quest.
  • Mantra Bunbury – The most glamorous of the lot, with serviced rooms, restaurant and a bar. It is the closest hotel to the popular Waterfront area. It is perfect if you plan on having a night out on the drink.

For more hotels in Bunbury, checkout TripAdvisor

Resting and admiring the Bay.

Resting and admiring the Bay.

There you have it. A run down on Koombana Bay at the Waterfront. If you are even in the vicinity of Bunbury this summer, come on down. There is plenty of activities, swimming and dining to be done and it may even surprise you, that a town like Bunbury can deliver so much value and entertainment.

Water sports are popular in the Bay.

Water sports are popular in the Bay.



Follow Fair Dinkum Traveller On Social Media

<?php echo do_shortcode(

Travel Guide to Koh Samui

Travel Guide to Koh Samui

From the moment you arrive in Koh Samui, you are instantly hit with the paradise you have been craving. The palm trees, the sounds of beach, the splash of the pool and the sound of ice dropping into your glass in readiness for your next cocktail.

It starts at the airport. The prettiest boutique airport you will ever see, appropriately themed to the occasion of the island. It is fair to say the vibe starts off good after hours of flying, with a tingling sensation of what excitement that lies ahead on your vacation.

Exiting the airport and getting into the island fails to dampen the positive mood as you get a sense of how the locals live. Markets, restaurants, and retail shops line the streets with the locals rushing around either by foot or by scooter, dodging traffic at will. You will never see a more fascinating sight than a mother on her scooter cradling her two children.

Let’s get to it. An Island of dreams and the paradise you have been searching far and wide to find.

Paradise at Chaweng Beach

Paradise at Chaweng Beach in Koh Samui.


  • Getting there
Koh Samui Airport

Koh Samui Airport.

The easiest way to get to Samui is by aeroplane, either being international or domestic. Although a lot of major airliners do not land in Samui, not to mean it will be difficult to get to the island from your home country. The competition is thin, therefore rather expensive.

I travelled with Air Asia from Australia, via Kuala Lumpur to Phuket. From there I caught a domestic flight with Bangkok Airways to Samui. Complicated but I did save a few hundred dollars travelling this way.

Another means of travel if arriving on the mainland of Thailand, is by bus then ferry. Much more affordable but it will take a heck of a lot longer. That just means you’ll be able to explore the beautiful country a little more.


  • Food
Papaya Salad with a little satay chicken

Papaya Salad with a little satay chicken.

Get ready for some curry with some coconut milk thrown in at dinner time. Thai food is delicious, whether ordering a delicious Tom Yum Soup to the very popular Papaya Salad. You can’t go wrong when ordering Thai and you won’t have to travel far to find a suitably priced restaurant to dine in for the evening. They are everywhere.


  • Beer
Koh Samui

Chang beer goes down well in sunny Koh Samui.

Ice cold beer, important to some of us. You never have to go too far on the island to get rid of your thirst and all at a low cost. Especially if you wander outside your resort. Bars and restaurants sell Thailand’s own Chang and Singha brand beers at no more than two dollars a pop. International beers also come at a good price.


  • Angthong Marine National Park
Angthong Marine National Park

Angthong Marine National Park

A National Park like none other and another taste of paradise. The blue ocean waters with an abundance of islands placed throughout, it is nothing short of stunning as you gaze atop the highest peak and look at nature at its incredible best.

A day cruise to Angthong is the number one to do list in Samui. Be prepared to be wowed as you hike to the peaks on the islands. Navigate your way amongst the national Park through the blue waters, even entering into the dark caves. Then snorkel and marvel at the sea creatures that call Anthong Marine National Park home.


  • Wat Plai Laem

Guanyin at Wat Plai Laem.

The spectacle that is Wat Plai Laem will dazzle your eyes as wander from sculpture to sculpture. The Buddhist temple where locals come to worship every day is a big tourist winner with attractions including The Fat Chinese Smiling Budda and the 18 arm image of Guanyin.


  • Chaweng
Chaweng Beach

The white sands of Chaweng Beach.

Swim, shop, relax, eat and a massage are your options in Chaweng. The main town centre on eastern side of the island is full on entertainment, with shopping during the day and clubbing during the night when the main hub Chaweng come well and truly alive.

Chaweng Beach is the fun beach of the island with pristine white sands. Resorts, bars, massage centres and restaurants are spread-out through the beach, where sun baking and cocktail drinking is a way of life. In the water is when you can get the adrenalin going with jet-skiing the rage on the open waters.

Central Festival Samui is the largest shopping centre in Koh Samui. Two levels of popular retails chains such as Nike, Rip Curl and Quicksilver, amongst other retail outlets. The complex also has food courts, cinemas and coffee shops.


  • Day Trips

Day tour Samui Style

Day trips are must and there are several to choose from. Whether it is a trip to Angthong, as mentioned earlier, or a four-wheel drive tour around the island. Brochures for these trips are always on hand at resorts but personally go to the stalls stationed in Chaweng. You will save money.


  • Accommodation
Mai Samui Resort

The stunning Mai Samui Resort.

You will not have any hassle finding accommodation in Samui. With many hotels, motels and resorts spread-out through the island you will find a range to cover all prices, whether it is a budget motel or a fancy resort.

Now I would be remised not to give the resort I stayed at a plug. Mai Samui Beach Resort and Spa. Located on the north-west side of the island and bit of travel away from the Chaweng. It is a resort with the lot, with three restaurants, four swimming pools, a spa centre and large comfortable rooms. It truly is another bit of paradise on a truly spectacular island.

Angthong National Park

Follow Fair Dinkum Traveller On Social Media

<?php echo do_shortcode(