Virtual Vietnamese Spa Journey & How to Make Pho

What would Art of the Spa be without an occasional trip?  As much as I wish I could take a foray with every one of you, I’m afraid my poor wallet is flinching at the prospect.  So I’m doing the next best thing. . .  taking you on a virtual journey.

This week we visit Vietnam courtesy of the amazing folks at Exquisite Safaris.  Exquisite Safaris combines luxury travel and philanthropy – details below.  Thanks to them for providing the gorgeous slideshow from one of their vietnamese tours.

View highlights from Exquisite Safaris tour on the Vietnamese coast

To view: Hit slideshow button top left corner arrow. The show is on a loop.

One of the scenes from Exquisite Safaris Vietnamese Escape slideshow


The Relaxing Sala at Six Senses Hideaway Nha Trang

In Vietnam, Six Senses Evason Hideaway in Nha Trang‘s spa is located in a rockface next to a waterfall, an idyllic setting for relaxation.  Vietnamese spas are about health & Six Senses is not exception. Their spa journeys incorporate all facets of the body/soul including a wellness consultant to counsel guests on lifestyle.

The Hideaway even offers special journeys for Men & Teens.  Their three night  package includes the Oriental Spa Package (steam, sauna, traditional vietnamese herbal healer, vietnamese massage, natural vietnamese facial, floral footbath reflex zone foot spa and six senses signature tea).

Food: What pizza is to Italy, pho is to Vietnam.  They sell this soup (basically a broth with herbs & some type of meat – sort of like a pot’s luck) at the street cafe’s that abound everywhere.

If you’re inspired here’s a version from Allrecipes


5 pounds beef knuckle, with meat
2 pounds beef oxtail
1 white (daikon) radish, sliced
2 onions, chopped
2 ounces whole star anise pods
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 slice fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 1/2 pounds dried flat rice noodles
1/2 pound frozen beef sirloin


sriracha hot pepper sauce
hoisin sauce
thinly sliced onion
chopped fresh cilantro
bean sprouts (mung beans)
sweet Thai basil
thinly sliced green onion
limes, quartered


1. Place the beef knuckle in a very large (9 quart or more) pot. Season with salt, and fill pot with 2 gallons of water. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 2 hours.

2. Skim fat from the surface of the soup, and add the oxtail, radish and onions. Tie the anise pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns and ginger in a cheesecloth or place in a spice bag; add to the soup. Stir in sugar, salt and fish sauce. Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 4 more hours (the longer, the better). At the end of cooking, taste, and add salt as needed. Strain broth, and return to the pot to keep at a simmer. Discard spices and bones. Reserve meat from the beef knuckle for other uses if desired.

3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Soak the rice noodles in water for about 20 minutes, then cook in boiling water until soft, but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Slice the frozen beef paper thin. The meat must be thin enough to cook instantly.

4. Place some noodles into each bowl, and top with a few raw beef slices. Ladle boiling broth over the beef and noodles in the bowl. Serve with hoisin sauce and sriracha sauce on the side. Set onion, cilantro, bean sprouts, basil, green onions, and lime out at the table for individuals to add toppings to their liking.

Ready to go?  Spa wishes, Candy

PS:  Don’t forget to check out Exquisite Safaris they offer culturally connecting travel:

Private Transformation
Our signature private experiences are designed for people who prefer the privacy, freedom and flexibility of traveling alone, with a spouse, or an intimate tribe of family and friends. Exquisitely choreographed with time for relaxing and recharging, private is your prescription for deep decompression.

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Whether you bliss is ancient culture, deep meditation, shamanic rituals or prefer to seek infinity heli-skiing deep fresh powder, blowing bubbles to a great white shark or just power-gliding over Victoria Falls -we’ve negotiated your nirvana.

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