Arriving in Nha Trang was quite a strange experience as it is so different from all the places we have visited so far in Vietnam. It is a real ‘holiday’ destination (for Vietnamese as well as westerners) and has a Vietnamese feeling of a Spanish holiday resort! If you want peace and quiet then this is not the place for you, but we had a lot of fun there nonetheless.
Yet again, we found ourselves amidst a festival that we could not quite work out. It was the ‘Sea Festival’ and this meant there was a lot of activity along the promenade and also meant that the place was packed!
We felt in need of a few days of activities so we took part in some of the many activities on offer. We spent a day on a boat trip exploring four of the nearby nine islands that Nha Trang is famous for. This allowed us to enjoy some decent snorkelling, swimming and even included a free music show from the ‘boy band’ who were also our tour guides and shipmates! The trip included a stop at the aquarium, which had an interesting and varied selection of sea life, though left you feeling a little sad that many were kept in tanks that were just too small.
The next day we decided to take our lives into our own hands and hit the Vietnamese roads! We still did not have the courage to hire a motorbike (which many do), but we did hire bicycles for the day. Cycling along the roads was an experience that we are not going to forget in a hurry – people come at you as they are riding on the wrong side of the road and as you come to a big road junction, you have to fight your fear to get to where you need to be. Still, the ride was a really nice way to see some of the town (and meant we did some well called for exercise) and our guide, Son was excellent at looking after us. Our destination was the thermal springs and mud baths and they do exactly what they say on the packet! We should apparently be fully reinvigorated by the experience and all impurities should be cleansed from our bodies. I am not sure about that, but it was fun. You have to follow a series of steps moving from hot mineral showers to 15 minutes in a mud bath to a hydrotherapy session and then 30 minutes in a hot thermal bath. At the end of it, we just wanted to jump in some cold water, but even the swimming pools had warm ‘mineral’ water in them!
It was then back to chilling on the beach. Nha Trang is a very long beach and there are many water sports on offer. The sailing looked especially good as there was plenty of wind. We spent the day at the Louisianne restaurant and beach bar, which had comfortable sun loungers and decent food. Probably the best food we had here was the fresh crab and shrimp cooked by a lady on the beach. She seemed to find it amusing that I was not very good at working my way through the crab and took to showing me how it should be done, whilst tickling my stomach with a crab claw – much to the amusement of everyone else on the beach! We also spent one evening at the ‘Sailing Club’ which seems to be the party hang out and this was also fun, though the heads were a little sore the next day!
We had fun in Nha Trang, but would not consider it a ‘must see’. Apparently, Mui Ne is much quieter and prettier. So, now its back to the mayhem as we hit Ho Chi Minh City, before winding our way to Cambodia through the Mekong Delta – it’s a hard life!
‘Til next time…
Harriet and Ben
Harry and Ben’s trip is sponsored by The Nam Hai