Nha Trang is the most famous beach resort area in Vietnam. Established by the French and then expanded by the Americans it is now the place for tourists to go to relax on the beach. Personally, I didn't like it as much as I thought I might. It had a different quality about it's touristy-ness than Hoi An, and the people were more in your face, trying to sell you things from paperbacks, to fans and cigarettes. The city has a big Russian influence, and it's the second most common language, rather than English as elsewhere.
Our first morning was occupied on a boat trip to a nearby fishing village. We were given a short guided walk through the village and then taken back to our boat on the other side of the island by way of traditional basket boats. Two to a boat, plus the rower, they were rather more sea worthy than their appearance suggests.
|Fishing village, with fishing boats and basket boats.|
|At the market|
|On the street|
|Jamie and Christina in a basket boat|
You can't see it very clearly in the photo, but the rower of the boat is almost completely covered from head to toe - long sleeve top, long pants, socks with toes so she can wear them with her jandals, hat and scarf around the neck and a face mask and gloves. Understandably we questioned our guide as to what would make someone dress like this in 38 degree heat. Apparently it is all in the aid of fashion. In his words; the girl would cry if she got tanned because then she wouldn't be able to get a husband. We saw many more people (presumable women) dressed like this the rest of the trip.
After the fishing village we hopped back on the boat and headed out to an island for lunch. Well not exactly, we headed out to near and island with the intention of eating lunch on board after a snorkelling opportunity. However, this meant leaving the shelter of the inner harbour and the small swell combined with the snail's pace set by the boat meant that two of our party were violently sick, while the rest of us spent the trip concentrating on not being so. When we got to our destination and the boat was still rocking and swaying, and we realised that the plan was to be like this for the next two or three hours, consensus was that this was not tolerable and so our guide asked nicely, and then forcefully from the sound of the voices of the crew, for us to be taken ashore. Within view was a little resort like thing, I'm not sure what it was exactly except a jetty and a bunch of deck chairs and umbrellas, with some toilets. It cost us 20,000 to hire a chair, but we didn't object at this point. We think it also cost the crew to land at the jetty which might have been the source of their complaint. I can't believe we're the first group to have a seasick passenger. Surely it happens often enough that they have a contingency plan, though it didn't appear that way.
Eventually we got back to the hotel after more boat travel at the speed of three-legged corgi. That was pretty much the end of the day for most of us as we slept of the nausea and the lack of sleep from an early start after a late night.
The next day was a free day, so I decided to go for a walk to the beach. But it was too hot to stay there, and I couldn’t be bothered fretting over my belongings while swimming, so I went to the nearby park and read my book. Taking a cue form the locals I lay down on a bench and started reading in the shade. About half an hour later I was tapped on the feet and told through gestures that it was NOT okay to lie down and read, but it was okay to sit. Not quite sure about the distinction there.
Later I went for a walk to see the rest of the town, and obviously turned down a different street to the one I thought I had. Assuming it would all eventually connect up, I kept walking, though obviously I wasn't in the tourist district anymore. After a while, quite lost and with aching feet, I accepted a ride on a motorbike for 40,000 dong, over priced, but I didn’t care, and went back to the hotel.
So all in all, I wasn't impressed with Nha Trang. We'd had better food in Hue, better atmosphere in Hoi An, and I was just about over the insane heat. So I wasn't sad to leave, despite the prospect of another over night train.