We left windy Mui Ne and headed 250km north along the east coast to the beach town of Nha Trang. We’ve been travelling by bus which is insanely cheap and comfortable enough.
We’ve been catching sleeper busses that have reclining chairs and d bit but I have managed a couple of naps which is a bonus.
Nha Trang is a resort town which is insanely popular with Russians which was not expected. Shop signs and menus are written in Russian and there are dedicated Russian travel agents everywhere.
Nha Trang has a golden sand beach stretching 6km and is backed by a wealth of hotels, spas and shopping malls.
Resembling something of a mini Vegas, there are lights and glitzy attractions everywhere. It’s loud, brash and commercial but does have a beautiful promenade and manicured gardens.
On our first day we headed to the 100 Egg Thermal Spa.
The thermal part of this place makes perfect sense, the egg theme really doesn’t. This place is essentially an egg based theme park set in the hills of Nha Trang. They really took the egg novelty and ran with it, constructing 100 egg shaped private mud baths and dotting them around the complex. Everywhere we looked were egg structures, puns and topiary. We signed up for a day of pampering, including a thermal mud bath, steam room, tea bath, herbal massage and pool time.
The warm mud is said to have rejuvenating qualities and felt incredibly silky. We plastered ourselves in the stuff. Gary forgot to hold his nose when he went for a full head dunk which resulted in a manic few minutes of trying to cough up mud.
The herbal massage was amazing. It included traditional oil massage with hands and then a rub down with hot herbal bags that were insanely fragrant. These cloth bags contained a mix of herbs and were steamed so that they released extra aroma and essential oils when rubbed in our skin. A new experience and super relaxing until a bag slightly too warm was left on my back and then it shifted to a pleasure/pain dynamic. My masseuse was so fast and energetic that it felt as though I had 4 hands on me at any one time.
By the time we’d left the spa in our glowy, post-massage haze the pool area was rammed with Chinese tourists. Not wanting to fight with the crowds and lose our relaxed state of zen we headed back to Nha Trang.
The rest of our time here has been spent at the beach which is perfect for people watching.
There is a constant hustle and buzz in Vietnam and it’s an assault on the senses. The roar of the traffic in the background, the sizzle of fresh lobster being cooked on the sand and the low thump of base emanating from vibing beach clubs.
The beaches here are in no way as impressive as Thailand but what they lack in beauty, they make up for in atmosphere.
One evening we decided to have a couple of sundowners at Skylight, the tallest bar in Nha Trang with excellent views.
The music was actually good (a rare occurrence on this trip) and one cocktail turned into a few espresso martinis and before we knew it, it was midnight and we’d missed dinner.
This did give us an opportunity to sample some very late street eats including an incredibly tasty crepe with chicken and a dill and cheese sauce. Midnight calories are certainly not aiding our elusive search for fit beach bods but they were required for soakage.
We’ve had some great recommendations along the way when it comes to food and on our last dinner we hit the jackpot with Lac Canh. This shabby looking family joint was a good 40 min walk but it delivered a damn tasty dinner. We ordered the speciality of marinated beef and pork which was delivered to our table raw, along with a mini table-top BBQ.
Gary was head chef and did an honourable job considering the huge billows of smoke wafting directly into his face and the near pitch-black porch setting. The meat was so delicious when dipped in the rich soy and pepper and lime accompaniments. Even the stir fry veg side dish was delicious and way better than I could achieve at home.
We meandered through back streets on our return to the hotel. We love to walk where possible and it generally pays off with funny encounters or interesting insights into real life. The Vietnamese work hard, they are always grafting away.
Whether it’s selling tours, peddling foot massages or creating delicious roadside snacks, they are busy and friendly and keen to sell and it’s heartening.
Well they are mostly busy…
We had a whole day to stretch out before catching our night bus on the final day, which wasn’t helped by a midday checkout and torrential rain. We managed to while away the time in cafes whilst trying to book internal flights to Hanoi. Travel planning and admin is easily the source of most of our frustration these days and flights are a biggie. The local airlines specialise in advertising crazy low prices and then bumping absurd charges and taxes on at every stage of booking. However a 22hour bus ride was not an attractive alternative so we persevered. I tried to book via the painfully slow website on my phone and got to the payment part when the site crashed. Gary didn’t get this far on his phone before being repeatedly redirected. It took about an hour of failed attempts, three different devices and multiple f-bombs before success. With that sorted we boarded our sleeper bus and settled in for the next 12 hours as we drove North to Hoi An. All looking great until a very young Vietnamese girl boarded with a tiny baby….not the peaceful sleep we were hoping for.