Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang is a popular beach destination in central Vietnam.  It’s popular not only to tourists but for locals as well.  It’s a fairly large city with ample amounts of beachfront resorts and more being constructed all the time.  There are two main beaches, both of which are clean and have beautiful sand.  The boardwalk that stretches the full length of the main beach is paved flat and has several benches for sitting and relaxing.  Within the city of Nha Trang there isn’t much to do but within walking distance are a few sights worth visiting.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam

I had taken a bus from Dalat full of youngins who had out done themselves the night prior.  They were barfing in bags and in the worst of moods.  Bummer for them, because this specific ride, was one of the most beautiful rides I have ever been on.  Coming down the mountains there was spectacular views of the ocean and we passed several waterfalls.  I some how got lucky, and no one sat next to me, so I had two seats to myself where I could stretch out.  I tried to get some writing done for the blog but the views were too good.  I had 4 hours worth of Above and Beyond downloaded on my phone, so it was basically the best ride ever.   Great music and stunning views.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam

I arrived in Nha Trang mid day and checked into my hostel.  I was feeling more energetic than I typically do after a bus ride, so I decided to head straight out to see the sights.   I walked down to the beach and stopped into a café for some lunch.   After lunch I headed to the beach boardwalk and wandered the entire length of the main beach.  I found my way to an attraction called Hon Chong Rock Promontory.  Basically, it’s some big rocks on the beach with a fantastic ocean view.   There were many tourists, so I didn’t stay long.  Not to mention, it was hot and rocks don’t offer much shade.

Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam

Next I headed to the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers so I could feed my need for history.  These impressive towers were built between the 7th and 12th centuries. There was originally 7 or 8 towers but only 4 remain today.  These towers are still used for worship amongst Cham, Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhists.  The towers are dedicated to and got their name from Yan Po Nagar, the goddess of the country.   I arrived at the best time possible in the early evening around 4pm.  It was busy when I first entered but soon after it started to clear as people needed to get back to tour buses and head off for dinner.  It became quiet as the sun started to set and the photos are fantastic!

Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam

I headed back into town to get some dinner and it must not have been very memorable because I have no idea what I had.  Poor memory, or did I block it out mentally?  Not sure.  The next morning I was up early and headed downstairs to work on the blog.  It was so early that I woke the poor front desk receptionist sleeping on a cot.  I told him not to mind me, that I didn’t need anything.  I was able to get some work done before they started serving breakfast.  After breakfast I headed out to try to find a cathedral and temple I had read about.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam

I had marked the cathedral on my google maps, but never found it.  Instead, I ended up in a far out local market tucked between back streets.  I wandered through in awe because the markets here in Vietnam are extremely fascinating.  They use every part of the animals, they slaughter them right there, and there’s nothing sanitary about any of it.  But it’s their culture and I love it.  I sat down at a little table with a lady making tiny egg and coconut pancakes out of little clay dishes.  I sat down and made an awkward signal for eating (I’m sure you can picture this) and she happily whipped me up some sauce and showed me the ropes.  She kept adding more of these bite sized treats until I was about to explode.  It was hard to turn her down because she seemed so genuinely happy that I was sitting with her!  I thanked her, paid and then went on my way.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam

I gave up on the cathedral and headed for the temple, which was much easier to find.  It was so hot at this point that I honestly thought I might pass out.  The temple had three different levels. The first being the courtyard and monk quarters.  The second had a giant reclining Buddha and the third a giant white Buddha.  Climbing the stairs was what I imagine it would be like doing a stair master in hell.  There was no shade to escape the heat and the stairs were made of stones, which the heat was reflecting off, making me feel like I was in an inferno.  When I got to the top I was drenched in sweat.  I was sweating in places I didn’t know could sweat.  For example, inside my ears, as well as between my fingers.  I wonder if that’s how it feels to bleed out?  Sorry, a bit morbid, but just a thought.  I’m not sure where the sweat was coming from, but apparently I have an endless supply.

Long Son Pagoda- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Long Son Pagoda- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Long Son Pagoda- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Long Son Pagoda- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Long Son Pagoda- Nha Trang, Vietnam

Needless to say, I snapped my photos and descended back to ground level as quickly as possible.  I bought a large bottle of cold water and drank the whole 1.5 liters in 2 minutes flat.  I slumped under a tree until I started to feel more like myself, then I headed back into town.  I had read about a cafe that I wanted to visit.  On my way to the cafe I found myself in yet another market only this one was much bigger.  I love how the woman set up their shops.  The fruit and vegetables are so colorful and they really work hard to drive those sales.  I wish I could buy more at markets but I have nowhere to keep food and most hostels don’t allow food in the rooms.  I never get sick of the markets though, even though I can’t ever buy anything.  The animals and meat I could do without though.  That part makes me sad.

Market- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Market- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Market- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Market- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Market- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Market- Nha Trang, Vietnam

The cafe I found was called Rainforest Cafe, but not like the American version.  This cafe made me feel like I was sitting in a jungle, and Tarzan was about to swoop down on a vine to join me and my spring rolls.  It was tastefully decorated in a way that wasn’t over the top.  It was located on a busy street corner and was open air besides one room with AC.  Typically I would be soaking up the AC in that room, but the outdoor seating was tranquil and calming, so I decided to sit outside.   Each table and seating area had ample fans to keep people from dying.  The whole cafe was three floors with several staff ready to jump at any sign of needing attention.  The staff were my favorite part of this experience.  It’s extremely rare to get good service in SE Asia.  They just don’t look at service the way we do in the States.  Unless you’re in a fancy hotel or restaurant, which let’s be real, I never am.  The staff here were truly special, they were the kind of people I hope to employ someday.  Kuddos to whoever is running this joint, because they spoke good English, never once dropped their smiles and it felt genuine.  I hope they get paid well, because they deserve it.  I ordered spring rolls, which honestly, could have been better.  The coffee, however, was fantastic.  I wasn’t ready to leave, so I also ordered a ginger tea, which had fresh slices of ginger and was spicy in the best kind of way.

Rainforest Cafe- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Rainforest Cafe- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Rainforest Cafe- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Rainforest Cafe- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Rainforest Cafe- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Rainforest Cafe- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Rainforest Cafe- Nha Trang, Vietnam

That night I was lame, as I typically am, and stayed in reading my book and went to bed early.  I wasn’t feeling good and could tell I had caught another cold.  Obviously, sleep was my best option. The following day was my last day in Nha Trang and I had zero plans.  I figured I would sleep in, and then go find a cafe to work on the blog.  I still hadn’t written about my 2 day motorbike adventure (it’s here if you missed it), and people were munching at the bit for me to finish it.  I made this my plan and hit the sack.

My next day ended up being a bit of a doozie.  I definitely was sick and wasn’t feeling good at all.  I couldn’t get the rest that I needed and I was missing my peeps back home, especially my mother.  It was one of those days you don’t like to relive.  However, lucky you, I wrote about it and I probably had too much to drink while doing so.  I was emotional and tipsy so it’s a good one not to miss.  If you didn’t catch that fun, then that one is right here.

The next morning I was picked up at my hostel in a limo mini van.  Yep, that’s what I said.  I didn’t know this was a thing, but it is.  It’s the nicest form of transportation I have been in here in Asia.  It had very large, comfortable captain seats and the AC was happening like an ice box.  I was coughing A LOT at this point and felt horrible for the people that had to ride with me.  But hey, what am I supposed to do?  I had stopped at the pharmacy to get some cold meds, but who knows if that’s what I got, because it’s in Vietnamese.  It wasn’t really doing anything to suppress my cough and the cold AC wasn’t helping my cause.  Nonetheless, I had a fantastic ride.  I felt like a princess of the royal court being carted around in this high class limo van.  They also dropped me off right in front of my hostel.  Talk about door to door service.  I have no idea how I got so lucky.  Although, come to think of it, the price of the ticket was pretty steep, but you won’t hear me complaining.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam

Monument- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam
 
Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam
 
Hong Son Rock Promontory- Nha Trang, Vietnam
 
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham Towers- Nha Trang, Vietnam
 
Long Son Pagoda- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Long Son Pagoda- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Long Son Pagoda- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Long Son Pagoda- Nha Trang, Vietnam
 
Rainforest Cafe- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Rainforest Cafe- Nha Trang, Vietnam
Rainforest Cafe- Nha Trang, Vietnam