Nha Trang - Frat boy town

Trip Start Jan 12, 2006
Trip End Feb 13, 2006

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Thursday, February 2, 2006

I think the last comprehensive entry we made was several days ago in Da Nang. After Da Nang we flew several hundred kilometers south to begin a 4 day idyll at Whale Island Resort, a beautiful, lush and serene smallish island just of the coast of Nha Trang. Actually, it is so just-off-the-coast that a strong swimmer could probably cover the distance in less than an hour. All the same, a holiday paradise created by a strident Frenchman with fantastic sensibilities and a penchant for eco-friendly tourism. Think small bamboo or stone cabans on the beach or tucked in between palm trees, pines and hibiscus. It was a nice break from our life on the road with all it demands. For 4 days we didnt have to think about what to eat or... what is that we are eating, or calculate the exchange rate for any goods or service. Breakfast, lunch and dinner just arrived at the table and activities were limited to hiking around the island, sunbathing, reading, snorkeling, napping and canoeing. Although very tempted to take the plunge, we opted for a hobie cat sail around the island perimeter with a lovely couple from Portland instead of scuba.

That said, its really great to be in Nha Trang. Despite the derisive tone of the fratboy comment, we are both loving it here. And we almost skipped this wonderful city. In many way it suggests St Tropez, South Beach or Fort Lauderdale. Fortunately, because of Tet, we could not get a flight out of Nha Trang to Hoi An ( heading North again ) before Friday so we pouted for a couple of minutes then relaxed into scheduling our tour of Nha Trang.

Its not that Nha Trang has so much to offer in the way of historical sights or architecture but that its a lively, "happening" city full of great restaurants offering up heaping tables of fresh seafood, home to a famous photographer, funky bars, lots of tourists and, best of all... real American Breakfast!!! I know how small that sounds but sometime in Da Nang we both hit the wall. Although good and tasty for the first several times, the thought of having beef noodle soup (pho) for breakfast was no longer tenable.

So today, after a fantastic and familiar breakfast of yogurt and muesli, with newish, well-kept touring bikes as our steeds, we set off to visit the Long Son Pagoda; home to several monks as well as a school and orphanage. Today, being the first day of the New Year, Denis and I were popular with many of the Vietnamese families also touring the shrine because to shake hands with someone prosperous early in the New Year will bring good luck. I guess even comparative prosperity counts. None of the adorable, shriveled old ladies that lined the shrine's stairs and hallways went without some small donation in their upturned conical hats. Or, any of the old men... or young, well spoken orphans who reminded us that today would dictate the course of the rest of their year...

Next, off to the Po Nagar Cham Towers. Just look at the pictures. Just beautiful. And busy with locals visiting and worshipping for Tet.

Our next adventure was a risky option but turned out to be great fun. D and I decided to spend the balance of our afternoon at a hot springs mud bath. Little did we know that it would be more like going to a water park than a healing constitutional in Leeds. Hundreds of Vietnames families jostled for space in terratzo tubs semi full of thin warm mud, basked in the late afternoon sun until "cake dry", then submit to a pummeling from a waterfall. Convinced that we would get a legit massage at this state-run facility, we both paid an additional 60,000 VND (@ $4 USD) for an hour long massage. Very nice!

So, knowing full well that we havent really caught up, I must submit to the pull of a neighboring bar while Denis dives into his political websites.
Slideshow Report as Spam


mandvzullo on

Mud Bath & $4.00 Massage sound like a deal
Nha Trang trip sounds great. Pics are awesome. We are enjoying your adventures and reports. Bad news Alito confirmed, WVA Senator Robert C. Byrd voted 'yea'.

Mike and Virginia

kdoster on

Howdy boys! I love the pics of various signs you've captured. No politically correct CRAP, just get to the basics and say what you gotta say. No damn guns in the hotel room. Love the straight forwardness!
love, kathleen

speechie on

Just what the doctor ordered!
Miracle Mineral Water followed by the Mud Bath and an hour long massage - you have found heaven!! I am there in spirit with you two! Love, PAM

siewood on

Happy Tet!
Guys, this looks like such a wonderful vacation. Love those Cham temples. The agency we adopted from has an orphanage they work with in Nha Trang, have you been tempted? And have you picked up any Vietnamese?
Pho is great, Pho is good, but yes, sometimes you just want some yogurt and granola. I'm telling you, the breakfast buffet at the Majestic Hotel in Ho Chi Minh...
Thanks for the vicarious pleasures.

hugoanddenis on

Re: Happy Tet!
Hey James,

We really like Nha Trang. I know there is an orphanage here but I'm not sure of the adoption procedures. And yes, we have been thinking of the possibilities, just haven't done that much research while we're here.

Majestic Hotel, yes, noted, I'll be there.

We're off to Hoi An tomorrow - sort of hop-scotching right not up and down the country. don't know how long we're going to spend in Ho Chi Minh. Don't want to t there too soon and don't want to leave it until the end. so much country, so much to see, only a month. Ahhh to be Austrailian!. They seem to all be travelling for 6 months. How do they do it?

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