Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nha Trang

After a hellish 12 hour bus ride from Hoi An we arrived in Nha Trang
tired, cranky and in need of a sleep in a proper bed.

What should have been a relatively comfortable sleeping bus from Hahn
Cafe that we booked at an agent in Hoi An (well we thought we were
booked on to) instead was a cramped sleeping bus from TM Brothers -
definitely not the same standard.

The bus was overbooked with some passengers having to share these
miniscule 'beds'. We kept making unscheduled stops to drop off items
for relatives of bus staff and finally when we got to Nha Trang we
were told we were going to be dropped off in the centre if town, but
instead we were 4km north.

A taxi ride later and we were in the centre of town. We found
ourselves a lovely little mini hotel, quite aptly named Nice Hotel. It
wasn't till after a nap that we ventured out. Nha Trang reminds me a
bit of Surfers Paradise. Much more built up than any of the other
cities that we've seen to date. As we were told, very touristy and set
right on the waters edge. After a short walk around town we put on our
bathers and headed for the beach!

The sand was much coarser than the beach in Hoi An, but the water was
still clear and warm. It's impossible to sit on the beach here and not
be approached with people trying to sell you things. Drinks, local
foods, cigarettes, sunglasses, jewellery, books (photocopies, and not
very good ones at that) - pretty much anything and everything. At one
stage there was a young girl walking around selling a live lobster!
After a while your patience begins to abandon you and you become tired
of saying no thank you every minute or so. Every now and then someone
with a bit if personality will go past - one that sticks in my mind is
the lady selling fruit singing 'mango, pineapple, banana' - and you
actually feel compelled to purchase from them.

From the main beach area in Nha Trang you can see a number of
surrounding islands. The largest and most noticable is Hon Tre or
Vinpearl island. Being most noticable isn't due to the sheer size of
the island, but instead the Hollywood-esque 'Vinpearl' signage
blazened high up on the hill tops. Linking the mainland to the island
is a 3km long cable car suspended high above the water.

Late that afternoon we headed down town to take the scenic cable car
across the water. It wasn't till we got down there that we found out
about the theme park on the other side! The ride across scared the
shit out of me. It was so high above the water and me being the
paranoid freak that I am couldn't relax because I kept thinking about
drowning in our little cable car box.

The park itself was eerily clean and quiet. It wasn't till we were
about to leave that we saw a huge crowd. We're not sure were they came
from, but 1 minute there was 3 people in the queue for the return
cable car and then quite literally 150 or more!

Anyway, we had a go on some water slides before the water part closed.
We went on this one together in a rubber tube and the initial drop was
terrifying! It seemed almost straight down! I'll tell you what though,
but but was bloody sore after it. And boy did I scream. Andrew too!
The other hilarious one which Andy went (I wasn't brave enough) a long
dark tube and at the end you flop out from this UFO like contraption
into a pool of water. I'm not sure if these rides would pass safety
regulations in Australia but they were a bit of fun! The rest of the
time we wandered round, went on dodgem cars and played video games.

We spent most of our remaining time in Nha Trang laying under the
beach umbrellas on the beach (der). It was lovely and relaxing and we
both got a tan (well Andrew was a little red LOL. Okay, as was I).

We did take a rather exciting bike ride through the city to visit the
Long Son Pagoda and Giant (it certainly was) Seated Buddha. It wasnt
the destination that was exciting, it was more the exhiliration (read
terror) of riding through the busy traffic. Making left hand turns
through 6 point round abouts with hundreds of bikes and no rules was
enough to scare the living daylights out of me! Andrew loved every
minute of it though LOL, of course.

It was on this journey that we visited the Long Thanh Gallery, an
amazing photographer who manages to capture the essence of Vietnam in
his pictures. Well worth the look see.

We took a chance and booked another night bus to Saigon. More details
of that debarcle to follow, LOL.

Sent from my iPhone

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