Nha Trang

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June 24th 2010
Published: June 26th 2010
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Thursday, June 24th
We arrived in Nha Trang at 6am from our first overnight sleeper bus. Neither of us got much sleep since it was a bumpy ride, as most roads in Vietnam are not that great. We ventured to our first guesthouse where our friend Maggie stayed back in February when she was in Vietnam. Pete said the room was ok but today was the day that Nha Trang doesn’t have power(on 1 day and off the next).

Pete left to find a hostel/hotel while I waited with the bags. The heat is too much even at early hours in the morning to be wandering around finding a place to stay with our bags. He came back about 25 minutes later saying he found Golden Hotel for $25 including power all day located on Hung Vuong one block from the beach. GREAT!!! Even though this is the most we have paid for a room during our time in Vietnam it was worth it for one day while there was no power.

We set out for breakfast around 9:30am and found a café on the corner. We ordered a set breakfast that included fruit shakes, coffee or tea to drink. We ordered fruit shakes and soon coffee was brought to our table, we were confused but drank them anyways. We figured they just didn’t understand that we wanted a banana and coconut shake instead, soon our shakes arrived. Breakfast was ok but on the pricey side as we are 1 block from the beach and Nha Trang is very commercialized. Sheraton is on the boardwalk and a Marriott is being built right down the street.

When the bill came for our breakfast we should have know they charged us for the coffee even though we NEVER ordered it and then they claimed my coconut shake cost 8,000VND more than the other shakes. DAMN Vietnam you are relentless in scamming tourist EVERYWHERE.

We then rented a scooter across the street from our hotel for 80,000VND=$4.21 instead of the 120,000VND from our hotel. Everyone in Vietnam is trying to hit up the foreigners for an extra buck. At least that is our experience after being here for 2 weeks. The front desk lady at Golden Hotel even said to me “You are rich what does it matter” my response “Just because I am white means I am rich? We live and work in China, sorry we aren’t made of money as if we worked in the US”

On the motorbike we first headed south out of town towards the cable car to Vinpearl Resort. The LP(lonely planet) says you can ride the cable car and not enter the park, but when we arrived that is no longer the case. You must pay 320,000VND=$16.84USD to ride the cable car and includes entrance to the amusement/water park. We decided to pass and then looked at the map on how to get to Thap Ba Hot Springs.

After finding our way through town we went to Thap Ba Hot Spring Center. Cost was 100,00VND per person for the following treatment:
1st mineral water shower
2nd mud bath soaking (15 mins suggested we did min 30 minutes)
3rd sunbathing (10 mins)
4th hydrotherapy mineral springs (3-5 mins)
5th hot mineral water soak (30-45 mins)
6th mineral water swimming pools and waterfalls (unlimited time)

We had lunch at 2:30pm between step 5 and 6 and left around 4pm when it got really crowed,. Probably since the heat subsides a little later in the afternoon more people show up.

We saw some pretty “interesting” swim attire; men in boxers and tighty whities, grandma’s in white bras, many people in the pools with their clothes on yes including jeans and naked children. This is the same as what we would see at the beach in China, very different than a spa/pool/water park in the USA.

Pete went to get his haircut as he was just too hot from his current cut, which was only 2 weeks old from China. We have to call it the Nam cut as our good friend Martin got his head buzzed in Vietnam back in February. Pete got it done in June. For dinner we just went to the bar/restaurant next to our hotel as neither of us were too hungry. I had a mixed salad and Pete had a chicken sandwich. Our skin was feeling fantastic from the mud and mineral water treatments today.

Friday, June 25th
We checked out of the Golden Hotel and checked into Hoang Yen hotel next door that was only $15 with AC and a fan. We did this to save money since Nha Trang will have power today. We got breakfast from a street vendor; two egg and tomato baguettes for 30,000VND=$1.58USD. We had to be to Seahorse Diving Company located on Hung Vuong St across from the hotel by 7:20am. We got into a van around 7:40am, rode to the harbor and loaded onto the boat.

There were 2 people from Holland, a couple from Spain, a family with 3 children from England and us plus the crew. The English family and us snorkeled while the 4 others SCUBA dived. We went to two different sites seeing lots of coral and fish. I saw 3 jellyfish at the first site and 2 more at the second site, thank goodness I didn’t get stung as I steered clear of them. A few members of the English family did get stung by something but said it wasn’t the jellyfish.

Seahorse Diving served lychee, pineapple, bananas, coffee, tea and water for a morning snack. Then for lunch we had rice, green beans and carrots, beef curry, a fish dish and baguettes. The food was made on board and was wonderful.

We arrived back to the dive office by 12:40pm which was earlier than we were told but all of us on the tour were very satisfied as we paid $13USD each for the tour including professional gear. I also received quite the sunburn on my back from snorkeling even after putting on sun block 2 times on the boat. Pete was wise and wore a t shirt to avoid burning his back.

The remainder of our afternoon was spent lounging in the hotel room as it is just too hot to be outside. Pete is now reading The Girl Who Played With Fire and I am trying to read Catch 22 but am not finding it to be an easy read. I just can’t get into it but keep telling myself it is a very famous book that I need to finish it. Nha Trang felt like a true vacation as we relaxed with a spa treatment and went snorkeling. Nha Trang also felt a little like Mexico for some reason possibly the turquoise waters and a commercialized beach area.

Tomorrow we will take a bus from Nha Trang to Da Lat at 8am, a 6 hour bus ride. Da Lat’s elevation is over 1,400 meters(above 4.200 ft) so the weather will be similar to Sapa and be a much needed relief from the scorching summer heat and humidity in Vietnam.

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27th June 2010

That did appear more like a vacation!!!! I can only imagine the heat and humidity!

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