The three hour bus journey from Dalat to Nha Trang was the most spectacular of the trip so far. The bus ascended slowly to the peak of the mountains passing vineyards, greenhouses and paddy fields. The altitude together with the high precipitation creates the perfect environment for producing products many other parts of SE Asia cannot. The descent was a magnificent sight and I’m sure I enjoyed it more than Jane. The bus slowly snaked its way around the mountainside, with amazing views and extreme 'squeaky bum time' drops to both sides. I was pleased that our driver was one of the best we have had and took each corner slowly and safely. Many of the bus drivers out here must be massive fans of Wacky Races, all trying to drive as fast as they can, trying their hardest to overtake Penelope Pitstop until their tires set on fire and they fly off the edge off a cliff. After descending for about an hour the driver slowed and I thought we must be near the bottom of the valley by now. But no, the driver had slowed because a stream (rainy season hasn't fully started otherwise it would have a river!)
was crossing the road. The driver carefully weaved the bus through the water and around large boulders which must have recently fallen after heavy rain. After descending for about another 45 minutes we finally reached the bottom of the valley. Here the road crossed many dried up rivers (some must have been nearly 200 metres across) that would be quite scary to see fully raging in the peak of rainy season. It is a new road built in 2007(still not finished though) and is quite a famous motorbike route. If I ever come back to Vietnam I will definitely make sure I take my bike test before I come and enjoy this spectacular route on a classic old motorbike.
We arrived at Nha Trang in the hot mid afternoon sun and enjoyed a twenty minute walk from the bus station to the area where the backpacker dwellings are located. We hadn't pre-booked anywhere so we spent about an hour dragging ourselves from hotel to hotel until someone eventually would have us. At one point I thought we were acting out a real life nativity play as proprietor after proprietor said 'sorry no room at the inn'. Luckily when somebody
did take us in there were no wise men, shepherds, camels, donkeys and thankfully no surprise baby. It was however in the middle of a building site and the shower was rubbish, oh well you can’t have everything for eight quid.
Not much say about Nha Trang really. It’s a nice beach resort and you can see why the American troops used to come here for R&R, but there isn’t much else here. Most of time I kept thinking I was in the Costa Brava or somewhere. We spent one day on the beach and one day at the mud baths which was fun.
The best thing about Nha Trang, especially for Jane was finding the vegan sandwich street food seller. These sandwiches were simply unbelievable. Now don’t get me wrong, I like vegetarian food and will happily scoff down most veggie meals, but if someone offered me a bacon sandwich there would be no contest, I’m a carnivore of medieval standards. However this was amazing, I just couldn’t believe I wasn’t eating meat. Now let me tell you something, with Jane being a vegetarian I have eaten a lot of ‘mock’ meat and I find it
alright and can tolerate it. I usually say something to Jane like ‘yeah its nice, it really tastes like meat’ but really, most of the time mock meat just tastes like I’m eating cardboard or polystyrene. However this mock duck baguette sandwich was fantastic. It was so good that at one point when I was eating it I thought that the seller had put the ‘vegan’ sign up by mistake and was just tricking the veggie lovers into eating a bit of meat for some sort of sick Vietnamese joke or something. However after doing a bit of googling, Jane found many vegan forums all wetting their pants over this woman and her mock duck sandwiches. Amazing. The best thing was they were only 10000 Dong (30 pence). On the last day in Nha Trang we bought four sandwiches, two for dinner and two for supper on the overnight bus to Hoi An.
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