Nha Trang, Vietnam

February 24
The bus ride to Nha Trang was pretty nice because we rode through mountains. We took a few photo breaks. Once we got to Nha Trang, Matt and I checked in and went to eat at Olivia’s, a really good Italian restaurant that our hostel recommended. It was so good, we went back for dinner… and dinner the next night. We ordered gnocchi and a pizza. We then walked around the town, which was very out it place in Vietnam. It almost looked like a version of Miami with higher buildings and a long, built up beach. It was filled with Russians. I have never seen so many Russians in my life… except for the time I went to Russia! This is their version of the Caribbean or Florida for the USA. I have no idea why they chose Vietnam, maybe because they are both communist, I don’t know, but they are here and they took over this place. There are many places there that have signs and menus in only Vietnamese and Russian, with no English. I have never experienced that before. There were many lounge chairs on the beach with umbrellas that you could rent for the day. There were also a couple of nice restaurants on the beach, but we were happy with Olivia’s. We walked the entire beach and continued over a bridge to see a temple on a small hill. This was something that I wanted to do because I came here with my friend Jeremiah two years ago on Semester at Sea and this was one of my favorite memories from my trip. He and I took a train north from Ho Chi Minh City and ended up in Nha Trang. From there, we rode motorbikes far from the city into the mountains. Once there, we asked locals if we can stay at their houses, but they said no, and then a guy tried to help us but the government told him we couldn’t stay with him. So we continued to drive until we got to a trucker stop, where we met a 20-something year old Vietnamese woman name Mai, who we practiced English with. She showed us her farm and we rode a couple of hours with her to a city to see her family’s coffee shop. That was one of the collets things I did on my voyage and it started with Jeremiah and I visiting this temple. Matt and I went and enjoyed it. It was small but neat. There where young women doing some sort of Vietnamese dance with pots on their heads. We them walked back towards the main town and went down some of the streets with restaurants and bars. We decided on Olivia’s again because it was so good. We then went to a bar called Why Not Bar. It was owned by a westerner like all the popular bars here. We stayed there until like 11:15 pm and then went back to our hostel to find it locked. There is a curfew in most cities here but this is the first time we experienced it. We knocked and a guy who worked there eventually came to let us in. It’s weird because many of the bars are still open and we were not even aware our hostel would be locked. It worked out fine though.

February 25
We woke up around 8:00 am to check out and go to the amusement park in this city. It in called Vinpearl and is a cable car ride away on an island off the shore. The cable car is the longest cable car over water in the world. We went to the park because it seemed like it had a decent watermark and we wanted to see for ourselves. Sure enough, it did, but it was strangely run. It was definitely owned and designed by a western, but had all Vietnamese workers. The Vietnamese weren’t used to things being so clean and tidy so it looked like the workers took a bunch of shortcuts to quickly clean sidewalks and bathrooms. Also, the rides and water slides all had weird hours. Each ride was open for an hour and then closed for an hour or two all day long. I think this is to have less workers who need to be paid but it made it so we had to plan out our whole day there. Strange. We went on all the water slides for the first three hours. They were fun and legit, but hurt your back pretty badly. We liked one the most where you go almost straight up and down like a half pipe. We then went to a private beach they had for a little but the water was cold so we continued to the aquarium to see a bunch of sea creatures and fish. It was pretty nice. Lastly, we went to the section with all the rides. There weren’t many but a couple were fun. I liked one that was like a roller coaster but everyone got their own personal seat and could control their speed from the top of the down down the entire track. They also had a small roller coaster and an upside down swing ride. Around 3:00 pm, we have completed everything that we wanted and took the cable car back to the mainland. We ate at Olivia’s again then went to our hostel to wait for a tuk tuk to pick us up to take us to our sleeper bus. While on the bus, I talked to a guy from Toronto who was looking for work somewhere in Asia for a couple of months so he could make enough money to continue traveling. The ride was pretty smooth all the way to Hoi An. I was pleased with the Vietnamese sleeper buses and road quality on the coast.

mikepsilve'sNha Trang album on Photobucket