We survived our first night bus! I started the afternoon leading up to it on a complete liquid ban, so as to reduce my chances of needing a wee during the 12 hour journey. The bus was pretty comfortable, with seat/beds in a bunk bed kind of setup, so we managed to sleep for a few hours. We had two drivers who swapped every couple of hours (I was worried about the driver falling asleep), and I took plenty of motion sickness tablets so as to ensure I definitely wouldn’t feel ill (and they make me drowsy). All things considered, it went a lot better than I expected it to, and I would do it again!
We arrived in Nha Trang at 5am, and decided it was a little early to go to our guesthouse, so we went to the beach to watch the sunrise. We were quite shocked at how busy the beach was; there was an exercise class going on, many people swimming, jogging and walking dogs; it was a hub of activity! We checked in a little later and napped, before setting off to see some of the cultural sites in the afternoon. We visited the Cathedral, a building fairly unimpressive by European standards, but interesting nonetheless, and climbed up to the huge White Buddha (without water, silly us).
Nha Trang is a strange place. A beach city whose streets are lined with huge hotels and restaurants with flashing neon signs, looking rather out of place next to the Vietnam we’ve seen so far. The beaches themselves have sunbeds and umbrellas lined regimentally along the length of them, and perfectly designed gardens separating the road from the beach. Oddly, Nha Trang is a popular holiday destination with Russians; this is the first place we’ve been where English isn’t even the second language on the menus, and there are very few backpackers.
It’s incredibly hot here. Yesterday we arrived at the beach in the afternoon, when it was a little more bearable, but today we apparently decided to arrive during the hottest part of the day. There was a breeze, which you would think might make it a little cooler, but in reality it was more like having a fan heater blowing on you as you lie in the already intense sun. Very sweaty. I didn’t even dare go in the sea for fear of washing my factor 50 suncream off (the beach/sea was also a bit dirty, which put me off). We gave up and went for lunch, after which it was a much more tolerable temperature.
You can probably tell Nha Trang hasn’t been my favourite place; if you’re reading this and are planning a trip to Vietnam, I’d say if you’re pushed for time, you won’t miss much my skipping it. There are much nicer cities and cleaner beaches. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had a lovely couple of days being complete beach bums, but I thought I may as well give my honest insight.
Next stop, back up into the mountains to Da Lat!