Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Nha Trang - Perhaps the most beautiful place on Earth
I'm not the best traveled person in the world. Not by a long shot. However, I've seen my fair share of stunning scenery and I'd have to put Nha Trang on the top of my list. Perhaps it's because I reside in Saigon which isn't the most ascetically pleasing city, or maybe I'm just a sucker for a nice coast line. Whatever it is, it made me book my next holiday there 4 hours before I had even left. I've never done that before, so it has obviously struck a cord with me, particularly after the ordeal it was getting there.
On first glimpse, you might not think it's the spectacle I've started harping on about, but over the course of a weekend it quickly grabs you, astounds you and leaves you wanting more. For those of you not in the know, Nha Trang on the east coast of Vietnam, about a 9 hour bus ride from Saigon. It's a must see tourist destination in Nam and boasts a glorious beach that most coast of the UK would envy.
Now to start making you all feel jealous. This is the view from our hotel...
I kept the balcony in the second picture to prove that I was inside a room when I took the photograph. What do you think? You'll be even more amazed when I tell you that I paid $13 per night for this stunning sensation. (that's £9). It was also a spacious room in a small hotel owned by a Canadian couple who take great care of their guests. They told me that they could help me organise a private boat tour to a secluded island (with a bbq and snorkeling equipment), a mountain bike tour in the mountains (I'll come to that later) and introduce me to the best restaurants in town. Not bad I think. The name of the hotel is 'Tide Hotel' if you're interested.
Next, I also found the best western food in Vietnam in Nha Trang. To those of you at home you'll be thinking 'Why would you care about that?' Well, after being out of the country for about 32 months you start craving a few home comforts. The chips were crunchy with a substantial amount of potato (unlike the sogginess I'd become accustomed to), the bacon in my BLT was ever so close to bacon at home, and a microbrewery called 'Louisiana' makes the best desserts in the southeast Asia region. Look at this!
A proper Lemon Meringue pie! It was divine! I really wanted to go back to get a couple more to take home but I'm happy just reliving the short minute it took me to demolish it! Besides the food, the beer at the beer house was pretty fine (especially in VN) and the nightlife was pretty buzzing, although I didn't really experience too much of it as I was more concerned with finding somewhere I could watch the world cup in comfort.
If this doesn't tickle your fancy then maybe a slice of history will. You can go to visit the grounds of the last King of Vietnam's residence. It's a fairly understated villa but in a prime location as you'd imagine. There are also various temples you can look around such as the one pictured below.
Unfortunately my camera doesn't do it justice. I only have a point and click job which doesn't have a wide lens. However, I can assure you that it's a pretty impressive structure to visit with 4 or 5 temples to pray/bow to Buddha. It's elevated position gives you some good views of the city and it's just a peaceful place to be.
Finally, for this entry, driving along the coastal road is a lot of fun. Just a few kilometers from the main tourist area is a deserted Russian resort. The manager of my hotel told me they got half way through building it but there was some kind of disagreement with the government so they packed up and left about 2 years ago. We drove to the resort (the cottages below) and it's an ery
ghost town. It felt like you shouldn't be down there and felt oddly threatening. Kinda like the setting for some Teen Horror movie. It was also a sad place as obviously a lot of money had been spent which has been been wasted and as you can see, the place had a ton of potential. Anyways, just round the corner we were faced with this coastal road. It was pretty exciting! I was also shocked. Before this point you wouldn't have expected the road to open out in this way. The views were simply breathtaking and it was hard to keep the bike on the road as the eyes were wondering frantically taking to take it all it.
The final image of Nha Trang I want you to think about is this. Sea and sand in front of you. Behind that a relatively low building skyline with fashionable and modern buildings. In the background lush, green mountains illuminated in a clear blue sky with glorious sunshine. There's so much more I could talk about: the seafood, the friendly people, Vinpearl Land, the mud baths to name a few. But I'll save that until my next trip in August.