After a ten-hour, over night bus journey, Harmony and I found ourselves in Nha Trang at 4:30am. We had no clue what to do. An obvious place to go first was our hostel, but it was closed... Our only other option was the beach!
Nha Trang is Vietnam's very own seaside resort. It’s also a fairly large metropolis, with huge hotels dominating the skyline. Whilst walking from the bus stop that morning, it was clear to see how much this city has benefitted from tourism. Throughout the trip, we had constantly heard about what a hit it is with Russians as it’s only a short plane ride away. This was clear to see, with most menus and signs also written out with the Russian alphabet.
Anyway, we walked a matter of metres from the hostel to the beach. It stretches the full length of the city with palm trees, deck chairs and thatched umbrellas also running parallel. There was next to no rubbish amongst the golden sand and the sun was rising over Hon Tre Island. Thankfully, our hostel was quite a distance from the main area of town as we could see that it was already very busy at the other end of the beach. Where we sat, no more than thirty people walked past and only a few were in the sea. It only seemed right that we took a dip! We padlocked our bags together, stripped down to our underwear and ran towards the ocean. I wouldn't call it refreshing because of how warm it felt, but it was still a great way to start the day! Aside from the many, MANY flies, everything about this place was amazing.
By this time, the hostel still wasn't open. So, it was time for breakfast. The first cafe we came to seemed decent and affordable. We ordered coffee and some food, and out came a somewhat uncooked omelette even though we asked for fried egg... Ah well, we took the risk to satisfy our serious hunger.
Finally, our hostel opened at 7am and our room was ready by 8am. The room was actually pretty nice. It had a good view, ensuite bathroom and a big bed. We quickly showered and headed back to the beach whilst the weather was nice. The temperature was upwards of 32 degrees, there was no wind and very little cloud. The beach was littered with golden holidaymakers - it was like a postcard, or an advertisement on a billboard.
We spent hours swimming in the water and lounging on our wooden deck chairs in a VIP area. Next to our chairs was an orange flag that we could wave in the air for a waiter to come over. Though, we didn't actually make use of it. This type of service cost 100,000 Vietnamese Dong per chair for the day and included towels. We later found out that we could've spent only 30,000 Vietnamese Dong per chair for the day and missed out on some of the luxury, but the difference was only a mere £2.50 each anyway.
Seeing as we didn't get much sleep the previous night, we crashed out for a good four-hours when we got back to the hostel. We woke up at about seven o'clock and went in search of somewhere to eat. After a short walk, we found somewhere that looked nice and served garlic bread (just what I wanted)! However, the service was terrible so we had to leave. We found an even nicer restaurant called Nha Hang Yen's Restaurant. Unfortunately, they didn't serve garlic bread, but I did get a chocolate and banana crepe for desert!
After dinner, we went in search of a bar and found somewhere with a pool table... Perfect. However, we didn't stay too long as our hostel receptionist told us about another bar (Sailor's Club) at the beach and we had to test the waters a little. It was expensive at there but the location was amazing. They had a proper DJ to, but the dance floor was filled with oldies jumping around - sort of like a really embarrassing scene at a wedding.
The next day, we went to a fast food restaurant called A&M and got a fantastic falafel wrap each! We also went to a coffee shop called Iced Coffee and thought about what we were going to do for the next few days. Some ideas were scuba diving, see the temples and go to a waterpark.
Because the weather was so hot in Nha Trang, we very rarely wanted to do anything other than sit on the beach and enjoy the sun. The beach sometimes got quite busy, so we sometimes struggled to find seating at first. I remember not being able to relax on one of the days because I had a weird buzz from too many espressos. Plus, I was stressing about a toothpick I stood on. Gross right? It didn't look like it did any damage though and the pain soon went away.
When I heard about the scuba diving in Nha Trang, I couldn't get it off my mind. We came across a dive club on one of the streets and, just like that, I had two dives booked for the next morning! A really quick bus ride took us to the harbour, where we got on our boat. Our small group was split up into smaller groups depending on our qualifications and what we were doing that day. It was just me with another girl and our instructor. Their wasn't much instructions needed though as we were both already qualified, but he did explain that the visibility was really bad at the moment because of the rain fall and run off from the river. He wasn't wrong... However, the dives were still really good and I was actually quite surprised by what was under the water - lots of marine life, some fish I haven't seen before and some awesome formations in the coral.
During the first dive, we got to swim through canyons in the coral and holes in the rocks. At our second dive spot, the seabed was covered in a mushroom shaped coral. We dived for as long as our air allowed, and we didn't go that deep so we lasted a fair while. The water was warm and it even started to rain during one of the dives, so it was cool to see the rain drops hitting the surface. Meanwhile, Harmony was snorkelling and she seemed to really enjoy it to.
After the dives, and after we returned to the city, we were treated to lunch! I feel like I owe them for what a great day it was! They really looked after us, the instructors were great and we felt completely safe. They're not the cheapest, but they did take us to a marine reserve, whereas some of the other companies do not.
As Harmony and I hadn't done much sightseeing in Nha Trang, we still had a few places we wanted to check out. First on the list was Po Nagar Cham Towers. It costs 22,000 Dong, but we didn't actually have enough for us both to go inside. Harmony kindly let me go in and explore, and I'm glad I did! The site dates back to the 7th century, so it holds a lot of history and is home to lots of religious relics. There are also some really cool stone columns that lead you to the original staircase and four different towers (temples) you can go inside - the tallest being about 25m high.
Whilst searching for an ATM, we then made our way to Long Son Pagoda. Unfortunately, we were never able to get money out so we couldn't go inside. We couldn't even see it from the outside. On the bright side, that gave me time to photograph the sunset. I thought I could get some cool shots of the Cai River from Tran Phu Bridge, but I actually found some cool compositions of the bridge itself from underneath it. I then continued to get some other shots I wanted around the city.
The following morning, I headed to the beach for sunrise. This is when I took the photo of the pier that you've already seen, as well as the photo from the sea looking back at the skyline. These are photos that I wanted to take since the very first day in Nha Trang so, after I finally had them, I was happy to move on to Da Lat that afternoon!