Nha Trang was never top of our destination list in Vietnam as we knew it was a kitschy resort city, but Mui Ne, which was the other beach town we wanted to see, unfortunately was not on the open bus route and would have meant spending extra to get there, so we decided. Considering we simply just wanted a little beach time we decided to stick it out in Nha Trang for two nights.
We left Hoi An the previous evening on the open bus and arrived on time in Nha Trang after a much better journey, which did however start with some loud DVD being played on the bus TV-system in front of the bus, but fortunately the bus was much nicer and more comfortable than our previous two journey.
When we arrived in Nha Trang, the free hotel transfer was waiting for us to take us to the hotel, which considering it was 6am, was great as we were very tired and didn’t have to worry about finding our way to the hotel and having to deal with the annoying taxi and tuk-tuk drivers trying to rip us off.
We were quickly transferred to the hotel where we were met by very friendly staff who allowed us to check-in early for us “have a good rest”. We quickly checked in and had showers as we were feeling pretty dirty from the twelve hour bus ride.
After a good nap, Raquel and I went for lunch not far from the hotel. One thing we noticed on the walk to and from the hotel was the abundance of shop and restaurant signs, which were written in Russian in addition to Vietnamese and English. We wondered why this city seemed to have so much Russian tourists, considering that Vietnam is not that close to Russia.
Lunch was surprisingly simple but at the same time very good, which we enjoyed, but as we were still tired, we headed back to the hotel for some more much needed sleep.
Once well rested we decided to take a walk down to the beach, only an eight minute walk away. The walk confirmed what we had read and heard about the town… Not much character to the place, merely beachside town catering to hoards (mostly Russian but others too) looking for sun and party.
Unlike Hoi An, this city made no impression on us whatsoever… It has a beach, but even in that respect it isn’t the most amazing beach you will come across. Raquel and I are not party fanatics, so this aspect of the town had no appeal to us whatsoever, this left us slightly disappointed with this leg of our Vietnam trip and had us rethink our strategy a little.
Over an overpriced dinner, we decided we would take the last leg of our open bus to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and instead of spending more time in the chaotic mess that is a Vietnamese city, we would instead make our way to Cambodia. However, the next question was where do go to first in Cambodia… Everyone we met on this trip had told us that Phnom Pen is worth missing if it means adding a few days to the Angkor Temples, which was our plan anyway.
We quickly decided we would miss out on Phnom Pen, but the next issue was on how to get to Siem Reap. Travelling by bus would mean having trying to do the whole trip in one go or spend a night in Phnom Pen, which we didn’t think was worth it, however it was the very cheap option. Flying would be very expensive, but would save a day of travel, which we could use to see the temples. After weighing up the options we decided for a bit of comfort and fly straight to Siem Reap.
With our decision made, we went back to the hotel to book the tickets online and get some sleep as we wanted to head to the beach early the next day so we could work on develop our fledgling tans.
The next morning after breakfast we made our way to the open bus office to confirm our tickets for the following morning, only to realized when we arrived, that our bus would arrive in HCMC later that we thought and would have substantially less time from arriving in HCMC and catching our flight to Siem Reap.
This meant we had to get our newly purchased tickets amended for a later flight or else we could miss a very expensive flight if we take the risk. It was only then we found out that there was a night bus to HCMC. We got ourselves booked on to that bus, and made our way to the Vietnam Airlines office to get our ticket changed, which was easy enough, and best of all, there was no additional cost to the change.
Now we needed to get to the hotel to amend the hotel booking for the night which we didn’t need anymore, pack our bags and check out. Fortunately the hotel was okay with us only staying one night instead of two and once our things were packed we collected the free beach towel and headed to the beach for some sun, sand and sea (the reason we put Nha Trang on the route).
With the good afternoon on the beach, we were back at the hotel where they very nicely allowed to use showers to get ready for our night bus to HCMC, which meant our trip to Vietnam was at a close and an end… I will write a post on our thoughts about Vietnam later, but I will say here, that Nha Trang, was definitely not a place for us, and we would have been better off skipping this and heading somewhere else.
This post is based on our day of the 21st and 22nd of September 2012
Hotel: La Suisse Hotel – Double room including AC, TV, Fridge and ensuite bathroom $20 per night (see our review of hostel here)