We awoke early on our final day in Saigon, packed our bags (we now have a specific ritual, every item has its place) and made our way to reception. The receptionist was asleep on one of the chairs in the lobby and a sharp "good morning!" and up he jumped ready to assist us. We settled our bill and he called us a taxi and we were on our way to the station.The Train to hell
We had hoped to sleep most of the journey, but it was soon clear that this would not be the case. As we made our way to our seats we found perhaps the Vietnamese equivalent of a family of chavs with their chairs fully reclined eating breakfast. I don't know how to put the sound into words but I imagine if you visualise a camel chewing grass it would give you a good idea of what we had to endure. Once the chavy camel chewers had finished breakfast things didn't improve. Their hands now free they laid back into their seats and proceeded to dangle their stinky hands in our face by hanging them over their heads (SPACE INVADER!). The train had many other offerings to annoy the western traveller; the PA system was cranked right up with continuous droning broadcasts making sleep impossible, it stunk of vile food and the majority of people simply sat and stared at us. Great!
After 7 hours, we finally arrived in Nha Trang and balance in the world was restored. This place was lovely. We quickly dumped our stuff in our room and eager to explore made our way out. The first night is perhaps the most memorable. As the night swept in we found a lovely bar on the beach with bean bags for seats. We sat with our beers in our romantic setting watching the waves crash in by candle light. AMAZING!
Nha Trang it would seem is a tourist hot spot for Russians - the majority of tourists here are indeed Russian and I made the following observations about the Russian couples that I saw.
There were two main categories.
1). Fat Russian man with skinny pretty girl.
2). Fat Russian man with huge fat girl
The locals do not like the Russians
The Russians observed ordered wine and beer with breakfast
A bikini is always worn, for men this was a skimpy Speedo
Russian tourists pay on Monkey Island to eat a monkeys brain whilst it is still alive (apparently…I didn't see this)
Note: (I do not wish to offend any Russians that may read this; it was purely an observation of a small population of Russians in Nha Trang. I would also like to extend this to the camels that I am sure are not chavy).
This being our first visit to the beach we were excited to get down to the beach and spend some time sun bathing. The beach was great, nice golden sand, warm sea and at last sunshine. My only gripe would be the constant "You want mango? You want pineapple?" that the local women would offer you. Saying "No" was simply not enough. The vendor would hover for minutes at a time hoping perhaps if he/she stayed long enough with the item presented you may reconsider. Occasionally they would present the item forever closer with every "No thanks" you give. I can only guess that they must think you haven't heard correctly and you will come to eventually realise "Oh my god is that a pineapple! I'm sorry I thought you said pebble; I will take two please fair maiden". But what they don't ever come to realise is perhaps I don't want a bloody pineapple!!
I saw one man who was trying to sleep and unintentionally ignored the women. He was then abruptly woken by "WHY WONT YOU BUY BANANA?" and the women slapping him on the back. This sales approach isn't very effective but it was amusing from my point of view.
Sam had suggested a 35km bike ride to Ba Ho waterfalls. My initial reaction was "f***… off!" but I soon came round to the idea. We booked our tour with Vietnam Active and I was really impressed with the equipment provided and Thom our guide.
We made our way through the beautiful scenery; making stop offs for drinks (including raw sugar cane juice) and pictures eventually reaching our destination. A short trek and a rock climb later and we reached the three pools available for swimming. What a day! Cooling off in our private pool with the sound of cascading water coming from the waterfalls above in the tranquil setting was a fantastic yet surreal end to an amazing day.
For our final day we decided to make our way to Vinpearl; Vietnams attempt at Disneyland. You have to take a cable cart from the main land to the island which takes 12 minutes and is the longest in the world. Once across you are greeted by a well presented theme park and some creepy 80's music that's playing round the entire park. (I personally liked the music but it did feel a little like we were at Michael Jackson's Neverland).
Vinepearl consists of a water park, shops, aquarium, indoor games, rides and a food village (which turned out to be one restaurant). By night the towers that suspend the cable carts are illuminated and resemble miniature Eiffel towers.
On the whole Nha Trang is an amazing place and definitely my favourite in Vietnam that I experienced. There is a lot of pressure from locals to buy goods but looking beyond that it offers so much. High end restaurants and shops, a great beach, beautiful scenery, a theme park and it's cheap. I would highly recommend visiting this small piece of paradise if you are travelling to Vietnam.