A sleeper bus took us from Hoi An to Nha Trang. I feel like I write a lot about transport in this blog, but I guess I just find it all strangely interesting. The sleeper bus definately falls into the more comfortable transport category for me (not sure Matt would agree with me on this). The coach is split into 3 lines of seats, of two layers. The seats recline almost fully providing a bed. I find I can sleep on these pretty well.
So, we left traditional Hoi An (with its amazing food - i didn't write much about this last time as my keyboard was playing up - but it was delicious!) and arrived at Nhat Trang. Nha Trang is quite a big city on the beach. Diving is excellant in Nha Trang - or so we read, we were out of season, so didn't bother as the visibility is only about 2 metres. We stayed here a couple of nights. One day was spent on Nhat Trang Beach - ok but could do with a good clean, and the other on the Boat no. 4 islands trip. Boat no.4 Islands Trip was good fun. We got to do a bit of snorkelling (although fairly dead bit of coral- roll on Thailand for this). But more fun was the entertainment. After lunch we had Boat no 4's 'Happy Hour'. This was split into two parts. Part 1 involved the Vietnamese crew of Boart no 4 transforming into Boat no. 4 Boy Band. They were actually really good in spite of equipment consisting of a drum kit made of buckets. Not only did they sing to us, but made the whole boat join in, in a ridiculously multi cultural version of Frere Jacques - whereby they sang it in, English, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, French, Israeli (would this be Hebrew?), and Malay (I think - it was for a group of Singaporean girls on the boat). Very impressive! After the singalong they threw a big tyre into the sea that was the 'floating bar'. We all jumped in, and in our own tubes swam to the floating bar, tucked our feet on it to hold on, and floated around drinking Vietnamese fruit wine. Which tastes pretty vile to be fair, but fun all the same.
After Nhat Trang we carried on South to Mui Ne. Mui Ne is another beach resort, once very quiet it now has losts of beach front resorts. Matt was in his element here, as Mui Ne is kite surfing mecca in Vietnam. Apparently in the last couple of years, the popularity of kite surfing here as grown ten fold. Kite surfing school after kite surfing school lined the beach. Matt hired some equipment and took it out for a half day, so hopefully filled that craving for a little while.
We stayed in Mui Ne 3 days, and could easily have stayed longer. The beach was really nice, with big crashing waves. The really fun kind, that have you holding onto your bikini for fear of flashing the beach when a wave takes you a washing maching style tumble. There was a great beach front bar, and we met some pretty cool people here. In fact, if anyone fancies a holiday in Vietnam, I fully recommend reserving time here for some r & r.
We are now in Ho Chi Minh City/ Saigon. Its been fascinating here, and I much prefer it to Hanoi - although the traffic and road crossing is still mental. Yesterday we went on a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This system of tunnels is where the Vietnamese villagers and soldiers both protected themselves, and led a guerrilla offensive against the American solderiers.
The tunnel network consisted o 100s of kilometres. You get to go down into a short bit of tunnel, and that small amount was extremely claustrophobic. It is a metre tall at its highest and pitch black. It was tiny for us, and they have actually widened the tunnels a little, to ensure the Western tourists (with our big behinds!) can get through them. They lived in these tunnels for years, only emerging at night. They also showed us some of the traps they made out there from bamboo and grass. They were pretty gruesome.
After that we went to a number of the museums in Saigon, and they have all been really good. The War Remnents Museum has some pretty harrowing imagery of the war and its victims, but all very illuminating, if very hard to look at.
Off to Phu Quoc island tomorrow. This island is off the south coast of Vietnam and is meant to have beautiful beaches and great snorkelling.