Muddling about in Nha Trang


We decided to book a day train north from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang as the seven hour journey wasn't long enough for an overnight train. The main trains that service the country from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city are called the Reunification Express. They come in a few different classes. The more modern trains offer soft seat and soft sleeper, while the older ones have hard seat and hard sleepers, not recommended for tourists! We opted for a soft seat which gave us to comfyish seats, one which reclined at its own free will!

We left at around midday and arrived around 7pm at night. Our hotel for the night was the Ha Van Hotel, booked for its awesome looking roof terrace which overlooked the town and its more than generous breakfast, which meant you did not have to eat until dinner time. However, for the price the room we had was decidedly average so we decided we would scout around for a better deal in the morning. After dinner we took a short walk around to get some water and came across a pub offering a free drink. Not one to turn down a free drink we both accepted and were given what has to be one of the strongest vodka mixes Cath has experienced! It was about ¾ vodka and ¼ lemonade, she was practically falling off her chair after two sips! If you have ever tried Vietnam's rice wine then you know they like their liquor STRONG.

The next morning we took a walk around the main area. The actual town of Nha Trang is quite big but the tourist area is all squished into a few streets by the beach, which means everything is easily walkable. We looked at a few hotels and gueshouses but were getting frustrated by the standard compared with the price (which was sometimes inflated for tourists). Then just off the main road down a tiny unassuming alley we spotted a sign for a place called Axar Hotel. We managed to get a very new looking room with balcony on the top floor for half of the price of the previous hotel. Score!

Mud Pools
As the diving capital of Vietnam is was decided that Brent would spent a day diving and we would also spend a day together snorkelling. We booked the two trips in for the next couple of days. However, first off we decided to visit the Thap Ba hot spring bathing and mud-Spa Mud Pools just outside of the town. The pools are very popular with tourists and locals alike and promise you healing qualitys in both the mud and the mineral water that you bathe in. The process itself is a bit like herding sheep. First you have a shower with the mineral water. Then you spend 15 minutes in the mud bath (which is good fun). Then you lie out in the sun for 10 mins to allow the mud to dry before washing it all off under the mineral shower again. You then walk along to the next section where you go through a powerful spray shower which removes any remaining mud from you (and a bit of skin too!) and then you sit in a hot bath of mineral water. The final leg is made up of a series of three hot swimming pools, a spa bath and sun lounges in which to relax as long as you want. We spent about four hours there and had a good time.

The next day we went for our snorkelling trip. We had the option to do the party boat which included the famous floating bar but it included less than 30 minutes of snorkelling so we decided to take the trip which offered snorkelling at two different sites. Cath had her first experience using flippers at the first site, and after getting used to the new way she had to swim with them, was going great guns. After the first site we all sat down to a lovely buffet lunch on the boat. We then cruised to the second site around another section of the island and snorkelled again for about 45 minutes (or until Cath saw several jellyfish and bailed!). We then had some fresh fruit on board before heading back to shore.

The next day Brent went diving out at Mun Island which is a protected marine reserve about 45 minutes boat ride from Nha Trang. Brent had booked a 1 Day (2 x Fun Dives) trip with Seahorse Dive which was just down the road from our hotel. The morning started nice and early with a 7am pick-up outside the dive shop. A van took the group off to the harbour and they were soon onto a boat out to the island. There was a group of about 10 people on the boat but the majority were just doing snorkelling that day. Brent and a school teacher from Spain were the only two diving so they quickly buddied up and got the gear ready for the first dive. The first area we dived was called South Reef and was absolutely gorgeous. Water was warm and clear with visibibility of 15+ metres. Being a marine reserve, the sea life in and around the rising coral formations was hugely abundant. This was Brents most enjoyable dive to date and he would definitely recommend diving there.
Between dives the group also stopped for a fruit onboard the boat and some swimming in the surrounding waters. The selection of tropical fruit was excellent and I felt refreshed for the afternoon dive.
The afternoon dive was unfortunately more aimed at the rest of the boat that were doing snorkelling. Most of the reef was relatively shallow and frequented by people doing “try dives”. However, there was still plenty to see and Brent had a enjoyable time.

The next day we had booked another day train for the next leg of our journey to Hoi An. We were up at 4am to make the 5am departure time. Nine long hours later we arrived in Da Nang, as Hoi An has no train station. It was then a 30 minute taxi ride to get to our destination.

Source: Travelblog



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