Nha Trang is a city that is far from Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon) 10 hours by bus, roughly a 450 km. The road is not good, but you should be traveling by bus or by plane departing from Saigon or Hanoi. The airport that is in the town was closed, so the best alternative is to arrive via Cam Ranh airport, which is about 30 km away from the city.
As we went by bus, using the service of the Sinh Tourist, we paid US$20 for tickets in the night bus when we went. Leaping this part of the journey, that deserves a specific post, we arrived early in Nha Trang, we take a breakfast and took a walking tour before heading to the hotel because the checkin was only at 1pm. We walked around the town a little bit, the heat was hellish and was late April, one of the hottest months in Vietnam.
Overall, prices are slightly lower than the Saigon ones because it is an country city. Still, it’s a Russian stronghold. Almost everywhere there are signs in Russian, and Chinese. But the predominance is Russian and there is no doubt. Until the Vietnameses talk in Russian when they think someone is from there. Several bars are also managed by Russians.
They take all the sun of the world, using a totally weird bathing suits, sunbathing standing with arms raised, legs open … it seems like they want to do the sun never hits Moscow or St. Petersburg pick up all parts of their bodies in a single day.
Women wear bikinis with the handle down as hate tanning signs. Men wear beach swimwear as Brazilians mostly, but with the face down, leave the swimwear in woman style to the sun (in addition to underwear) … gets to be bizarre, because in general they are very fat, very much!
Leaving it, returning to talk about Nha Trang, the city is fantastic, like a typical small beach town in Brazil. Well charmy. No vending kiosks on the beach, but you can buy everything very close. Stores in the beach area are well busy and has it all.
The 60-minute massages start at $5, but can be found various prices. The best are with the blind people and is easy to find Blind Massage signs, all about $5. The foot massage ranges from $4 to higher values, depending on your willingness to look for.
In Nha Trang, beyond the beach, you can eat a food that, in my opinion, is better and more westernized than in Saigon. Breakfasts with juice, bread, etc., for example, are easy to find.
One thing that should not be left to do is spend a day (or half day) in mud spa, mud bath. We went to the famous and very good Thap Ba. It is about 15 minutes from the city center and you can go by taxi or call them so they pick you up at the hotel. Just don’t know if there is additional cost for this.
We payed at the same office we arrived by bus 480,000 dongs (+-$24) for two people all day, which entitles you to half an hour mud bath tubs for up to four people, plus half an hour bath with water to 39 Celsius (102.2 Fahrenheit) and 4 swimming pools (with unlimited time) also heated water.
This is the only complex of its kind in Vietnam and is well tidy, very worth the visit. If you want to go by yourself, spend 150,000 dong (+-$7) to have access to all this, but there are several plans that include up there hotel and can be had for more than 4 million dongs (+-$200).
On the way to the mud bath has the Long Son Pagoda, which can be visited on the way, before arriving at the mud bath. It is very large and very old, very worth the visit. In Nha Trang, as throughout Vietnam, the people are very religious and there are always offerings.
As you are in Vietnam, the joy of the people is easily seen and the people even ask to take a picture with you when they realize that you are a foreigner. This happened to us in the mud bath, when a Vietnamese father who was with the whole family celebrating the holiday of independence hired a professional photographer and made sure to give his little son for us to take picture with him on our lap. Then, throughout our time in the Spa, we were waving at us, as if to say “Hello, my friend, thank you!”.
There are also many night markets for trinkets, souvenirs and whatever you want. All are cheap and, unlike massage, negotiation is open. It is very common discounts of almost 50% of the first price they ask. That’s the tip: NEVER ACCEPT THE FIRST PRICE.
The accommodation has very friendly prices, around US$20 for a double room with private bathroom. You can pay more or less, depending on the season. In the holiday Labor Day to amend the independence day, in late April, it is normal to find 3 star hotels about $90 daily, but very good hotels. However, there are good hosting houses for $15 the double room with private bathroom found easily.
Everything is very cheap, the beer costs $0.30! Amazingly, it’s true and I drank more beer than water for this price, they were really cheap. The drinks started at US$1.50! Good, isn’t is?? 😉
One thing to emphasize is the joy and simplicity of the people in this part of Asia. The Vietnamese are fantastic, they are always cheerful and with an enviable tranquility to all mortals. If you go to Vietnam, be sure to visit this small beach city called Nha Trang.
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