I wasn’t expecting much from these two destinations, I mean I had never really heard of them. It’s just we had to stop there because of the way the buses worked. I also didn’t fancy hanging around for a few hours between buses, much better to try the destination.
Nha Trang was the first of these destinations we arrived at. It was just turning to dusk as we were pulling into the town, all the lights starting to bring the town to life. We drove in along the coast and even before we reach the town we were impressed. The coastline was stunning, with its windy twists and turns and sea of islands dotted out in the ocean.
The town itself was made up of the beach front and then a few blocks surrounding there. The roads seemed lively with a few too many bars and restaurants – we soon learnt this was a popular spot for holiday makers who like to drink and splurge. After a bit of confusion on street names we found our hotel for the next two nights. It was one of the loveliest places we stayed in South East Asia. The staff went out of their way to help us, even explaining every single thing to do in the whole area. I have to say it was that talk which made me realise how much there is to do in Nha Trang except party and sunbathe – the list of things to do seemed endless. Some things close by, others several kilometres away but still easy to get to. It all sounded fantastic: some things were touristy, others not so much; I was torn between the mud pools and snorkelling trip. Despite hating snorkelling the last time around we ended up choosing that trip – I surprised even myself with that decision. The trip cost $15 each and was worn every penny: we had plenty of time in the water at three different locations, the weather was beautiful, the food delicious and I was AMAZED by how good the coral below us was. I had no idea that kind of beautiful coral existed off the coast of Vietnam! Even better was the fact I loved the trip – I think my improved swimming skills helped that. (This trip wasn’t the wine filled one you read about on other blogs). The food choice in Nha Trang was very wide – we had breakfast in a French Bistro, dinner in a typical Asian place and dessert in a western cafe – there really was a choice from all kinds of countries and cultures.
We spent our second day doing something a bit more boring and touristy but extremely relaxing, as we had a night bus ahead of us. The Louisiana Brew House cost $2 to get in which paid for a sun bed and very clean and refreshing pool. Not only that but it was also an actual brewhouse so you got to see some of the work going on. Being inside this place was much better than the over crowded beach – you also had the choice of a pool side or beach lounger. The brewhouse for us was a great choice – sometimes it’s nice to have a down day and what better way to do that than sunbathing, relaxing and cooling off. We didn’t venture too far along the beach but heard of many oversized tourist resorts towering the sea front. My fear is this will began to happen more and more as there were several construction sites. There are several touristy parts to Nha Trang like the Vinpearl theme park but there are also plenty of other things to do if you are prepared to go looking for them. I certainly wished we had a few more days here as there was so much I didn’t get a chance to do.
Huế was our stop after Hoi An and it didn’t get off to a good start: the bus broke down before we reached the town centre and after waiting for what felt like forever we got off and walked in the blistering heat… only to watch the bus pass us before we made it to the town centre, causing us to curse some more. Luckily, as we reached the town we found a man from the hotel looking for us and he felt like some kind of saviour – I vowed never to pack so much in my bag again! The hotel was another lovely place but yet again we were wondering what to do with our two days here. Huế has a citadel but that was all we knew.
We soon learnt there was much more than just a citadel in Huế. This place was badly damaged by the war and so was home to a lot of history and places of interest – unfortunately the war history trip ran as a full day and we didn’t have time for that. So we did the next best thing – a motorbike tour (after all, we thought, this might be our last chance to get on a motorbike in Vietnam). We hired bikes with drivers because I was too cautious and petrified we would crash in the traffic or get lost. We didn’t really know where we wanted to go but figured we would work it out by the morning. We went off for some food by recommendation of the hotel – it was incredible. We walked around the town and along the river, where everyone trying to sell us a boat trip – I guess that was another popular thing to do but we declined every single person!
The river was nice but so loud and busy which soon got a bit annoying. For dinner we struggled with where to go as every place seemed much more expensive compared to what we were used to. Eventually we settled on Le’s Garden and I’m so glad we did. Our waitress was awesome, playing jenga with us, teaching us some Vietnamese words, then helping us plan exactly where to go on our motorbikes. She had lived in Huế all her life and loved the place – her local knowledge made our bike trip that much better.
I wasn’t really looking forward to these two destination before we arrived. I didn’t know there would be so many things do to and I assumed we would spend most of the time bored waiting for the next bus. Instead I had as much fun in these two destinations as any other. We found plenty to fill our time with, stayed in wonderful hotels and enjoyed some of the best food yet. My favourite things about these places was getting to know a local girl, getting local recommendations and discovering how amazing the coral off the coast of Vietnam is. Have you been to Hue or Nha Trang? What was your experience like?
what time of year were you there? We were in nah Trang in November 2003 and with a typhoon bouncing back and forth between Vietnam and the Philippines, there wasn’t a lot to do in the beach town… Hue was pouring rain and chilly this last December but we had a good time going round on motorcycle taxis to the tombs.
I guess if the weather is bad your always gonna have a bad time of it!