We just had a few ridiculously relaxing days in Nha Trang, a (touristy) beach town that was totally different than the small villages we rode through over the last 500km leg of our cycling trip.
The street food vendors in villages have maybe one entree each… hairy pork (with hair and skin still attached), pho, Vietnamese sandwiches (processed meat product and pate on a baguette with fish sauce and peppers), etc. Nha Trang is much fancier. It’s on a gorgeous beach surrounded by mountains, complete with fancy hotels and cafes that have staff who speak some English and serve your choice of Vietnamese or Western foods. We stayed at the Nha Trang Beach Hotel and had an air conditioned room with hot water, TV, a fridge, free breakfast cooked to order, and two king beds for only $7 each ($7 x 4 ppl = $28/night).
As for food, in Nha Trang I had a sirloin steak, gelato, a great chicken korma with garlic naan, a fabulous mango margarita, a wonderful ostrich fillet, fried bananas galore, iced Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk, and so much really good food. We ate ourdoors when possible, ideally on rooftop decks with views of the city. I also had a one hour Swedish massage for $6. Quite an affordable town to relax in for a few days! (Though it’d be pretty easy to get stuck there and stay for much longer!)
I spent most of my time there lounging on a beach chair, reading my book, journaling, and people watching. The friendly wait staff would deliver me drinks and snacks while I watched the waves crash and the storms roll in. Thank goodness for the decadent Sailing Club, the site of our indulgence for the past few days. Local women would stroll by trying to sell you their wares… illegally reproduced books ($5), fake Gucci sunglasses ($2), fresh fruit (mangoes, bananas, and dragon fruit) and best of all… fresh lobster and crab! They carry on their shoulders and cook the seafood right there for you. I ordered two crabs for $1 total, she threw in some chili lime salt sauce she made, and I had a feast for lunch. So great! Messy, but great!
We also hit a pagoda, visited a giant Budda, went to a gallery of photography by Do Dien Khanh, wandered the streets, saw more Cham towers, and snuck into a deserted amusement park and let ourselves onto the ferris wheel before security could find us.
More to come! For now, we’re off to search for cardboard to see if we can get our bikes safely home from HCMC to Tokyo to Seattle. Hope everyone is well!