Beachs, Diving and Temples

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hotel An Hoa

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 0 - Transit
Not much of a day. Overnight bus got me to Hue where I had a 4hr layover waiting for the next bus. Found that I wasnt dropped off at the place I was going to be picked up so had a 1km walk to a nearby hotel. Had planned to head out and eat but it started to poor so grabbed something at the hotel.

Waited here a while playing on and recharching the laptop.

An hour or so before the bus was to arrive headed out and found a nice and very cheap cafe where I had Bun Bo Hue for about half the price you normally pay at most places. Also a very cheap fruit shake.

After food headed back to the hotel and waited to get picked up by the transport for sleeper bus. Minibus ended up taking a group of us to bus and here I found I didnt have a seat but rather a foam mattress on the floor. This was a pain since it meant you couldnt really seat up given you had no back support and with my width I sort of barely fitted between the two seats on either side.

Seems the bus was overbooked. In the end this thankfully only last a bit over an hour when a few people got out at Danang. Guess this sort term pain (to passengers) for monetary gain is why the bus was overbooked. Definately would not of liked sleeping in the aisle.

After a short stop in Hue the bus continued on and managed to sleep through the night as it continued onto Nha Trang.

Day 1 - Beach South to VinPearl ,Long Son Pagoda
Arrived in Nha Trang a little after 5am to a tide of people trying to sell a ride or a hotel. At this point was thinking of continuing onto Dalat and leaving Nha Trang for the return journey but was able to get a ticket. After that got my bearing from a guy trying to sell a ride and started walking towards the beach and the small alley with cheap hotels.

Had a room for $8 by 6:30am and killed some time before heading out to the street. Headed out for breakfast and stopped off at some tour and dive shops. Seems my options were a day boat trip with some snorkling, swimming and drinking or diving. Guess I should have started earlier since I would have had time to head out on a boat trip even though the weather wasnt great.

In the end decided to walk along the coastline towards the cable car I could see in the distance. Quite a few hotels and resorts along the way. Also not to bad a beach but not as good as the one at home. Definately a long strip of it though.

As I got closer to Vinpearl came across the local fishing area with a port full of ships. Here I found fish tanks full of sea horses, Rice wine jars full of sea horses, dried out puffer fish as well as live and dried out lizards. Lots of weird and interesting stuff.

Once at the cable cars kept walking past and found myself in what looked like a new and expensive neighbourhood. Kept walking until I hit the rivers edge where I had some nice views across the river and the islands out in the bay. Couls also see what looked like a busy fishing port in the distance but decided it was to far to walk (being lazy).

Headed back to vinpearl where I found a bus stop and managed to find a bus heading back into the center of town. At this point decided to book a dive for the following day and chose the cheaper option, 50bar or 50min for 3-4 people rather than 50bar or 60min  for 1-2 people.

Vegged out a couple of hours in my room before continuing onto the Long Son pagoda listed on my map. Started out along the beach but was soon walking along the city streets with the traffic zipping past. Was getting late by now so probably should have gotten a moto but didnt want to bargain for a price. along the way also passed by an old and interesting church but it looked like a service was taking place so decided on giving a miss to going inside.

Made it to the pagoda about 25min before nominal closing time and wandered through here up to the top of the hill where I found a large budha statue and cemetary. Also some nice views of the surrounding city. Wandered around here a bit since it seemed full of locals that were living in the nearby houses then made my way down. On the way down also managed to find a lying budha statue and then wandered around the actual temple.

By now it had started to pour down and since I had seen a bus stop on my way to the pagoda (with a bus number I had seen on a bus stop sign near my hotel) decided to try catching another bus back rather than getting a motorbike in the rain.

Managed to get back and grabbed something for dinner before calling it a night. Definately to much rain falling from the sky to be wandering the streets. 

Day 2 - Diving, Po Nagar Towers, Walk to Cong Promontory Rocks
Had an earlish 8am start for diving. Made my way to the dive center where we got a bus to the harbour. Found out here that I would have a dive master to myself which meant I wouldnt have the dive cut short due to someone else running out of air. Found that we would be diving in the local marine park.

Nice enough boat ride out to the dive site with some nice views of the surrounding islands, local fishing boats and the floating fishing houses.

Suited up and had a 55min dive first time round. Depth gauge not working but went to a depth of about 20m. Ended up coming out of the water with about 90bar (started 190) so didnt realy chew up all that much air.

Visibility was about 5-10m depending on the point in time during the dive and I could see paticals floating in the water. To be expected since this is definately the wrong time of year (wet session) to be diving in this area. Werent able to dive on the North side of the island and since the swell didnt seem so bad I am guessing that this is because the visibility here is worse.

Not much to see in the deeper water with only a few small lumps of coral and lots of empty sand (guessing due to low visibility causing little light to get this deep). As we got up to shallower water found that more and more coral started to show up with a little bit of sea life. Mostly saw small stuff in terms of marine life. On the other hand saw some really big table corals and lumps of other tyoes of coral. Definately bigger than I have seen in most other places. Nice enough dive even if not that exciting.

After the dive had lunch on the boat and killed an hour decompressing while going to the next dive site. didnt go as deep this time and a gain had varying visibilty throughout the dive. Besides some interesting coral also managed to find a moray eel and a huge cuttlefish on this dive. Always like cuttlefish and octipi since they like to change colour and have some interesting moving patterns running across their skin.

Once back on shore killed some time in my room before heading out to the Po Nagar Towers. Given teh time and distance got a moto out here and wandered through the red stone ruins. Inside on of these towers was a monk striking a bowl and people inside praying. Once again saw people prying and touching holy objects then running there hands over their heads.

Once outside saw a short dance performance and once again had some nice views of the river, bridges and bay as well as back to the city.

From here decided to walk to Promonory Rocks through the streets. At this point wish I had had more time to just wander the streets since it seemed like an interesting nerbourhood. Bought some street food here which had some squid, bean sprouts and what I think was a rice pancake. Also grabbed what at home I would call a vietnames roll (see picture of it being made).

Walked along the coast and by now it was starting to spit and rain a bit. Made it as far as the rocks but decided not to head in. Just took the views in from the street that ran along the coastline near it. Had originally planned to walk back but since it was starting to get dark and rain decided to see if I could find a bus which thnakfully I managed to find.

By now it was really starting to pour and so I quickly found a restuarant to eat in after which I headed back to the hotel. Again not the weather to be wandering the street. Definatley a good thing I had bought an umbrella earlier in my travels.

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