Hitting the Beach

Trip Start Nov 29, 2008
Trip End Jan 18, 2009

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Where I stayed
Saigon Hotel

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another long bus ride started the day, as we meandered down a twisty one-lane mountain road all morning before it flattened and straightened out after our lunch break. The bus bumped and squeaked the whole way, which just heightened our anxiety. Fortunately, we made it to Nha Trang unscathed, where we again had the afternoon off until our barbecue dinner at 6:30.

The next day we took an all day boat trip along the shore. Two masseuses joined us onboard to give relaxing massages during the cruise. Snorkeling equipment was offered, but only a few of us braved the cold water while the rest of us just relaxed on the boat soaking up the atmosphere.

Our second full day in Nha Trang saw four of us taking a full day motorcycle tour of most everything Nha Trang had to offer. We started with the giant white Buddha statue at the Long Son Pagoda, which also offers a great view of the city below. After that we visited a family business that manufactured clay cooking pots, and then another place that made authentic woven mats. I got to try my hand at it.

We then toured a local Buddhist orphanage where he handed out candy, toys, notebooks, toothpaste, and other goods to the children, and got to see how they were cared for by the Buddhist nuns who run the place.

Around midday, it was time for the mudbaths at the Thap Ba natural hotsprings! Twenty minutes or so soaking in the mud, then ten or so drying off in the sun, then ten or so showering, trying to get as much mud off as possible, before relaxing in the warm pools. Mud baths aren't really my thing, but when in Rome...

Our final stop of the day was the Cham Towers, built between the 7th and 12th centuries, and overlooking the river. The afternoon was spent relaxing at the Sailing Club, indulging in their fine (and relatively expensive, but still cheap by Western standards) food and drink. Finally, that night, we headed to the train station and boarded our overnight train for Hoi An.
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