I am furious at myself for not taking more photos of this little adventure because it was one for the books.
We only stayed in Nha Trang for one night, but it felt like a different world after being in quaint little Da Lat for a few days. The very Russian inhabited beach resort city was full of westernized restaurants and big high rise hotels. We stayed in a simple little guest house, but down the street was the iHome hostel which based on the sounds coming from its rooftop bar sounded like it was a blast! We were way too exhausted and lame from our new found full-time biker lifestyle to partake, but if I were backpacking normally and they had space I probably would have opted for its more social atmosphere.
Another luxury that Nha Trang brought with it was its choice of international cuisine. Vietnam’s coast (especially old port towns such as Hoi An) is well known for its blended culinary roots due to French occupation and ancient Oriental trade. Nha Trang takes a more modern, upscale twist to this concept, and – much to Liam’s chagrin (He was the stickler when it came to food costs. I’m the worst.) we treated ourselves to some fine(ish) dining while we were there.
On our one day spent in the resort town – nay – city, we decided to follow the internet’s advice and take a booze cruise out into the bay. Well, we arrived with rucksacks full of liquor (sorry, Mom) and found ourselves in a WILD group of Asian families…. As we squeezed ourselves and our hidden stash in between a group of Chinese 7-year-olds, we couldn’t help but think that we had severely missed the mark on this one.
Several other western tourists were looking around in apparent confusion, and after a failed attempt to convince the captain that I wasn’t feeling well and should probably go (Spineless, Jess. He was having none of it. ) we were off into the swells.
Turns out, it was the innocent G-rated day-trippers who had it wrong! After one questionable stop at an unimaginative “aquarium” island, we pulled up to a floating jet-ski rental/restaurant where we all took turns jumping off the top of the boat, risking stings from thousands of tiny jellyfish, and the party began. By stop 3 (who even knows where we were at this point…) the crew was in the water with a barrel of shots, and Liam and myself crowded ourselves in among all of the Chinese and Korean fathers and quickly reestablished the belief that alcohol is a universal language. We had a blast.
By stop four, a floating fishery/seafood market, my staunchly vegetarian self was hardly even bothered by the site of a fish being brutally executed by the side of the boat so that the family next to us could take it home for dinner.
The ride back to the mainland was the real showstopper. The crew dressed up in drag, pulled out a rag-tag assortment of instruments, and launched into a full on concert of a sing-along. The best part was when they went around the boat and asked everyone where they were from and everyone had to get up and sing their “country’s song.” The Koreans delivered a moving rendition of Gangnam Style, another couple of Americans and I did our best Backstreet Boys impression, but the true star was Liam who was made to get up by himself and do the Haka with the whole crew! PRICELESS.
That night after a stroll through the night markets, we packed up our things and got ready for an early departure off into the Vietnamese unknown.
Our pit stop in Nha Trang was well worth it in the end. Its not the most culturally Vietnamese place that we went, but we had a great time and I would definitely recommend passing by in your travels through ‘Nam (or if you happen to be a Russian millionaire maybe buying a beach condo there. I don’t know.) Happy Travels!