Big Indochina Adventure – Days 18 & 19: Nha Trang, Vietnam
We arrived into Nha Trang at about 1:30 PM and made it to our hotel by 3:00 PM. Na Trang is like the Nice of Asia; it is where people go for their beach holidays, specifically Russians.
After dropping our bags off, we met up and headed to the Thap Ba Hot Springs. First, we spent about 45 minutes in a mud bath which was much different than the mud we were catching fish in in the Mekong Delta. This was a bath large enough for 7 people and muddy water came out of a tap. The mud was natural and had a milky texture. By the end, our skin already was soft! The mud has a lot of nutrients, so we were advised not to use soap when we shower that evening. Next, we went into a hot pool with normal water for about 15 minutes before heading to the hotel to shower and get ready for an amazing dinner on the beach!
We then returned to our hotel and changed before meeting up with the group for some pre-dinner drinks along the water. Then, our tour manager took us to a very posh beachfront restaurant, The Sailing Club, that literally set our groups table up on the beach. This was what our tour manager would call a “treat yourself” meal – most meals in Southeast Asia are less than $5, so every once in a while you can treat yourself to an upscale dinner. I had Beef Carpaccio as an appetizer and beef tenderloin as my entrée. They even served some of their drinks in pineapples and coconuts!
After dinner, we moved to bean bag chairs on the beach and had a few drinks to get to know everyone better. I was exhausted, so I left at about 11:00 PM to head back to our hotel. Since we were so tired, we decided to take a cab which cost us less than $1 USD!
The following morning, we woke up at about 8:30 AM to meet our group for a boat trip around the area to go swimming at three different areas. We boarded our boat, the Funky Monkey, which is run by a guy who everyone calls Funky Monkey because he had a tattoo on his chest of a monkey’s head and the words Funky Monkey tattooed on his back. He had a sense of humor that had us laughing the entire time!
At our first stop, we jumped off the boat into chilly water and went swimming for about 20 minutes to a half hour. Unfortunately, I lost my GoPro due to a loose connection on a $2 accessory I bought from Amazon.com that is intended to make the GoPro float. I triple checked it before I jumped in the water to confirm that it was as tight as possible, but it disconnected after about 10 minutes in the water. It’s disappointing because I had about 4 or 5 hours of footage on there, but I’m not going to let that ruin my vacation. As someone said, ‘Nam has my GoPro now’.
At our second stop, our boat linked up to another boat for lunch before the crew did a musical act. The “Funky Monkey Boy Band” played a few hits before asking everyone where they were from. Then, country by country, they had us all go up on a makeshift stage and sing a song from an artist from our country. For England, the entire boat joined in to sing Wonderwall. For Canada, it was the Celene Dion hit from the Titanic, “My Heart Will Go On”. The Koreans danced to Gangnam Style. When the Americans got on stage, we all sung “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. I was actually surprised by how many of the words I still remember. It was a hilarious event. After the concert, they dropped a floating bar in the water and had us all swim up to it for a drink. The water was so cold I only lasted about 10 minutes!
The next stop was off the shore of an island. The water was a bit warmer and we stayed there for about a half hour singing a karaoke version of “American Pie” from the water. After we boarded the boat, it was time to dry off and head back to shore! At about 3:00 PM, our boat docked back at the mainland and we headed to our hotel for a quick shower before meeting up with our group for dinner at the same restaurant as the previous night. We ate just off the beach this time, but the food was still great. I had a few different appetizers, spaghetti Bolognese and a chocolate brownie.
By the time dinner was over, it was 7:00 PM and we were all exhausted, which was good because we had a flight at 7:00 AM the following day and needed to wake up at 4:15 AM. We headed back to the hotel from dinner, packed our bags and were in bed by 7:45 AM. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep, but I think I was asleep by 8:30 AM!
Our time in Nha Trang was great & I would definitely come back for a leisurely few days again!