Nha Trang was a relatively brief stop totalling only 3 nights stay, from first impressions it was full of expensive bars, restaurants and giant hotel resorts, packed full of Russian holidaymakers. In fact, menus and information signs were more likely to be written in Russian than in Vietnamise. Lauren Lucie and I walked for what felt like hours to find one of the few backpacker hostels, (Andrew and Roxanne had decided on a hotel room for this spot), after checking in we happened to find a man asleep in what was Lucies bed and not enough room for our backpacks, we decided to check straight back out and head elsewhere. We stumbled upon HQ backpackers, which was much better, even providing breakfast and our own television room, as well as two funny Liverpudlian guys for entertainment. All three of us crashed out together on the sofa, before moving onto our beds to continue the midday nap; it had been a long bus journey ok..
Upon waking we were eager to achieve something with our day, Lucie and Andrew hit the beach whilst Lauren, Rox and I caught a taxi to the infamous mud spas. It was not the spa we had researched, but instead a much posher and more expensive one, reluctively we paid the high fee (Rox lent me a few million due to my missing purse-cheers sister!) and entered the spa. First up was the actual mud bath, a giant half-egg shaped bowl where our personal attendant turned the golden tap and filled it with runny brown mud. It was not as thick as I expected, however it was still fun rolling around covering our faces and enjoying our shiny new mud bodies before we climbed in a boiling hot pool for ‘relaxation’. We made our way through the hot pool, stopping at the cool pool to watch what seemed like an awkward Russian photo shoot between a lady and her two male admirers. We spent quite a lot of time beneath the powerful waterfall feature, rein-acting the said photoshoot with silly poses and lots of amused Chinese tourists. After all the spa activities, which included running through fountains, giant overhead showers and poolside relaxing we scrimped together our remaining money and purchased the cheapest overpriced meal on the menu, which was a pretty bland vegetable fried rice and juice.
I unfortunately wasted some of my time in Nha Trang cancelling debit cards and transferring money into a western union account, whilst continuing to rack up millions of dong worth of debt to my traveller friends. We decided to have a quiet one on our first night, which of course resulted in us all drinking to much, entering beer pong and foosball tournaments. We spent the night again with Marcus and his friends in the Why Not Bar, where the vodka came out of a giant unlabelled plastic tank. I headed on to a beachfront bar with Marcus, where there was talk of a beach bonfire party. The bar itself was really fancy, modern and full of people (mostly Russians), however the bonfire was more of a tiny sandpit, so after a shared cosmopolitan bucket with Marcus we headed back to Why Not bar to continue the cheap vodka drinks and bad dancing.
The next day with our heads hurting, little sleep and aching bodies we thought the local theme park would be the best option. Vin Pearl is a nearby island, owned by a Vietnamese millionaire who turned it into an adventure park island, it is only accessible via cable cart (carriage on a string) over the sea, I believe it’s the longest cable cart over water in the world?! It was a brilliant day, which soon made us forget our hangovers. We started with the water-park; we sped down long narrow slides, dropped into the steep half pipe on a tube and survived the giant space bowl, finishing off on tubes in the wave pool and lazy river – which was actually really dirty and more boring than lazy. Wanting to challenge our hangovers even further we jumped onto the theme park rides, our heads pounding and hearts beating in fear as we hung upside down on the dodgy Vietnamese ride for what felt like 10 minutes, panicking as it shook in the wind. We ran from ride to ride like young children, crashed into each other on the dodgems and spent hours in the video arcade racing each other and eating away at the fresh popcorn. A nice surprise within the theme park was that the ticket fee (500,000 dong) included a dolphin and seal show, we watched as the animals performed clever tricks, jumped through hoops and retrieved items. Vinpearl continued to amaze us, we next headed into a giant aquarium, where Roxanne and I lost the others, but amused ourselves by animating the fish, providing them with personalities and accents. We found ourselves hysterical, and it made what was a good aquarium the best one I’ve ever visited. To top off the day we thought it was only right to ride the toboggan of death down vinpearl hill. Andrew was happy enough to head off in his own toboggan, Roxanne and I were close behind, with her in the drivers seat and me nestled in between her legs we set off up the first steep hill giggling at how we were seated and Andrews excited face as he drove off alone. I trusted Roxanne pretty much as soon as I met her, she appears quite safe and trustworthy…I have now learnt that this does not apply to her driving a toboggan. We sped and turned all the way down the steep hill, where the corners were sharp and overhanging the hill. Rox had decided she wasn’t going to use the breaks at all, which resulted in our cart coming off the rails on one of our fastest corners and me literally screaming out in fear as she sat behind laughing, luckily it reconnected quite quickly, but to say it was scary is an understatement. Nonetheless we survived, laughed the entire way down and will always have our near death toboggan cart experience memory. I truly recommend Vin Pearl for anyone visiting Nha Trang, it was a day where we relived our childhood, danced away on the retro dance machines and ran crazy like children through the park.
Our remaining time in Nha Trang was spent relaxing on the nice beach, and catching some sun. I however caught to much and got badly burnt; to quote my diary I wrote “…still very burnt from the beach, it hurts to shower and wear clothes. If I have skin cancer when I’m older – it is from this day in Vietnam”. Lucie and Lauren somehow managed to go even darker shades of tan and Roxanne stayed exactly the same shade of pale.
Up next on our journey south Roxanne, Andrew and I said goodbye to the girls and headed inland to Da Lat, for a break from the heat whereas they went further south to explore Mui Nei and continue the beach life..