Multilateral Nha Trang: soviet Bulgaria and ancient Champa

The view we encountered on arrival was not very promissing, Nha Trang to some extent looks pretty much like hotel resorts we visited at the Bulgarian seaside, which is not what we came for to Vietnam. The enormous, ugly palace with a communist flag on top, located in front of the city beach, was the icing on the cake. This landscape may just happen to have something to do with the fact, that there is a direct flight from Moscow to Nha Trang.

Just as in Da Lat, we stayed at the hotel offered by the Hanh Cafe travel agency we travelled with, because we didn’t want to waste time looking for another place and would rather just go directly to the beach. Of course it didn’t go without pretending we were leaving because of the price offered and in the end we got a decent twin room for 12$. Not to be too fussy, the last thing I’ll complain about today was the dirty water at the beach, which didn’t encourage us to go snorkeling, so we just went swimming trying to keep our heads above water.

We read in a guidebook that there is fantastic seafood in Nha Trang and we can confirm that, you just have to find a dead end without Russian tourists, where the prices are much lower. We enjoyed very much the taste of the small shells you can see in the picture, fried in deep oil with garlic. They were quite hard to open though, so the waitress helped us with her own hands, which is the most likely reason why we felt sick the following day, which was the first and the last time we had stomach problems in Vietnam. We also tried the juices, which were just as fresh, cheap and delicious as in Mui Ne. The tempura shrimps, which we had close to beach, tasted rather mcdonaldish.

As for the street snacks, we tried something which tasted like buns cooked on damp, which we know from Polish cuisine. They came in two flavours: white ones with meat and greenish with coconut. The banana fritters and the sugar cane juice were as good as always. Especially the drinks were vital, as the midday temperatures were extreme. The women who prepared it for us, at first surprised us with her very good English  and then told us the story of her family, most of which emigrated to Switzerland. She was such a good storyteller that we had annother glass.

Now let’s go to the heart of the matter. Nha Trang offers a remarkable temple complex too, some of which dating to the 5th century. We got there by motorbike taxi, as we didn’t feel like walking after the seafood from the day before. After our experience in Saigon we  established the price before we set off, 40 000 VND for the two of us. I was quite sceptical about packing three people on one motorcycle, but we didn’t die, so well, fair enough. The Champa temples are really beautiful, the dancing show you can see in the picture was also quite interesting. When we were done sightseeing, the driver was still waiting for us on the street, so we decided on another ride to the main Buddhist temple of Nha Trang. On our way we also stopped at a Christian Cathedral. You can see as well the nearby cemetary, quite unusual as for its compact form. We do appreciate the fact that Vietnam is so multicultural. The Buddha appeared in three incarnations: the gold one in the temple, and two large, white copies above it, one lying and one sitting. We had to walk many steps to see them, so on our way I had a moment of relaxation while sitting inside of a huge bell with a monk ringing it, and I refused to pay for it.

And the last snack: freshly peeled fruit were “right up our street” before a long night bus ride to Hoi An.


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