On the road: Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne and Nha Trang, Vietnam
A few years back KC and I traipsed from the bottom to the top (and back down to the bottom) of Vietnam. In only 2 weeks we managed to cover couple of cities (Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi), a couple of beaches (Mui Ne and Nha Trang) and even throw in a quick side trip to Cambodia. We were constantly on the go with lots of short haul flights and one crazy bus ride to Mui Ne (the tourist bus was sold out so we took the local bus… not a wise move unless you enjoy watching Vietnamese Idol at full volume for 5 hours straight…). But we covered a lot of territory and had a great time.
HCMC (formerly Saigon) is your standard Asian city with insane traffic but has pretty good food. You really don’t need more than a day or two here.
Mui Ne is a charming fishing town with a great beach area a few hours drive from HCMC. Quite windy so not the best for diving/snorkelling but definitely lots of wind/kite surfing and some nice boutique resorts. There are also some pretty cool sand dunes nearby. Fish sauce is produced here so you may get a whiff depending on which way the wind is blowing…
Nha Trang is the beach capital of Vietnam. Don’t go for culture, it’s about as authentic as Disneyland. But if you just want some sun and sand and an easy flight from HCMC or Hanoi, Nha Trang is perfect.
What I ate/drank: tapas at Pacharan (HCMC), sugarcane prawns and other Vietnamese treats at Cuc Gach Quan (HCMC), many glasses of iced vietnamese coffee at Highlands (everywhere), dinner and drinks at the Sailing Club (Mui Ne), fresh grilled seafood in Nha Trang and lots and lots and lots of spring rolls.
What I did: lots of beach time in Mui Ne and Nha Trang, Notre Dame Cathedral (HCMC), cheap foot massages and walking around the old city.
What I read to get in the mood: “The Headmaster’s Wager“ by Vincent Lam
Keep in mind:
– crossing the street, especially in HCMC, is a fine art: millions of motorbikes whiz by and there aren’t exactly official pedestrian crossings anywhere. Your first instinct will be to run – don’t. Instead, take a deep breath and slowly inch your way across the road – the bikes will move around you, promise!
Photos (mine, Canon Powershot):
– Mui Ne Beach
– Nha Trang Beach