A Short Visit to Nha Trang in Low Season

I didn’t intend to go to Nha Trang, a coastal city in southern Vietnam, and the way things turned out, I wish I hadn’t. But it was a good midpoint stop on the way from Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An, and my friend’s dad had described it as a “the Riviera of Vietnam,” so I thought I’d stay a couple days to lay out before moving on. As it turned out, I got hit by a car my first full day in town, and I never made it as far as the beach.

Buddha in the distance

Buddha in the distance

The “hit by a car” story is one for another day, but suffice it to say I didn’t explore too much of the town after that. (Yes, I’m fine now, and it’s a funny story in retrospect, so watch this space.) Nha Trang was in low season, anyway; most tourists come during the summer. The weather was warm, of course, but overcast and sticky. Not great for laying out or even working up the energy to go swimming. I saw maybe a couple kids in the water when I took a walk to the edge of the beach. But the wide expanse of sand and the view of hilly islands in the distance hinted at what a nice place this would be in the sunshine.

The beach at Nha Trang

The beach at Nha Trang

I walked up to the Roman Catholic cathedral, which was a strange sight after the many temples I’d seen throughout Southeast Asia. Services were being held when I got there, so I didn’t go in for a good look around, but I did glimpse the neon red cross blazing over the altar. I had to step aside for several elderly ladies zooming up the hill on their motorbikes to attend church.

Nha Trang Cathedral

Nha Trang Cathedral

Neon Jesus

Neon Jesus

nha trangI got lost on the walk back to my hostel, which was great, because I walked through a couple different neighborhoods and got an idea of what the town is like. I walked through an entirely Vietnamese neighborhood, where I smiled at the behind-the-hand giggles my size and whiteness prompted. I then passed through a tourist area filled almost entirely with Russians; this is a popular resort town for people from the eastern part of Russia. Finally, I got within blocks of the beach, an area that mixed English and Russian signage and was entirely populated by Vietnamese tourist businesses and their customers.

I'm not sure why I didn't take any better photos of the Russian signage in town--it was striking to see Vietnamese, Russian, and English all on one storefront

I’m not sure why I didn’t take any better photos of the Russian signage in town–it was striking to see Vietnamese, Russian, and English all on one storefront

Cycle taxis in Nha Trang

Cycle taxis

I’d met a couple of lovely women on the train over from Ho Chi Minh City, and we met up for dinner and drinks at one of the many tourist-and-expat bars in town. Laura and Kate cheered me up immensely after my scrape with a 3,000-pound metal bully, and we danced the night away at an establishment that guaranteed “Free Headache Included” at the bottom of its drinks list. Kind of a fitting end to my brief, strange visit to Nha Trang.

Kate, Laura, and me

Kate, Laura, and me


3 thoughts on “A Short Visit to Nha Trang in Low Season

  1. Pingback: Train Travel in Vietnam | Stowaway

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