Day 35. Sun 6/12
Hoi An▶Nha Trang
Clothes pick up, travel day
After a tough decision, we decided that the whole group would head to Nha Trang today. Originally Mike, Josh and I were going to catch a flight back to Ha Long Bay to take a cruise around the islands there and visit Catba Island, but we decided the hassle of traveling and trying to meet up with a tour group (who was coming from a different location) wouldn’t be worth the time and money when we could find things to do in Nha Trang too. Instead I put Ha Long Bay on my ever-growing list of places to go when I’m back in Vietnam next.
Before we set off on our 9 hour drive we made a stop in Hoi An at Tony’s one last time to finalize our clothes fittings and fork over some cash. We left with 2 huge boxes of clothes that were completely wrapped in packing tape – the postman had the packages all ready to ship and then informed us that it would be 350 bucks to ship them home. So we said “nah”, paid for the boxes, and starting planning on how to have Josh use his 2 free checked bags to take them home next week.
Hillary’s connections in Nam hooked us up with a 10-passenger van to take to Nha Trang, which was awesome because we had such hard luck with the trains and buses previously.
We left around noon from Hoi An and didn’t get to Nha Trang until about 10pm. During the car ride we mostly just tried to catch up on sleep, but it was still a pretty eventful day. Within the first hour we almost experienced our first motorbike accident – our driver slammed on the brakes, laid on the horn and dodged the bike and the huge crate of ducks (the Aflac kind) the bike was carrying. Our driver got out and helped the man up, and he seemed fine but the ducks were a little riled up. I hope that guy stops and looks both ways before pulling on to the highway in the future – it could have been really bad if our driver didn’t react in time 🙈
Our driver stayed alert by singing to some dance-y Vietnamese music (imagine the background music on a Kidz Bop track), intermittently honking his horn (just like everyone else here I guess) and chugging Redbull (and then tossing it out the open window). He also stopped to ask for directions about ten times as we looked for a place to eat lunch and then again as we neared the city.
I think Trang and Po wanted to give us an authentic lunch off the highway, but the first place we stopped was a little sketchy. Kaija and I had to pee so we snaked around the side of the restaurant and past a pig pen (with piglets!) to the nastiest bathroom we’ve encountered on this trip. We got back and decided to stop elsewhere, which ended up being better but still a little too authentic for my taste.
As night fell we worked on a crossword puzzle together and talked about some of the things we were excited to see in Nha Trang. And did some more sleeping. As we got closer to the city, we drove on a long stretch of highway with a ton of motorbikes – talk about a scooter gang – and then entered what was the largest city we had seen since Hanoi weeks ago. We hit up the Why Not bar for a late dinner because it was the only thing open (and why not?) and ran in to Thanh Nguyen, another Iowa Stater! What are the chances…
We checked in to an extremely average hotel, which when then checked out of and moved down the street to an apartment building/hotel the next morning. Although the hallways were an extremely inefficient use of space (pet peeve), the room was definitely an upgrade, and had a cool view of the city and beach of Nha Trang. I can’t wait to get my toes in that sand!
- One more omelette from the resort restaurant
- Some sort of bun cha-like dish and squid. Authentic aka suspect
- Sub par margharita (cheese) pizza at the Why Not bar. Idk why we keep ordering pizza and thinking it will look like the menu picture 😦