Nha Trang itself is a port city, and while it has a beach, the beaches is Vietnam aren’t great like we Aussies are used to. But it has islands close to the coast, hence the main reason for our visit. The first day we just hired a bike and scooted around checking out Buddha’s, Temples and Boats and then the second day we headed out for a boat trip to the islands.
We visited a large island community that is based on fishing and had a great morning wondering around the village, taking photos and talking to all the kids. From the island we got bamboo boats back to our main boat. I say bamboo boats but they are really large round bathtub like creations that are made from woven bamboo and then cased in mud to seal them. They actually come is varying sizes beleive it or not and some of the fishermen go quite a way out from the land in them. It is calm waters, but even still – they are just baskets that float!
These skippers (read little sun conscious ladies) have this unique paddling action that stops you spinning like a top and they can get quite fast surprisingly. They are used for fishing close to the land and of course ferrying tourists now!
From there we headed out to a snorkelling spot and to get in the water. Unfortunately it wasn’t a great day so our snorkelling was ordinary at best, but the water was lovely and once you got your head around a very strong current, just being in the ocean was amazing. They always feed you so well on these boat trips and a great lunch of local seafood delicacies was a great touch.
The girls all visited the mud baths the second day but I didn’t think my claustrophobia would cope too well with that so we just went wandering around Nha Trang.
We found this awesome gallery of local arts and crafts and particularly the Vietnamese Embroidery. You have never seen anything like this. The gallery is full of what you initially think are photos but when you get close they are the finest, best quality embroidery you have ever seen. The most amazing ones are done on an organza like fabric which is see through, so you can see the embroidery from both sides and each side is equally perfect. Anyone who has ever seen a traditional embroidery knows that the back side is quite often a mess, but the fact that these women can do something so fine and so perfect, that is visible from both sides is truly amazing.
Most of the pieces you probably wouldn't have in your home (OK well I wouldn't) but you are just in awe of the quality. Luckily we found a great piece that was actually in the embroidery frame to show the process and it was only 90% finished. So we managed to talk them into giving us that one. Well selling it to us. It’s only black and greys and it’s a simple fisherman casting his net. All but the net are done but it has the pencil outline for the net on the fabric and we loved it. So I’ve got to create an appropriate frame to display it which should be fun.
Brad finished the day with a nice massage and I read my book over a few beers. Starting to relax and its feeling good.
- Get out and about - there's lots outside the actual town
- Grab a boat trip, especially one over to the island, its a great morning out.
- Avoid the big hotels - as usual very expensive.
- Don't be scared to go into a arts and crafts store. Sure they would like to sell you something but the quality of the work is a must see.
- Evening is when most things get really pumping so plan a quiet day and ramp it up on dusk.