Down to the beach...
Nha Trang Travel Blog› entry 20 of 26 › view all entries
After new years, we all got up late and had a very slow breakfast as it took ages to find the cafe suggested in the LP (as it is with most things in Hanoi). I had the most amazing Kiwi Full Breakfast...Amelia and Andy didnt want to eat there as they only served western food so we made our way back to Cafe Mocha where they got some Vientamese food. It was so late by then that we just hung around and visited lots of the little shops...we went in one with silk dresses - where Amelia and I bought one each for $45 (22 pounds) - ok, i'm sure we could get it cheaoer but absolutely loved the pattern on the silk so just gave in and bought it. Few more shops and then went back...went to meet Laura at the Backpackers Hostel at 7 where we walked down to ? restaurant - one i've heard many people talk about as sits 200 people and you can see them making the food all round the edge of the restaurant - was so busy we had to wait for a seat - seemed to have lots of young/trendy/rich vietnamese there. We ordered a number of dishes and tried them all in our little eating bowls - unfortunately it was extremely difficult to identify what anything was when it arrived - one stange one with thin pancakes, strange drumsticks with seafood on and then bit of lettiuce - we guessed you were supposed to make your own pancake from that?! We then ordered some of the Vietnamese desserts which were even weirder - one came in a drinking glass and looked like it had green peas at the bottom, and then wierd jelly black things (thought thye might be cockroaches initially!) and transparent things - did make me feel a bit ill eating it. The soaked banana cake in coconut milk was very nice though. We then walked down to pick up our plane tickets from the tourist info office and then on to the puppet theatre, which we'd booked the day before as sooo popular. Into a theatre, with the smallest seat space in the world and then the performance began - first with the musicians playing and singing at the side of the stage - and then the big tank of green water, with a pagoda as a back drop - the puppets suddenly appeared, dancing dragons who were spitting flames, and then fishermen trying to catch fish, little boys playing in the water, and then rows of women dancing - was amazing, i loved it! Even though the story was told in Vietnamese you could kind of guess what was going on...think there was the myth of the turtle in the lake coming up and snatching the sword and taking it back under. At the end the pupetters came from behind the screen, soaking wet as they been standing thigh deep in the tank of water for the whole hour! We then went back to bed, unfortunately just as we were dropping off we heard a chirping animal noise, which sounded like it was in the wardrobe in our room...this led to a night of everyone being on edge, and then an empty beer can on the floor fell over on its own, maybe a mouse. Anyway that was a very bad nightsleep. We then all got up at 7am ready for our day trip to Halong Bay (even thought they advise against this as far too far away and the bay too big to see in a day). 3 and 1/2 hours on the minibus, reaching Halong city and waiting for our Junk (name of the boats there, don't know why they're called that?!),,,clambered over about 4 boats to get to ours. And we set off - as we got nearer the islands amazing views - huge rocks looming up out of the sea (apparently there is nearly 2000 islands). We got into a beautiful area surrounded by islands, with lots of floating houses. We docked at one of these and got off to see what a floating house is like - lots of little dens with different fish, crab, squid available to buy...their house literally had a bed in and that was it. Back on the boat and we had a seafood dinner - spring rolls, squid, fish. Then on with our tour round some more islands - unfortunately I got pestered to death by woman selling pearls on the boat, they just don't take no for an answer. we then moored again on one of the islands, and walked up some steps to view an absolutely massive cave - with fountains and fake illuminated colured lights - didnt' actually mind as was such an impressive cave. Our guide showed us a number of identifiable objects from the stalligmites/stalligtites such as a dancing couple, 2 womens nipples (this was initally the name of the cave but they had to rename it for the tourists). Then walked round to another massive cave and back on the boat, back to the port and then on the bus - more time travelling than actually in Halong Bay but it was worth it.
On the Thursday morning we walked down to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum complex - unfortunately it shut at 11am-1.30pm during the day and we arrived at quater to 11 - also the security is ridiculously tight there- had to leave all our valuables at a desk, and then walk through an airport body searcher. Couldn't take our cameras through. I was keen to visit the Mausoleum so we had to line up in pairs and then wait for the white army suited guards to walk us up to the massive square pillared granite building, so ugly and so masive. We were told to be quiet, to take sunglasses off our heads etc. Then on a red carpet up to the entrance, lined by guards, in to the building round a few corridors, getting even murkier and darker as we went, then into the central room, where it was very dim, with a glass coffine/case in the very centre of the room, with guards surrounding it and a bright light on the face of Ho Chi Minh who was lying out in the case. We had to keep walking until we were out the other side of the room - soo strange! Anyway then back to our hotel, ordered a taxi which took us to the airport and then flight to Nha Trang - all the way down south. Ironically the sun had been out in Hanoi for the last 2 days, blue skies and quite warm when the sun shone. Arrived in Nha Trang, all the way down the country towards Ho Chi Minh (unfortunately missing out on Hue and Hoi An, but Amelia and Andy don't have enough time in their schedule to do it by bus) - a lot warmer and humid but sky covered with clouds - damn! Tiny airport where we collected our bags and then another taxi to our chosen hotel 'Perfume grass Inn' right by the beach. We went out to dinner at a very posh restaurant on the beach called 'The Sailing Club' - the most expensive meal i've had since being here but tasted soo good - it was an indian. We then went and sat in the very stylish bar and had a drink.