The North End

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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Bikers
  

I did a loop around Big Buddha on my way out of town. The back side of the hill was mostly lined with tin sheds of steelworks and industrial machine shops. Somewhere below the Buddha's left shoulder, a neighborhood market lined both sides of the street. I pedaled on out to the familiar railroad bridge, crossed it, then lingered for about an hour. After moseying past the signal station and exploring the tunnel, I went back to the bridge. All motorbikes or bicycles crossing it used the catwalk on the downstream side so I walked across on the other. It was a cheap thrill to see some of the other places I had explored on recent jaunts along the Cai River. I was especially glad to see that the rickety Vinh Ngoc bridge had been repaired after heavy damage and was back in service. I understood the routes and distances that those bikes had to detour.

Train

 

The steel railroad bridge vibrated as motorbikes approached mid-span. Two fishermen appeared from under the north end, swam around a barbed-wire fence, and stole half a dozen coconuts. They floated them back around. The thieves were out of view of the guard who was watching me and the bridge from a wooden tower on top of the hill. A small flat-bottomed boat paddled under me. Finally, while inspecting a pile of boards and lumber across the tracks from the signal station, I heard the call I waited for. My train was coming - and from the north; through the tunnel.

 

I stayed on the north side of the river and headed downstream past the Thap Ba Hot Springs Center, famous for its mud baths.

Along the Cai River
The road also passed the hillside Hoi An Pagoda. Too many wires made photographing the shrine difficult at close range. I hooked a right at a huge boulder that edged the road and, back along the river, found several working boatyards. Though fenced, gates were open and no one seemed to mind my presence. It was always fascinating to see the bigger Vietnamese fishing boats out of water. Their stories would be as exciting as their history and catches. Most of the work seemed to involve repairs. Carpenters hammered inside hulls and mechanics tinkered with engines and machinery. A massive propeller shaft was being fitted with new bearings in front of the on-site machine shop.

 

I continued to the Thap Ba Po Nagar Towers and paid the 11,000 VN  Đong entry fee.

Pillars at the Cham Towers
They are one of Nha Trang's primary attractions and date back to the Cham Kingdom of the 7th Century. Any information signs at the site were in Vietnamese and the brochure I got with my ticket was a sales pamphlet for a fingernail shop. Four of the original eight towers still stand. While local Buddhists prayed and burned incense, only a handful of foreigners strolled the hilltop. I had been to the towers once before but wanted to get better photos and relish the early afternoon breeze. Views from there were also well worth the stop. Fishing boats dotted the mouth of the Cai River and the Xom Bong and Tran Phu Bridges crossed its green waters. The Nha Trang skyline loomed to the south. I pedaled on to the Tran Phu Bridge and made my final mile or two home along the beach. The ride covered maybe ten miles and took about three hours. It offered many sights of Nha Trang, new and old.

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Bikers
Bikers
Train
Train
Along the Cai River
Along the Cai River
Pillars at the Cham Towers
Pillars at the Cham Towers
Behind Buddha hill
Behind Buddha hill
Tracks
Tracks
Tunnel
Tunnel
Ngoc Thao island
Ngoc Thao island
Passenger train
Passenger train
Boatyard
Boatyard
A Cai River boatyard
A Cai River boatyard
Boatyard workers
Boatyard workers
Propeller
Propeller
Two of the towers
Two of the towers
Shaded viewpoint
Shaded viewpoint
View of the Cai River
View of the Cai River
Nha Trang skyline
Nha Trang skyline
Three of the Cham Towers
Three of the Cham Towers
Fourth tower
Fourth tower
One of the towers
One of the towers
Drummer
Drummer
Basket boat and the Tran Phu Bridge
Basket boat and the Tran Phu Bridge
Po Nagar from Tran Phu Bridge
Po Nagar from Tran Phu Bridge
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85