Linh Phuoc Pagoda
Got up at 7am and went to breakfast, I had an omelette and baguette. K had stomach issues so she didn't have breakfast today. We left at 7:45am and our first stop was the village of Trai Mat and the Linh Phuoc Pagoda, 9km from Dalat. The pagoda is heavily decorated in ceramic mosaics of all colours, making dragons, Buddhas and other shapes. The main hall had a 5m tall Buddha - all the Buddhas here have several rings of neon halos around their heads - but there was also an about 10m high Buddha outside made entirely of everlasting flowers! We passed through the Pass on the way to Nha Trang
and stopped to take photos of the valley below, paying 1000D to use the scenic view toilet! Arrived in Nha Trang about 1pm or so, again a lovely hotel (Vien Dong Hotel), this time with a swimming pool too! I headed straight for lunch at the restaurant with E and L where I had veggie noodles and an Orangina.
~10m-high Buddha made entirely of everlasting flowers
At 3pm we met up with Y and M, after we had taken a short stroll up Nha Trang beach. Managed to get a bit wet from the buffeting waves! We headed to the Cham Towers at 3pm, which were built between the 7th and 12th centuries. It is a Buddhist worship place which has survived the intervening centuries well, on the banks of the Cai River. I enjoyed wandering around soaking up the feel of the place. Lots of people were praying there. Y told us infertile couples come to pray at the main tower to try and bear children. After the Cham Towers we headed to Thap Ba Hot Spring Centre. For 110,000D inc all the activities, towel hire and the taxi back, we had many hours of fun. There were heaps of different sections including hot massage showers, warm thermal mud baths, hydrotherapy sprays (cold), and 38C hot mineral baths, massaging waterfalls, and outdoor heated swimming pools.
It was quite funny to see all the local Vietnamese people (very few foreigners) in their dark blue hired swimming costumes which consisted of bike shorts and a tank or singlet top. I found the whole experience very relaxing, rather amusing, and quite kitsch. Certainly worthwhile! Got back to the hotel at about 6pm, had a quick shower, then met up with the group again at 7pm. K was feeling a lot better so that was good. We decided to head to Omar's Tandoori Cafe was recommended both by Y + LP. For 130,000D inc tip I got a veritable smorgasbord of food - I had a fresh mango juice, steamed rice, potato paratha and malai kofta. It was sublime! No way could I finish it all. I don't think anyone could actually! Opposite us was a college dorm so we took turns staring at the students and having them stare at us! On the way back to the hotel stopped and got a big bottle of water - the two best brands seem to be Aquafina and La Vie.
Y told us lots of interesting stuff at dinner. Her and her boyfriend plan to get engaged in July and married in October, and will probably honeymoon in Dalat. When we were there she spent some time looking for a good wedding photographer both for her and for her friend who is also getting married this year. She also told us about groups of German and Japanese males for whom the local guide (not the main guide) must be a young female so they can all sleep with her - disgusting. Not Intrepid of course though! E said he was propositioned more than once in HCMC. Back at the hotel K + I talked for ages then went to sleep quite late.