19th February 2012
Weather not great so after a little breakfast we rented some scooters and set off to explore Nha Trang.
First stop the National Oceanographic museum near the port. After a few drive-bys (not very well signposted) we arrived and after paying our entrance fee we walked into the museum for some aquatic explorations. Several large tanks greeted us with fish and eels, and sharks and turtles. A bit tired looking in places, some parts were really well done and the room of specimens, some 10,000 plus was mind-boggling – rows and rows of shelves of small jars pickling their specimens.
The boys loved it and we passed a happy couple of hours looking at all the life – both alive and dead.
We left the Oceanographic centre and had lunch at a local vegetarian restaurant – very basic set up, but the food was great, and then we headed to look at the Cham towers; not some office block, but remains of 12th Century civilisation. Ok, not as impressive as some of the ruins we have seen, but it was alive with tourists and local worshippers who found space in front of the temples to pray and filled the insides with a fog of incense.
After the temple we headed back into Nha Trang to see some coast line – where a giant fairy was said to have left a hand print – but although we found the spit, we didn’t find the foot.
We had a filling dinner and then headed to the beach to watch the sea crash onto the waves – this time we had a camera!
20th February 2012 – Buddha & Baths
We headed to Long Son Pagoda today for some more temple exploring and to see one of the largest Buddha statues in Vietnam, standing at 9m high sitting on a lotus flower base. On entering the complex we were told to park and to pay for the privilege, but we were not in the mood to pay 10,000 Dong each for it, and as we were about to leave, a friendly local told us we could just park around the corner from the lady for free!!
The temple was simple and we paid our respects along with devotees before climbing the stairs past the myriad of beggars to arrive at the foot of the giant Buddha. The site was serene and we enjoyed both the statue and the view from the top. On the way down, we wrote a prayer to Buddha and stuck it on the inside of the giant bell, ringing it to send the prayer to Buddha.
From there we were off for some pampering. Just 5km past the Cham towers is a mud spa and we thought it would be great fun for us and the kids to take a bath in mud and then luxuriate in the hot spring waters. The day was not warm, and we were glad that the liquid mud was warm as we laid luxuriating in the murky water bath. We had endless fun covering each other from head to toe in the mud, feeling our skin lose 10 years in the process!!
Afterwards we cleaned off under hot mineral water showers, followed by what I can only describe as a jet wash for humans. Then it was a short walk to our hot mineral bath where we soaked away the stresses and strains of 6 months of travel. We reluctantly left the bath and after sitting under a hot spring waterfall to massage our muscles it was into the 40 degree mineral water swimming pool.
We so did not want to leave, but eventually we had to so that we could get back before it got dark. What a fabulous treat and for less that £5. The following is a photo of the entrance area of the spa, we didn’t get many inside because of all the water and mud!!
Another evening stroll along the wave pounded beach and then bed – a wonderful day.
21st February 2012
A morning of packing followed by a last stroll on the beach – and a mad dip in the ocean by the boys. Luca did not have his underpants and after a great deal of angst and a fair amount of pressure on his brothers to go skinny dipping, he too went in to enjoy the waves.
Then it was a quick lunch and all aboard the sleeper bus to Hoi An.