Friday, December 26, 2008

Nha Trang or Miami South Beach?

Before heading into grandma’s village we decided to stay a few days at a beach town on Vietnam’s central coast. Known for its nightlife and hard partying beach community, Nha Trang was a nice beach getaway.

We soon found ourselves comparing Nha Trang to our Miami South Beach vacation. Such as no hotels are allowed on the beach-side of the main drag, with all the hotels on the other side of the main road across from the beach. Our hotel, similar to the one we stayed at in Miami was cute, pastel and art deco.

Yet another similarity to Miami’s South Beach was the bars/restaurants that line the beachfront were set up to look like a fancy hotel’s pool area, with beachfront lounge chairs, a pool, restaurant, bar and pool tables, all for use if you dine at the restaurant.
We spent most of our time on the beach sun bathing (the same day another snow/ice storm was rolling into Portland and Anne got sunburnt). Anne also lost our first day of pictures due to late night downloading - ooppss. We looked for and found the Big Buddha and the Leaning Buddha - We looked for and found the ancient Cham temples
We looked for and found the temple where Anne’s grandparents are resting.

We went up into the foothills to soak in Thap Ba’s mud bath and hotsprings. (No pictures, we didn’t want to ruin the camera with the mud). The mud soak was in big tubs for two or a large group tub. We got our own and found it hard to not float to the top in the murky thick, salty mud that made our skin glow and silky smooth. The hotsprings were pumped over limestone rocks that created waterfalls you could sit under and get an instant massage – take note Bonneville, Carson and Bagby, need to get on this pronto! Finding ourselves saying that a lot “why don’t they do this back home?” And an extra bonus – Vietnam’s first brewpub! And what a brewpub it is! Opened by a brewmaster from Australia, who is getting his PhD in brewing (we didn’t even know there was such a thing!) The brewpub has a nice selection of craft beers made on premise, right on the beach with lounge chairs you could rent on the beach or by the pool; an insanely huge menu of food ranging from Vietnamese, Fresh Seafood, Western, Pub Grub and SUSHI!!!! Again similar to our favorite restaurant in Miami - NEXXT Café. The brewpub also had free pool and wifi. Can you say HEAVEN??? Needless to say we visited the pub everyday we were in Nha Trang.

Nha Trang was the first city in Vietnam we rented a scooter and roamed the city like locals.

We even make a pitstop for a liter of gasoline that allowed us to roam the city for hours.

We ate the best Italian gelato with tropical flavors like mango, durian, lychee, soursop, papaya, jackfruit and pineapple - we treated ourselves to a cone everyday and at 60 cents a scoop who could resist?

We ate very little Vietnamese food in Nha Trang, knowing we would soon be indulging in the best family prepared meals of the trip, so we opted for lots of sushi, pub grub and rib snack plates instead.

On our final night we had brick-oven-wood-burning pizza.

While making a u-turn in a back alley, we spotted the restaurant and saw the oven from outside, we couldn't believe our luck when we realized the owners were real Italians, in Vietnam, who knew.

Seriously Donnatella Versace herself, her outfit – WOW. It was interesting to see the four Italians sit at the only outside table, sipping grappa, smoking cigarettes and speaking Vietnamese and Italian.
The weather was cloudy two of the three days we were in Nha Trang, so we were unable to take a boat out to the numerous islands to go snorkeling and of course our last day was perfect sunny island-hopping weather. Next time!
Our time in Nha Trang, just like in Miami, was a pleasant stopover before the real adventure begins!


Tri and Justin said...

Ba Ngoai looks feisty as ever! I miss her. And I miss you guys!

christineburgess said...

I love the big beautiful buddhas- He always smiles when he lays down it seems. I love the gas station. have mangosteen if you get a chance. love, Heather's aunt christine.