The other side of Vietnam: Nha Trang
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After spending 3 days in the beautiful city of Hoi An (see article), I decide to go to Quy Nhon.
Quy Nhon is a pleasant town to visit, located halfway between the famous cities of Nha Trang and Hoi An. It is known for the Ky Co Beach. Although tourism is increasing in Quy Nhon (especially local tourism), for most travellers it remains off the itinerary. The city is perfect for those who want to stop during the journey from Nha Trang to Hoi An, which usually lasts about 6 hours by bus.
You can reach Quy Nhon either by bus or train. I choose the latter option, even if the train leaves only from Da Nang, 30 km from Hoi An, a destination that I reach by taxi paying about 20 euros. The train leaves me at Dieu Tri station, just 11 km from Quy Nhon.
I take the train at 10:47 pm and arrive at Dieu Tri at 4:30 am. Later I take a taxi for 120,000 dong to reach the hostel O.M.E. Hostel (79,000 dong or about € 3 per night including breakfast). Basic hostel but not too bad, with really friendly staff.
I rent a scooter from a mechanic I meet on the street because I do not see rental shops (maybe I'm just in the wrong area). I pay for the scooter 80,000 dong or € 3 for 24 hours.
I head then to the beach Ky Co. After 1 hour and a half, I arrive at the entrance and realize that it is a private beach and you must, therefore, pay an entrance fee of 60,000 dong plus 40,000 dong for transport from the parking lot to the beach, for a total of 3, 70 €. The beach is very beautiful, with clear water and few tourists. On the way back I stop on the main beach in the city but it is nothing special considering the brownish colour of the sea!
I also recommend trying a vegetarian restaurant called Thanh Tam: exquisite and super cheap dishes. I've been here with a group of friends and we get spring rolls, rice with vegetables, stuffed ravioli, Vietnamese soup and a juice for only 35,000 dong, or about € 1.30 per person.
Here we also try a typical Vietnamese dessert called Chè: it is a glass of coconut milk with beans and jelly cut into small pieces. This mix of ingredients at first leaves me a bit 'hesitant but, once tried, I am amazed positively (I need to specify that I really like beans and that in any case, it has a rather special flavour).
The next day I decide to take a train to Nha Trang. It takes 4 hours and I pay for it 120,000 dong, about € 4.50. This time I'm leaving from Quy Nhon Central Station. From what I have seen so far, I have to say that trains in Vietnam are not bad at all: quite a comfortable seat, air conditioning and bathing in the carriage. Much better than the bus as it is more spacious.
And here I am in Nha Trang. I walk a bit in the centre and I already want to leave.
Despite being a famous seaside resort in Vietnam, Nha Trang impresses me negatively as it is characterized by a strong Russian-style mass tourism, with prices doubled compared to the country's average and a rather turbid sea.
I stay at Backpack Adobe Hostel paying 100,000 dong, or € 3.70, including breakfast and free beer in the evening at the bar. I recommend the hostel also for its staff always very helpful and kind.
To avoid the tourists, I rent a scooter for 113,000 dong - € 4 - and I go to the Ba Ho waterfalls an hour and a half from Nha Trang (20 km north of Nha Trang). Being still in the dry season, there is not much water in the waterfall. To get to the top, moreover, you need to do a half hour of not really easy trekking, especially if considering this humid heat.
Moreover, Bai Dai Beach is a nice beach to visit, located south of Nha Trang, although it fills with local people around sunset and the water is not very clear.
My advice is, therefore, to avoid Nha Trang as it does not represent the true and authentic culture of this extraordinary country. Not bad, however, is Quy Nhon as it is frequented by very few tourists and is interesting to visit. Surely the most fascinating is the landscape of Northeast Vietnam, definitely not to be missed!