Nha Trang and Mui Ne, Vietnam
My journey continued through Vietnam, and from Hoi An, I took a bus to Nha Trang. I found Nha Trang a funny place. It reminded me of any touristy place really, with many skyscrapers and there were so so many Russian tourists! If you like the beach, this is a great place to spend a few days and walk along the boulevard. There are a number of tours you can book as well!
How to get around
After a good night sleep, I decided to rent a scooter for the day which cost me 120.000 Vietnamese Dong. It was certainly the easiest way to explore and started with a visit to the Po Nagar Tower, a beautiful Hindu temple. The entrance to the site was 20.000 Dong.
As I had the scooter and I could venture a little further out, I decided to drive to the Chua Suoi Do Temple. And I had the best day of my time in Vietnam! When I arrived I was welcomed by staff and monks! And although they spoke no English, and myself barely Vietnamese, I ended up staying for 3-4 hours! We had tea and they gave me a meal. We had some coffee and a lovely cake afterwards! It was so serene here! No tourists (I was the only westerner) and the setting in the mountains was just beautiful!
Later in the afternoon I went to visit the Big Buddha, which is free to enter. It is also known as the Long Son Pagoda. As I always love visiting a local market I also headed to the Chợ Đầm market.
Snorkelling and Diving in Nha Trang
The following day, I decided to take a boat tour around the islands of the coast of Nha Trang. I was clearly lost in translation as I thought we’d go to an actual island, but the idea was to go snorkelling or diving. All good with me as I love the ocean! I paid 250.000 Dong for the tour and the cost to rent snorkelling gear was another 350.000 Dong. Yup… funny pricing!
But to be completely honest… It was pretty horrible! The sea was FULL of plastic, the equipment was very basic, the visibility was poor and a long story short, if you’ve dived before in a beautiful spot, I won’t recommend doing it here! I ended up cleaning the ocean for an hour and I got many stares hahaha But I ended up doing what felt right. It goes to show that we have A LOT of work to do to clean up the planet!
So my verdict about Nha Trang was mixed. I found it too touristy and the places that you can visit are packed. The night market was very small and no different to other markets in Vietnam. If you have children it might be fun to visit the Vinpearl Water Park. So I left earlier than expected and I took a bus to Mui Ne for 160.000 Dong.
Mui Ne was a lot nicer. I booked a beautiful room with the view over a palm tree garden and a swimming pool! I was also excited about the spots to visit. The following morning I was picked up at 4 am for a Jeep tour! I paid 400.000 Dong for a half-day tour.
White Sand Dunes
The first place to visit was the White Sand Dunes where you can enjoy a beautiful sunrise! To get to the dunes, however, you kinda have to take the option to drive there by ATV, which was ANOTHER 350.000 Dong! You could walk but it is a little far and walking in the sand is very tiring. And to be fair, ATVs are pretty fun 😉 And when you think you’re the only crazy person that got out of bed at 4 am? Think again! I took the below image with no people in it, but there were at least 500 people to see the sunrise!
I was lucky enough the jeep driver wanted to stop at the beach on the way to the Red Sand Dunes. I had 10 minutes alone to watch the sun come up properly without the hordes of tourists.
Red Sand Dunes
After the White Sand Dunes, it was time to visit the Red Sand Dunes. Here I got some time to walk around and explore. The amount of plastic in the dunes was unbelievable again…
The Fairy Springs in Mui Ne
After the Red Sand Dunes, I had a coffee to wake up and visit the Fairy Springs. The price to enter was 15.000 Dong and this place was absolutely beautiful. You may have noticed I’m not too keen on busy and touristy places 😉 So if you’re like me, it’s worth walking pretty far into the stream. You’ll be completely alone here to enjoy the beautiful colours of the trees, the water and the rocks.
I stayed a couple of nights in Mui Ne before taking a bus to Ho Chi Minh City. So 2-3 days is enough to explore the sites but there are some beautiful hotels here where you could spend some time to relax. I hope these tips have been useful when you visit the southern part of Vietnam.
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