Vietnam: From inner city Hanoi to the Mekong countryside Part 3: My Son and Nha Trang Islands

Temple detail at My SonIt kept raining over night and our trip to the My Son temple site was destined to get us a bit wet. The site originates from the Kingdom of the Champa and is situated inlands of Hoi An. We went there by bus and it was drizzling happily, when we arrived. Since it didn’t look like it would improve, we bought two of the plastic bag type raincoats and actually wore them, when we walked off to the site.

The access to the site was under construction so we got to be driven up the road with 4WD jeeps. Nice! Then it was another short hike to the overgrown ruins. That was all we needed to get more wet from sweating under the plastic than from the rain. Plastic raincoats in the tropics ar e not a good idea. Eventually the rain lessened a bit too we stuffed these crappy raincoats back to where they belong. In their own little plastic bag… what a relief, our skin could breathe again. The ruins themselves are a bit scattered in a tropical forest setting at the back of a wider valley. There wasn?t really much to see at the ruins themselves though. Everything looks like a pile of red bricks left in the jungle, which over the years have been overgrown with the local vegetation. We enjoyed walking around nevertheless and even found a wild star fruit tree ;-)

On the way back from My Son to Hoi An we boarded a boat and went on a river cruise with a stop at a wood carving workshop in a local village along the river. We marveled at all the wood work available and the good prices you can get. An advantage is that you can do personal orders from overseas as well. Something to keep in mind for the future, when we want to buy a nice garden furniture set or so.

Back in Hoi An we went for a dinner and prepared for departure again. The bus to Nha Trang was waiting. The trip started at 7:00 in the evening and proofed to be a hell of a trip. For sure the worst bus ride I ever had in my life. The road from Hoi An to Nha Trang is mostly a gravel road with the exceptional stretch of bitumen. There are potholes like you wouldn’t believe on highway number one in any country. In addition the overnight traffic is busy, fast and definitely dangerous. There were a few accidents on the way and some near misses on our behalf. We could constantly hear the suspension of our bus going wild and our bus driver going crazy with the horn and overtaking. I don’t think anybody really slept on this trip. The only cool thing were the views we got now and then especially towards our arrival.

You can imagine what we felt like when we arrived in Nha Trang .. ready for a shower and bed. This is exactly what we did. At least for a while anyway. Then we went to eat something and explore Nha Trangs beach. Nha Trang itself is a bigger town with a long beach strip and islands scattered in the sea in the surrounding area. The really nice thing about visiting Nha Trang is actually not Nha Trang, but the islands. This is why we booked a island hopping day trip for the next day.

So the next day we joined a group of local showmen on a Mama Linhs boattrip and had a ball. We went for some snorkeling and were less than impressed. This also decided for me that going for a dive trip will not be worth it either. But we enjoyed the band on board playing musically wrong and singing badly, but with all their heart and soul. They sang an Australian song for us .. a kanagaroo song they called it… Waltzing Matilda .. hahaha… and then the Austrian song had to be replaced by a German one … Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht. And yes.. we had to sing along. And yes, people started dancing on board. It was just crazy. We had an awesome time.

We also went for a swim around a floating bar with some bad wine everybody drank delightfully. We went for a ride in the local basket boats and hung out on the beach of one of the resort islands. All in all a great day. We got plenty of food during the day but when we got back we were hungry anyway … luckily we made a discovery the day before. We found a local vegetarian restaurant called Au Lac, which provided some great meals for incredible low prices. It was even cheap for a local eatery. Au Lac actually means eating vegetarian, but that didn’t really give the food enough credit.

The next day we stayed in Nha Trang to check out the town a bit more.