Nha Trang is basically a beach party destination, more specifically a Russian beach party destination. I mean I knew there would be lots of Russians but damn, I was surprised at how much they had taken over. Russian run bars, restaurants, tour agencies, etc. Even some of the locals could speak Russian! I’m always amused at Russian tourists. They seem to only travel to their specific little enclaves, ie Goa in India and Pataya in Thailand, presumably because they can’t speak much English. They seem to have a surly, argumentative aura around them, not smiling or laughing much until they’re pounding down some vodka. I did get to talk to a drunk group of them at the shisha bar, and they were certainly entertaining! And they do really love Putin!
I settled on the biggest hostel in town, which advertised a TV room, which I was hoping would have the sports channels. Sadly it was more for movies, and I would have to find another place to watch the Packers game. I ended up renting a bike and exploring the town a bit, but it was really not the most interesting place. You could tell tourist numbers must be down from their peak, presumably after the ruble collapsed, as many of the hotels on the fringes of town seemed to be in state of disrepair. As usual the weather was overcast with spats of drizzle, so the beach was out. I talked to an expat who said he hadn’t seen January weather like this in 20 years. Woop woop.
So I think I mindless rode around every nook and cranny of this town. I was finally getting a pretty good feel for the Vietnamese traffic and how bike etiquette (or lack thereof) worked. There is a method to the madness. But you have to be on constant alert with people pulling off side roads into your lane, people driving down the street the wrong way, potholes etc. But this is all standard. The Vietnamese never seem to mind if someone cuts them off or runs them out of their lane, they just brake, scoot over or whatever, and keep on their way. No one ever gets angry at these things!
The hardest thing for me has always been left turns into busy intersections. If there’s enough people you kind of form a pack and work your way out there and eventually people will be forced to go around you. It’s like schools of fish, impatient fish, on big loud motorbikes. So when your making a left turn and no one else is, it’s pretty intimidating just forcing your way out into oncoming traffic and hoping people just find their way around you. But it always happens! Same thing with walking across a busy intersection, you just have to keep walking and let them go either in front of you or behind you. It’s only if you stop suddenly that you get into trouble!
So I met up with the Irish guy I’d met on train for some food and then we headed back to my hostel, which had free beer for happy hour. It certainly was quite the party hostel. People beer bonging beer mixed with vodka, pounding shots of the super cheap Vietnamese rice wine, etc. Not coincidentally, lots of Irish! We hit the bars later and it was nice to get in a party night. It ended at the beach, which is always the best place for a nightcap!
At 3am it started dying down and now it was time for me to find a sports bar that was still open! Well that wasn’t happening, so I attempted to stream it back at the hostel. But after very laggy results and the Packers already down two scores I passed out and missed most of the game. I guess for the better!
The next day was a bunch of laying at the beach with no sun and then off to the next destination: Mui Ne. It’s pretty similar to Nha Trang, just more chill, with some sand dunes. Still lots of Russians. And it’s great if you’re into or looking to learn windsurfing/kitesurfing. It was cloudy again, so I decided to not stay long. Vietnamese New Year (Tet) was coming up, and travel arrangements would be getting more difficult, so I thought I’d just hang out in Ho Chi Minh City for that. Of course it was sunny the next morning in Mui Ne when my bus left for HCMC!