Friday, March 30, 2012

March 22nd – Upriver in Nha Trang

10 years ago, Nha Trang was just a backpacker hangout, but over the past decade the place has been transformed into a large holiday resort, with lines of tall hotels being built along its wide sweeping bay of golden sands.

Not being a great beach lover, I resisted the call of the sea and opted for a river boat trip up the wide Song Cai River. On a swelteringly hot day, we dutifully donned our life jackets, and sailed upriver away from the city. On the way, we passed temples and little waterside villages that looked like they'd hardly changed at all in recent years, in spite of the massive modernisation going on down river in Nha Trang.

We went to a place where they make clay ovens – something that the guide seemed to think was more exciting than I could glean, and then we went to a 150 year old traditional house, where we were entertained with some traditional music. They encouraged me to have a go at the stringed instrument, which I managed to make sound fairly untuneful – I'm not a big fan of Vietnamese music, but there's more to it than meets the eye (or the ear).

So our last day in fast-changing Vietnam was a gentle one – I wonder how much it will have changed by the time we come back here in 12 months time?