Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 2 – Nha Trang

Today the ship came into the beach resort of Nha Trang in Central Vietnam, to enable the passengers to work on their tans. The place definitely has a fantastic long beach of white sand lapped by turquoise waters, but it was so hot, I can't believe that anybody was able to stay in the sun for too long.

Not being beach people, we opted for the "city tour" – not an easy thing, to fill four hours of touring, in a place of few sights as such. The most interesting sight were the Cham Towers at Po Nagar, just a short drive from the city. They are brick-built 8th century Hindu towers to the God Shiva, that have now been converted into Buddhist shrines. The atmosphere inside the airless towers was like a sauna and they were thick with smoke from the incense sticks - you came out literally dripping with sweat.

To add to the overheating feeling, we then visited a reclining pagoda at the top of 100 steps, lined by a crack squad of beggars and hawkers who followed us all the way round, blowing tuneless whistles, limping and whining.

To cool down, we trooped off to the beach for a cooling cocoanut and (very cheap) beer, before dipping our toes in the sea.

The posh resort hotels are just beginning to spring up in Nha Trang and the town is growing quickly - I hope they don't allow this place to be ruined.