Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tokyo/Vietnam July 2011 - Exploring Nha Trang

***This post is part 17 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***

We arrived in Nha Trang in the early afternoon, so we decided to ask the hotel concierge for restaurant recommendations in town since Nha Trang is famous for it's fresh seafood. She told us that the best and most well-known place was a quick 15-minute walk from the Sheraton, and is simply called (what else?) Nha Trang Seafood Restaurant. We followed her directions to a plain-looking 2-story building with rather drab decorations and a dimly-lit interior. Their menu was incredibly extensive, however, and it took us a while to settle on ordering fresh live garlic prawns, as well as a live steamed fish with rice paper and trimmings. Holy cow this was delicious... the shell of the prawns were fried to a crisp so you could literally eat every part of it, and the garlic and butter was just oozing with flavor. The dipping sauces were great, especially the citrus pepper sauce. The fish was seasoned perfectly and was extremely tender and soft. Needless to say, we devoured everything!

Some of the best prawns I've ever had

Doesn't look very appetizing, but it was delicious

Nha Trang is known less for its history and culture and more for being Vietnam's most famous seaside resort town, so my friend and I both decided fairly early on that we were just going to take it easy there. After about a week and a half of intense sightseeing and plenty of walking, we needed a bit of R&R, and what better place to do it than at a beach resort? So the rest of the afternoon was spent at the gym and lounging by the pool. In the evening we decided to have a late dinner inside the hotel.

The next morning, the weather was beautiful and all the overcast clouds had cleared, so we hit the beach early and got a bit of sun in. I'm pretty sure July is high season in Nha Trang, so it was interesting to note that the beach was fairly empty the whole time we were there. It struck me as a bit strange since the hotel itself seemed to be quite busy in contrast.

After lunch back at the hotel and some more lounging by the pool, I decided I wanted to at least take in some interesting sights around town. The walk along the main road hugging the beach is quite scenic, and you can see some nice French-inspired architecture at the Nha Trang City Hall, or visit the Tram Huong Tower across the same plaza. There is also an independence memorial inside the tower itself. Finally, I walked about 20 minutes inland to the Long Son Pagoda, where there is a famous 79 ft. tall statue of Buddha.

Nha Trang City Hall

Tram Huong Tower

Long Son Pagoda

Right when I was about to leave, the late afternoon rains started. I tried make a run for the hotel, but within 10 minutes the streets were flooding and the rain had turned into a downpour. I hid under some canopies to wait out the rain for a good half hour or so... but even then, by the time I reached the hotel, I was a completely soaked. Later that evening after dinner, we came across a lively street fair near city hall with lots of different stalls selling food, drinks, and games. There were plenty of other things to do and see in and around Nha Trang, but with only one full day there, I mainly just wanted to relax, and that I definitely did :)


Evening street fair

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