To get the overnight train to Nha Trang meant that you had to get a 45 minute taxi to Da Nang, a large city north of Hoi An. I had been on an overnight train before in India so sort of had an idea what to expect but for Aida it was her first taste of this mode of transport. As we got into our carriage 1 hour later than scheduled, another 3 local ladies joined us, seems that they were going to share for the night!! I had the bottom bunk as Aida made her way to the top and within half an hour both were fast asleep. Not quite knowing what time we were due in Nha Trang was a bit of a pain so subconsciously I woke up every time the train stopped. It also seemed that our room mates also changed every station as well. We had planned on watching some DVD’s on these journeys however by the time you wake up you are there which was great as it meant a lot less sitting around being stared at by the locals.
After a taxi ride into Nha Trang we found our Hotel called Nice Hotel, just down one of the side streets. Straight away things looked different, there were lots of western looking people there (mostly not smiling!!) and all the menu’s/info sheets had a third language. As well as the customary Vietnamese and English, Russian was now added (and above English as well). It seems like London, Phuket, Pattaya and parts of Bali, the Russians had taken over the whole city. Not renowned for their dazzling personalities I have seen first hand how Thailand has changed with their presence so I cannot say I was overly impressed with knowing that we were now in mini Moscow.
Not letting a few thousand Russians get in the way of our trip we booked a trip for that afternoon to Thap Ba Hot Springs. For about $10 each we got to lie in a bath of mud (more like chocolate milkshake than the thick mud sampled in Fiji), have a hot mineral bath, as well as sample the swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Whilst there we went all out and got a 45 minute massage and sauna. This was less than $10 but the woman spoiled it by demanding a tip (I was ready to pay one once dressed) so we left a $1 each and departed. The beach is literally a minutes walk from the hotel so before dinner we had a stroll along the beach which was full of locals and tourists. Sadly lacking were any bins so rubbish lined the sand which is very disappointing and needs to be addressed by the locals and their permanent guests.
As in Hoi An, the next day we needed to check out in the morning before our overnight train to Saigon. With another full day available we decided to head over to the Water Park / Theme Park at Vinpearl. The cost was about $20 each including the cable cars to the island (longest cable car over water in the world they say). This was well worth the visit, despite getting slightly burnt due to not wearing suncream!! The biggest tip I can give hear is to wear your flip flops. The stairs up to the rides are very unforgiving and the floor is roasting so taking your flip flops off and holding whilst on the ride is a lot more sensible. Unlike in many theme parks around the world, the cost of food is not doubled and is the same as outside, meaning eating your lunch won’t be costing an arm and a leg. There are also dolphin and seal shows as well as some shows involving dogs and monkeys which I was uncomfortable watching although the creatures involved where very smart. The theme park rides are nothing special but there is one which made the hairs stand up as I thought the buckles where going to come undone!! There are also amusement arcades free of charge as well as a 4G movie show. To get there and back, there is a local bus which costs less than a $ for two people so saves getting a taxi as they try their best to scam you. Defo worth a visit if you have kids or like us, still young at heart.