Travel Diary: Vietnam – Going North, Saigon to Nha Trang & Tuy Hoa

My grandparents are chronic worriers, so I had promised I would pay them a visit as soon as I could, after arriving in Vietnam, to prove to them that I could travel alone and arrive in one piece. That I would not have any awful tales to tell of being killed, mugged, robbed, or whatever else they may have been thinking (- not that I would tell them even if I had, thankfully I didn’t..).

My grandparents live just past Nha Trang in the south central coast of Vietnam, in a small coastal town called Tu Bong, right by Dai Lanh, their house is pretty easy to get to by coach as it is located on the highway all coaches use heading for the North.
I say easy, it’s easy if 1. Your cousin buys you the correct ticket ..thanks Tuan(!) 2. You speak some Vietnamese, enough to explain to the coach guys exactly where you want to get off… No such things a bus stops in Vietnam, people pretty much hop off where they want.

Alternatively, you could fly to Tuy Hoa, but this costs 10x the price of a coach (coach ticket costs range from 220-360k to Tu Bong, (Nha Trang is definitely cheaper) there are numerous coaches you can get, some better than others, its always best to see the coach you are about to board or take one you’ve been happy with previously). Anyway, my grandparents being the traditional Vietnamese people they are, insisted I should not waste my money on the flight ticket and taxi costs (about 2.5 million total), but instead get a sleeper coach which would drop me at their doorstep, made sense really… But coaches suck and I know this because my sisters and I spent our year after graduation travelling around Asia, which inevitably involved a decent number of sleeper coaches and trains. Vietnam’s rank pretty badly, they don’t give a shit if it is a sleeper coach, that it is 4am, people will talk loudly on their phones, sometimes unbearable Vietnamese soaps are blasted throughout the coach and there are few drivers that care if you need a toilet during a non toilet stop period. Headphones and a comfy travel pillow is imperative if you want to survive this journey on your lonesome, this I had, and boy was it satisfying to drown out the world with The Weeknd, J Cole and Drake and sleep on my bouncy neck pillow for the 10 hour journey.

If you’re looking for a single reason to go to Nha Trang it should be their specialty dish – nem nuong. ‘Nem’ in the south, is different from ‘nem’ in the north, in the south it traditionally refers to processed pork meat, which is either eaten steamed in banana leaf or it is sometimes grilled to get nem nuong or left to ferment in a special leaf to get nem chua. Nem in the north refers to spring rolls – what a way to confuse tourists ay?
Back to the point – nem nuong is eaten rolled inside rice paper with various vegetables including sour mango and unripe, thinly sliced banana, plus the best thing…the fried rice paper (o: (the brown thing in the picture). I sat there for around 1.5 hours eating 2.5 portions (that’s nearly 20 rolls), as my gramps sat in disbelief as to how much I actually enjoyed it… Hey, it’s been nearly 3 years.

I’m wearing an A line, silver and black, striped, full skirt and sleeveless denim shirt both from American Apparel, my chain silver necklace is from F21, sunglasses by Ray Ban. The silky like material that my skirt is made of compensated for my more thicker material choice on top, it was hot in Nha Trang that day, around 32 degrees, but the outfit was surprisingly comfortable. I’m wondering if I’m going to actually be able to wear most of the things I’ve packed or whether you’ll see me in pictures wearing the same old tee and shorts…. We’ll see.

The pictures are taken way at the back of my grandparents house on top of a huge boulder that overlooks the road and beach at the front of the house. The spot is amazingly idyllic and peaceful and I climbed up there most evenings to watch the sun set, before running back down and inside to avoid being eaten alive by Mosquitos.

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