Nha Trang, Vietnam
Our first stop after our arrival and brief stay in HCMC was the buslting seaside city of Nha Trang. We were told of the beautiful beaches, the vibrant nightlife and wonderful food options, and many tourist sites an easy cab ride away. Since our itinerary was extremely flexible and only demanded we head north, we decided to make it a three night stop. After some simple searching online for an affordable hotel and a quick juant to the booking office for the bus we were set. After a short 9 hour bus ride on one of the many sleeper buses traversing the roads of Vietnam we made it. The city is right on the South China Sea and has an amazingly long beach with a path reminiscent of Venice Beach that we ran in the mornings. To help top off our cardio workout, the public area next to the beach also had a multitude of workout machines that use your own weight as resistence. Our hotel, though not directly on the beach, was an easy minute walk away from the sun and surf so many people come to see. Though we always compare our beach experiences to the white sandy beaches of the Philippines, the beach in Nha Trang was still worth while though not our top choice. The lights of the hotels and the bustling nightlife on the streets gave us a Vegas like impression - just a beach side Vegas sans casinos and obnoxious drunks who've lost all their money at the craps table. Nha Trang also happens to be a very popular destination for Russian tourists. Most restaurants and shops have signs in Vietnamese, English, and Russian. One afternoon for lunch we dined at a Vietnamese/Russian restaurant and got to chat with the owner a bit. Even cab drivers speak a bit of Russian as well. It was a great oppurtunity for me to practice the small bit of Russian I learned as a kid while living in Kazakhstan.