Our Long Drive Home. “Just like Saigon, eh slick?” UK to Australia

On their long drive home, Mike and Jess endure breakdowns on the night bus, take in some history on the Vietnam war, our turned away from the famed Po Nagar Buddhist temple, and enjoy a little long overdue pampering in a Vietnamese mud bath.

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Welcome to Nha Trang. Perhaps it’s something to do with having spent so long in a dusty Renault Clio driving through a desert, but landing in a beautiful tropical beachside town full of clubs and restaurants without much in the way of a ‘cultural experience’ was actually rather welcoming.

We arrived early in the morning after yet another bus ride. Deciding to part ways with the backpacker crowd we had spent time with in Hoi An, we checked into a little flashpacker place called LeSimoLe Boutique Apartments. We started this mad trip in London with the sole objective of covering 22 countries in about four months, and while so far we feel we’ve done pretty well, it just isn’t possible to cover so many kilometres sticking with a crowd of 20-year olds who have designated almost six weeks to each country. That is their adventure, this is ours. So with that in mind, we found ourselves a new place to stay. Just the two of us.

Once breakfast was polished off, we found a guy selling haircuts on the street. At this point Mike hadn’t had his head trimmed down to presentable levels since Ulaanbaatar, so took the opportunity to get himself looking normal again. The guy was fantastic, and Mike had never looked cleaner. It was a little odd to see signs in the Cyrillic script (there really are a large number of Russian tourists here), but it makes just as much sense to cater to Romanov as it does to Robert. It was also quite novel asking for prices in the little Russian we had picked up during our time there.

Afterwards, with the sunshine still not quite ready to poke its head out from behind the clouds, we decided to treat ourselves to one of Nha Trangs local mud baths at the Thap Ba Hot Springs. After 20 minutes you get out, let it bake for a while, before finally washing it all off to reveal your now beautifully exfoliated skin. After a couple of hours we were finally feeling nice and refreshed, and decided to head back down to the city to grab ourselves a little street food.

After a sleepless night on the bus then all that hot water wallowing topped off with a belly full of miscellaneous meat, we headed back to our flash packer hotel for an early night and let the youngsters party.

We woke up and decided to head to a 1000 year old Buddhist temple, renting a scooter beforehand so we could ride there ourselves. Po Nagar temple was founded sometime before 781AD, and looks like something out of The Jungle Book. Built out of beautiful red clay, it stands at the top of a hill surrounded by tropical palms and ferns. It’s certainly worth a trip up the hill to take a walk around, but if you do make sure to wear longer shorts, otherwise they wont let you into any of the buildings. Much to Jess’ dismay.

Culturally exhausted from a place we were told wouldn’t have any cultural experiences, we headed back to the beach for a dip in the pool. There we stayed, wallowing, drinking and eating, until finally we had to make our way back to the hostel to pick up our bags and jump onto a bus heading to Saigon.

Categories: Fast Fleet


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