|Ponagar Cham Towers|
Our next stop on the trip is Nha Trang, a city that feels like a mix of Saigon and Mui Ne.
We left Mui Ne on another sleeper bus, and this time it was nearly empty. This allowed us to sleep in the back, but on the upper level. This was perfect for Josh, as his legs are too long for the small seats on the bus. Unfortunately, we had another crazy driver (which to us seems to be everyone here), and the road was filled with potholes. There were several times Josh was nearly thrown into the aisle. Johanna's seat refused to stay up. Needless to say, there were long stretches where we were hanging on for our lives and laughing our heads off, getting dirty looks from the Japanese tourists below us.
The view driving to from Mui Ne to Nha Trang was beautiful and diverse, much better than leaving Saigon.
Finally we arrived in Nha Trang, and we didn't even have our bags unloaded from the bus when a man asked where we were staying. He showed us a room right in front of the bus stop for $8 a night. We couldn't beat this deal, as it was even cheaper than our guide book claimed we would find. We walked around the town for a little while before retiring for the night.
|This is the first room we've had that had a shower that was separate from the toilet.|
|Right across from Night Club!|
|This tower is right next to the beach.|
The next morning we woke up early and headed out to see the sights. We had found a map and our first stop was Ponagar Cham Towers, about 4 km from our hotel, which the receptionist seemed to think was too far for us to walk. We assured him we would have no problem and set off. After a few blocks, we realized we were the only foreigners in this part of town, and we were getting some strange looks, but we pushed onward. Eventually we made it, and after paying the $1.50 entry fee (for both of us, so cheap) we were allowed in.
The towers were built between the 7th and 12th centuries on a site used by Hindus for worship. Of all the places we've visited so far, they really exuded a sense of history.
|There were some great views from up here.|
Next we decided to walk to Long Son Pagoda, founded in the late 19th century. Even now the pagoda still has resident monks. As we entered we were "greeted" by several people who kept trying to direct us around the pagoda, luckily we had read up on them, and they are not assosciated with it at all, but will ask for donations and keep the money. One of them even got angry with us when we didn't buy postcards from him because he had "shown us the entrance", which we were already walking in.
|Statue in the city square.|
|This guy has a ton of feather dusters.|
|Entrance to the pagoda.|
|You can call me Dragon.|
At the top of the hill behind the pagoda is the giant seated Buddha, built from 1963 - 1964, it is massive, and provides some great views of the city. It's 150 steps to the top, with several attractions like the bell and sleeping Buddha on the way.
After that, we walked back to our hotel for some lunch. We were surprised to see that they make a "Cheeseburger and french fried" better than a lot of American restaurants, and they serve Coke Light...
We spent the rest of the evening exploring the city and the local bar scene. The next few days have been spent wandering the streets, trying out new foods, and generally relaxing.
|These drinks are huge and only cost two dollars. And they are REALLY strong.|
|Our first cyclo ride. He liked to go down the wrong side of the street.|
|Night market right by our hotel. Most markets are closed during the day because of the heat.|
|This is how much water we drink everyday. Good thing it's very cheap here.|
We've had a blast here in Nha Trang, but we are leaving tonight on an overnight bus to Hoi An, hopefully we can post again soon.
Avoid fried meats and don't look back; might be something back there and it might be gaining on you.