Nha Trang is Russia by the sea. We stopped here to break up the long journey north, spending two nights in town. There’s a long beach on one side, which is itself full of resorts and bars, an old market, and a few temples.
The main cultural sights are Longson Pagoda and Po Nagar Cham Towers. The former is a quiet temple 2km from the centre. Ascend the never ending staircase and at the top you’ll find a white sitting Buddha. The top of the hill is calm, and the white Buddha a pretty sight. Around the bottom are the faces of the monks who sacrificed their lives for Buddhism in 1964. The temple is a place of respect, far from life in the town below.
The Po Nagar Cham Towers are a further 3km north. Apparently, these Towers date back to the Cham people, and we’re built between the 7th and 12th centuries, being used by a number of different religious groups since. As one of the highlights of the town it’s a little underwhelming, but shows some of the towns history in a much simpler time.
The night scene of Nha Trang is made up of bars and pubs, including rooftop bars of the hostels, handing out free beer. Tastes like piss, but we’re all on a budget and free is free. Some hardcore partners go on through the early hours, seeing the night through til dawn on the beach. We had a few free beers and happy hour G&Ts, then hit the hay. In the daytime, backpackers nurse hangovers and wealthy Russians show off gold chains and itsy bitsy swimwear (male and female). Locals sit by the seafront, under the shade of the trees, playing Vietnamese chess or vending drinks. Unfortunately, the glitzy hotels and resorts ruin the feel of the town. It was a necessary break from the long bus journeys, but Nha Trang just isn’t the place for me.