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Vietnam – Nha Trang – 17th/18th January

We arrived at 6.30am overnight from Hoi An, Justin and Jules were with us until this point and followed us to Perfume Grass hotel to see if they could catch John and Lisa. Off they went and we couldn’t check into our room so we walked over the road to the beach and found a spot to have some home made brekkie. We walked along the beach for an hour before heading back to claim our free tea and coffee from the hotel. Still no check in so we left the bags, freshened up and decided to rent a moto for the day at 5$ – not too pricey at all.

Our destination was Doc Let beach, one of the top beaches in Vietnam, it was a little cloudy but we thought we’d go on an adventure. We had some directions outlined in the Lonely Planet and a map from the hotel, we knew it would take us a while so off we went. After about half an hour on the high way we checked at a restaurant to make sure we were on the right tracks. Just keep going straight…so we did, passed through some small towns in the direction of going north and then eventually after stopping to get some more fuel we saw a landmark for Honda Port which was mentioned in the LP. After 20 minutes or so of riding along the coastal road we decided to turn around as we got closer to the Honda factory which we knew wasn’t the location of the beach. We decided to turn back on ourselves and ride through a few small villages, getting hungry we pulled into a small lane which ended at the sea. We saw a family cooking some local food for their stall and asked to sit down there and eat, they fed us amazingly and we even got some wonderful fresh spring rolls thrown in. It was very cheap at aroud a pound for us both and they were very welcoming indeed, they also pointed us towards Doc Let beach, so off we went in the hope of finding our destination.

We rode past the sign after about 5 minutes on the bike and more traveling through lovely little villages, further up the road there is a turning for the beach and we had to pay a 10,000 dong entrance fee each as well as 5,000 dong for parking the bike. Once settled we wandered off into the beach resort which has been set up a little like a summer camp, although not a lot was going on as the weather was closing in and the afternoon was a grey one. We still found beauty in the place though, the sand is powder white and the waves are very soft compared to Nha Trang. We stayed for an hour and then made our way back to Nha Trang without stopping it took us 50 minutes, both arriving with a numb bum! Later on we checked in, showered and went to grab some food – Cafe Des Amis - not a great recommendation by the Lonely Planet to say the least!!

Back to hotel, bed.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

Got up fairly early and went out for a run along the beach, quite fresh and clear air. Ran for about half an hour and then stopped to stretch on the grassy area near the beach. Helen was doing some yoga and was interrupted by a Swiss yoga teacher – dressed in nothing more than a faded pair of orange shorts and sweatband. Classic! He wanted to talk to us about Ayurvedic Yoga, we’re quite interested in Ayurveda anyway and obviously loving yoga so asking if it was free (which it was) he proceeded to talk to us for about half an hour and we went through some postures. Funny little interruption.

Back to the hotel for a good breakfast – omlette, bread and fruit salad.

We spend most of the day on the beach, Helen had been feeling unwell and we needed some down time. We found a place further up the beach called Louisiane where we were able to hire sun-loungers with umbrella for the day for a pound each including use of the pool. The sea was really rough going out with very few people going into swim so it was an added bonus using the pool.We enjoyed beer and a cocktail and stayed there until about 2.30pm. Afterwards we went for a walk up to the bridge which is around 4 km away heading north on the beach front. Many locals live in shanty town like houses around there so we wanted to head up and see what it was like. The light was quite moody which added a nice rocky feel to the images and the kids were very playful as always.

On our way back we walked via the market and eventually made our way back to Perfume Grass. Later on we went out to Cafe Cyclo – LP recommendation and joined Lisa and John who were already eating there. The food was good and not too pricey either. We went back to the hotel and packed for the following day. We had changed our open bus ticket to go onto Mui Ne as opposed to Dalat as we craved a little more beach time, plus Justin and Jules were there too so we knew we’d have a laugh meeting up with them again. It cost a furhter 100,000 between us to change the ticket which isn’t that much at all.

We finished the night with an ice-cream for Helen , some strange green yoghurt for Dave and an episode of The Peep Show.

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