I went to sleep much like a baby does, with a whole load of kicking and screaming. Eventually I managed to find a comfortable-ish position to be able to drift off. Occasionally waking up whenever the driver beeped his horn in the early hours. When I came to it was light outside and we were passing a long stretch of beach. We had arrived at Nha Trang safe and sound ahead of schedule, it was 7:30am and there were already people on the beach awaiting the sun’s hot blaze. Five minutes later the bus pulled into a side road, which just so happened to be the one our hotel was on. When we got off we had to wait outside for 5 – 10 minutes, while the driver and his buddy unloaded our bags from the toilets. They happened to be there due to the amount of Vietnamese people who got on during the night, and for some reason, their baskets of hay were deemed more important, and went in the undercarriage storage area.
Like usual we were hassled by the taxi gang, one driver was kind enough to tell us the directions of our hotel. It turned out it was only fifty metres away, if that. We were staying at a place called St Paul’s Hotel, unlike the place in Bristol it was very nice. We checked in but had to wait twenty minutes while the room was cleaned. The lady then have us a choice of two rooms, the first one only had two single beds, whereas the second option was a bigger room with a double and a single. We took the second option, dropped off our bags, had a quick shower, then headed out the door to explore Nha Trang. Our hotel was pretty central to everything, if we wanted nightlife or food, there were restaurants all around, and if we wanted the beach (which we did) it was only a five minute walk around the corner. By the time we got to the sands it was around eight thirty. We took quite a long walk up the beach in the hopes of finding somewhere to eat breakfast, after walking for ten minutes we decided we weren’t going to find anything but old people sunbathing. With that, we decided to walk back to where we came from as there was a Sailing Club franchise we had passed at the start.
Their food was very expensive, and it seemed that whatever was stated on their menu, that’s what you’d get… Literally. I ordered the egg and steak option, while Sarah chose some sort of noodle based dish. For the first time in a while my order came to less than hers, yet I was very disappointed, as when my hot plate arrived all that was on there was one egg and the flimsiest piece of meat I had ever seen. After we paid the high costing bill we returned to our hotel to book something up, and ultimately to get us out of our lull of doing nothing. We had a look through the pamphlets of what was on offer and settled on a spa day. There were various price options, but there wasn’t much of a difference in each package with things you’d do. We decided to do the cheapest option ($12 each) and had to wait a couple hours before the spa’s shuttle bus did its rounds collecting customers.
It was 11am by this point, so, to burn some time (and my skin) we returned to the beach. I had put some suntan lotion on in the room before we left. I applied it to the main areas that I usually burn, e.g shoulders, neck, arms and thought that would be enough seeing as we’d only be there for an hour or so anyways. The beach was very hot as we arrived and there were plenty of people jumping (or being taken out) the waves in the sea. We led down on the beach and took some pictures on Sarah’s camera, I felt fine the whole time we were there hit when we got back to the hotel it was clear the sun had struck me down, mainly on my belly. Back in the room, I did my best to rid my body of the sand, but no matter how powerful the shower was I couldn’t shake it all loose. We both got ready for our afternoon of pampering, with all of ten minutes to spare. We then had to wait in the lobby until the driver showed up, during this time Sarah and I were force fed a bizarre bitter fruit by the hotel staff.
When the driver finally showed, we climbed into the minibus for a fifteen minute ride. Inside the vehicle, the first thing we both noticed was how we were the youngest amongst the passengers, the second observation, was how all the passengers were all Russian. In the lonely planets guide and through word of mouth, we had heard how Nha Trang was filled with Russians, but up until that point we didn’t know it to be so true. As we arrived at the resort, the grounds were lovely, there was a cobbled pathway weaving all throughout the site, large exotic trees, and thatch roofs on each building, the only thing that ruined it was the sight of fat, overweight, behemoth Russian women. The annoying adverts that pop up on the Internet every time you go online, which say “meet single Russian women today, you could be just one click away from your dream girl,” well, if that’s how they all look, Russia can keep their women.
We hired a locker for the day to keep our possessions in, then our first stop of the day was the mud baths. With a quick wash down, in their powerful communal showers, we were allowed entry to the cold pool of mud.
I didn’t hear Sarah earlier that day when she said if we had paid a bit more we could have had heated mud baths instead, and we wouldn’t have had to share them with others. I was very surprised at Sarah’s reaction to them, within two seconds of her entering, she began playing with the mud and throwing at me. There were several large scoops in each pool, these were there so you could pour the mineral mud all over your body and allow it to better soak into your skin. Like the saying goes, Sarah was as happy as a pig in …. (you all know the missing word). For someone who doesn’t like dirt she certainly looked happy, her little smile was making her look like a child as she poured scoop after scoop all down herself. I wasn’t so keen, as not only was the mud cold, we were in there with six other people, needless to say or was quite cramped. When our 15 minutes were up, we were told to visit the pressure hoses again to remove the mud from our bodies. When we climbed the slippery muddy steps to get back there, we noticed lots of people sitting on the sun. It transpired, instead of showering you could allow the mud to dry, therefor giving you an all over mud mask. We sat there for a bit, watching the chubby Russian women rinsing themselves (a sight I wouldn’t even wish upon my enemies, not that I have any). We soon got bored waiting for the mud to dry, then under the skin tearing showers we went to wash it all off. It was then off to our second treatment of the day, the hot springs.
Roll on disappointment number two, when we arrived we were instructed on which bath to sit in. It didn’t feel much like relaxation after another three people showed up to share the same pool, in a way I wish we had paid a bit more to have the things to ourselves, that way I could have stretched out and enjoyed it. The pool only had 10cm of water in at first, they then drained what little water we had and refilled it, even then it wasn’t that great, with the water only being luke warm. I’m not sure if we had another time limit in the hot springs, but we were only there for around ten minutes, before climbing out and heading for the warm swimming pool. On the way we stopped at the waterfalls, these were designed to massage your shoulders as you sat underneath them. The pressure of the water landing on your back felt as if someone was rubbing and chopping your shoulders. We were lucky to get a seat on the rocks, as two fat Russian women were taking up the best part of the room. There was a choice of two swimming pools to relax in, one was warm at a temperature of 37.5 – 39•C, the other was the cool pool at 27•C. Both pools were filled with mineral water, which was horrid if any got in our mouth, but unlike other treatments at the resort there was no time limit on your stay there.
The pair of us had also purchased a massage alongside the spa day, seeing as the time was only 3pm and we didn’t have to leave the resort until 6:30pm that day, we decided to stay in the pools for a while. The warm pool was amazing, and free of the fat people (probably because swimming is exercise) it felt like a perfectly ran bath, there was a sign outside that said “warm mineral pools are used to help muscle aches, skin diseases, and joint pains.” After playing about in both pools for a while I began to feel slightly peckish, so we visited the little restaurant they had on site. When we arrived I thought I could smell pizza, and when looking at their menu I spotted the beautiful dish. Now, to say I was a little skeptical after being let down so much in the past, was an understatement, nonetheless, the smell was too much and I ordered one. I thought it was quite strange to have such an unhealthy dish on the menu at a place that is all about detoxifying, they also had beer and other fattening options on there too. While it was cooking we didn’t have to stay at the restaurant, instead, we were allowed to stay in the pools, and they’d call you over when it was ready. We remained out of the pool during that time as it didn’t take long before it was ready. Ladies and gentleman, I am pleased to announce, for the first time since being in Asia, I had received my long awaited, delicious, thin based pizza.
After eating the delicious dough based dish, it was around ten to four. We decided it would be best if we had our massage then as it was scheduled to last around 45 minutes. When we arrived at the massage parlour we were each given a pair of shorts to change into, then told to wait in the room for both our masseuse to arrive. When they arrived sarah informed them we didn’t want a full body massage, just a back and shoulder.
It didn’t take long before the pair of us were face down on the beds, with women pounding on our backs. They started out very gentle just rubbing our backs with their hands, but it soon became very dark, very quick. The lady working on me moved from my neck, to my shoulders, down my arms, my back, to my lower back, then, to my surprise, she pulled my shorts down slightly and began messaging my arse! People usually go to different places for that sort of action, regardless, she moved up and down my back, then used my bum as a saddle to apply more pressure using her knee. She continued this bizarre treatment, before using the metal beam above to balance herself as she walked up and down my back, and slid her feet down my arms into my hands.
When she finally put my bum back into my shorts it was then time for a back clicking session. She positioned me onto my side, and pulled me by my arm until my spine let out a click, mine was nothing in comparison to Sarah’s though, hers was more of a crunch. They finished up the massage with a head massage followed by a quick twist of our necks, which again let out some more bone crunching sounds.
When it was over, the ladies gave the us a review sheet to say how we felt it went, the options were standard responses, poor, average, good, very good. Being nice, I gave my masseuse three rocks in the very good option, then came the cheekiest moment of our trip. There was an option at the bottom to tip the women for what they had just done, they made it very clear that’s what it was for and became very pushy, thrusting the slip in our face repeatedly saying “tip,tip,tip?” We gave in and tipped the girls 50,000 dong each (£1.48) but felt slightly ripped off, as we thought that was included in the ticket price. The next part of the massage package was the steam room, Sarah seemed to think we had to stay there for 15 minutes and would be let out by the people when our time was up. It was nice to begin with, inhaling the steamy eucalyptus, but after a while the heat became too much to bare for me, and the pair of us left ahead of schedule. One of the women was only outside the door, she gave us our towels and allowed us to shower. When we were clean she was still waiting, as she was determined to get this tip from us. After a visit to our locker, Sarah returned and begrudgingly handed over the 50,000 dong, we then stayed at the pools until it was time to leave.
We caught the final 6:30 minibus back to our hotel. In our room we each showered, once again, before heading out to book a date on our open bus ticket to Dalat. Our hotel’s location worked in our favour again that day, as we only had to walk 100 metres before we reached the company’s store. We booked a bus for two days time to Dalat (22/12/12), but were told the bad news that it would mean getting there for 7:30am.
With that sorted, our next task was to locate a restaurant named Veranda. This was a place which was hyped up in the lonely planet guidebook for selling Vietnamese meets westernised dishes for a good price. Eventually we located the building and sat down for our evening meal. There was a huge selection of plates to choose from, and if they offered the option of a set meal, or individual dishes. The pair of us chose a dinner option, with Sarah changing one thing on hers. We received garlic bread for the first dish, followed by oysters for me and spring rolls for Sarah, then our main which was chicken breast on satay sauce on egg noodles, followed by a fruit bowl for desert. Each meal came with a glass of white wine, and for the equivalent of £3.56 back home, I think we found our new favourite eatery. When we finished our meals the time was creeping on for 10:30pm, feeling tired from the days activities we decided to skip the nightlife scene and return to our room. Back in bed we attempted to look for hotels for our Christmas stay in Mui Ne. I think the day of relaxation and massage got the better of me though, and for the second time of our trip I annoyed Sarah by falling asleep, leaving her to stay up doing all the work. Sorry Sarah.