Back on the coast

25 02 2010

We are back on the coast, off the route map on the right, in Nha Trang to be exact.  You can locate it on Google Maps by clicking here.  Nha Trang is like Benidorm’s kid sister, it is a long long beach with pristine waters.  Along the beach you have a bunch of hotels and restaurants and tourist shops but as you get further from the beach you can find some “real” people, shops and stuff.  There are a few mega hotels here and at least three are being built so I suspect that in a few years the beach will be covered with mega hotels and resorts just like Benidorm in Spain.  The town even has its own amusement park – Vinpearl Island – situated on an island just off the coast that is connected to the mainland with a cable car line.  And the park has all the attractions that an amusement park needs.

We have been here for two days already and have had plenty to do.  There are beautiful Cham towers here in the middle of town that we loved exploring.  The Cham people or the Champa kingdom flourished from the second century to the fifteenth.  They fought the Khmers and the Vietnamese back in the day but not they are a small minority here in Vietnam.

We also went on a snorkeling tour this morning where we sailed around the islands out of Nha Trang (they have seventy one of them laying around) and snorkeled at the best spots.  There was a lot of beautiful coral and a lot of different tropical fish.  We were most impressed with a few Squids that we spotted – they looked mega cool!

To celebrate my birthday last week we went to a spa where we had a body scrub, massage and a facial.  The treatment was absolutely wonderful and we feel absolutely rejuvenated.  Since we are always getting better and better in haggling about prices we got a free foot massage on top of our treatment and went for that today and it was heavenly.  You should all go and get one!

Tomorrow the plan is to do absolutely nothing but soak up the sun.  The beaches are getting fewer and fewer on our trip so we really need to use the opportunity.  Our next stop will probably be Hoi An, which is famous for the many tailors that operate there.  We are still pondering what to have made for us and all suggestions are welcome.  What will be fashionable in the coming months?  What are the celebrities wearing?  Any ideas???

Little piece of heaven

21 01 2010

We have never thought of our selves as beach loving people and we have always said that we would not want a beach kind of holiday. Now we have been here on the islands for seven days just laying on the beach sunbathing, snorkeling and swimming in the sea and we are absolutely loving it! I don’t think that we have changed but that now we are not in a hurry while on holiday, we have plenty of time and it is not a choice between the beach and something else. Going on a beach OR exploring an exciting city. Going on the beach OR checking out that great museum. Now we have plenty of time to do all the things we want to and it doesn’t have to be either or. We are also getting relaxed about not having a plan to follow. We have a rough (big) plan in our mind but we just decide from day to day where to go and where to sleep. When we have traveled before everything has been organized, all accommodation booked beforehand and the most events set. It is quite liberating not to follow a plan but needed some time to get used to.

Ko Maa Island connected to Ko Mae Haad by a sand reef

Ko Maa island connected to Ko Mae Haad by a sand reef

We are now in Ao Mae Haad on the North West corner of Ko Phangan. This is definitely the best place we have visited so far. It is a bit off the regular tourist track and not many tourists are staying here. During the day it is very busy though since many people seem to come here for day trips. The beach is about 1 km long and there is a large island just off shore and is connected to our beach with a sand reef on the low tide. Everything is very cozy and nice: the people, the environment and our bungalow.

Ao Mae Haad

Ao Mae Haad

We met up with a very nice Canadian couple in Haad Yao that were also on their way to Mae Haad so we joined forces. We had seen them on the bus from Bangkok so we started chatting. They are also on a long trip here in Asia. From Thailand they are heading towards Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia so we probably won’t see them again after Ko Phangan but you never know. He has been a couple of times in Thailand so he has given us some tips and suggestions. It is always great to catch up with people that are doing similar things as you are doing.

We have both taken great interest in snorkeling, anything else is difficult given the opportunities that we have here. We have only had to swim 100 meters from the shore to be surrounded by colorful coral and fish beyond believe. We have been snorkeling at a depth of one to four meters in absolutely clear waters and seen maybe forty different types of tropical fish: green, yellow, blue, red, black, white, translucent, striped, spotted, octagonal and solid. Today we spent so much time snorkeling that both of us have sunburn on the parts that stick up when staring down into the water (just check in the bathtub which parts those are).

We have not eaten at a restaurant where the menu has been shorten than seven pages and the restaurant at our resort is no exception. Just to give you some examples is has 14 different fruit shakes and 16 different juices that they list. For breakfast they have 22 different types of roll toast, 13 baguettes and 7 different types of pancakes. For main course they have 16 salads, 30 different types of fried rice, several kinds of macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, fried noodles and so on and so on. On top of all this they have something called Noname – 10 different types. Noname looks like the leftovers from last night mixed together and deep-fried and like everything else deep-fried is tastes very good. These huge menus are therefore quite scary for people with decision anxiety but we have managed so far :) But all in all the food here has been wonderful and almost everything that we have tasted had been top notch.

The massage parlour

The massage parlour

We went for a massage today. Elínborg had a conventional head, neck and shoulders massage and I had a Thai massage. The Thai is based on stretches and pinches without oil rather then conventional strokes. It is quite rough but very relaxing at the same time. Below you can see the price list for massages. 100 Baht are about $3.

The price list

The price list

The clock is almost 22 now when I’m writing this so it is well past our bedtime :) Therefore I won’t have this long for now. All the best….

– Ö r n and E l í n b o r g –