Nha Trang is a strange place. A collision of east meets west, of routine and wild nights, of locals and backpackers. The town away from the beach is ridden with mechanical shops and stores that sell basic needs and are filled with numerous businesses, but the area that surrounds the beach is filled with beautiful sand and swaying palm trees, as well as swimming pools, resorts and beach bars. Drink fancy cocktails at Sailors Day Club whilst dipping your toes in their swimming pool, or head to a quiet section of the beach where you can close your eyes and doze. But there is no chilled atmosphere in Nha Trang. This is the St.Tropez of Vietnam. It seems there is little to do in Nha Trang apart from drink, sleep and sunbathe, and then repeat.
Although spending a few days here, I did manage to do some activities that led me away from lazing on a sun bed. We went on a boat trip organized by our hostel which involved island hopping, cruising along high speed along the crystal waters, the sun glinting on the seas surface as we listened to a live metal instrument band, and a floating bar (which actually means a guy in a rubber ring with a plastic bottle of alcohol). It was a good excuse to get away from Nha Trang and see the beautiful scenery around it. We also went to Vin Pearl– an amusement park to rid ourselves of pounding hangovers. It begins with a cable car to the island where the park is situated on, which is a beautiful journey in itself and an excellent excuse to whack out the camera. The water park had exhilarating rides because of the angles of the slides, but also the rickety and misplaced parts of plastic brought a new element of fear to the ride as well.
Fellow backpackers and tourists be warned: at night, many locals form gangs and prey on drunk backpackers. Whether they are prostitutes or men with weapons on bikes, they each have a plan of action to take advantage of tourists. The prostitutes go to punch a guys beloved bits, so as the guy protects himself, another steals his wallet from his back pocket, which had happened to my friend- so all I can say to that is, travel in groups. Also, a popular activity with backpackers is a spot of late night swimming. However, there are many predators who stand in the dark shadows the night, waiting for tourists to leave their clothes and valuables to go swimming, where they then grab your belongings and run. Be careful at night, to avoid losing valuables and to avoid humiliation of walking back naked to your hostel.
Nha Trang is not a place for culture lovers, it is a place of relaxation, topping up your tan and partying. And for some, a place to get robbed.