The train ride from Đà Nẵng to Nha Trang was long but interesting. In spite of the cramped cars I enjoyed the opportunity to see the countryside and interact with the Vietnamese people. It rained for most of the day so the surrounding rice fields and jungle were vivid green and lovely to see – intermeshed with an occasional flock of snow-white egrets, water buffalo, and family mausoleums.
There were German, French, and Canadian tourists on the train but the passengers were mainly Vietnamese of all ages traveling home to be with their families for the Lunar New Year (Tet) celebration. Reserved with most strangers, the Vietnamese can almost pretend you aren’t there, but if you smile at them they are eager to interact. In general I find the Vietnamese people open, friendly, and accepting of foreigners and like them very much.
I needed help again getting situated on the train and two young Vietnamese boys from the hotel in Đà Nẵng accompanied me to the station to chuck the bags on the train. The Vietnamese are respectful of their elders.
Several Vietnamese college students on the train were traveling home for Tet and wanted to practice their English. I was happy to oblige. Young Vietnamese are curious about Americans and the US. When the train arrived in Nha Trang a few passengers helped me with my bags and it was an easy trip to the hotel through streets full of beautiful Lunar New Year lights.
Nha Trang is exactly what I needed! Its Bay is one of the most beautiful in the world and the swaying palms, golden sand, and blue waters are a perfect combination for relaxing. The town is charming and interesting and accommodates every budget. You can relax on the beach or take a boat trip to nearby islands where diving and snorkeling are popular ways to explore the colorful coral reefs.
Nha Trang is the capital of Khanh Hoa province on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It’s bounded on the North by Ninh Hoà district, on the East by the South China Sea, on the South by the town of Cam Ranh, and on the West by Diên Khánh district. The busy, growing seaside city is popular with Vietnamese tourists. The population is about 400,000 and most of the hotels are fully booked for Tet.
Known for its pristine beaches and exceptional scuba diving Nha Trang is becoming a popular destination for international tourists as well as Vietnamese. The Vietnamese invite foreign tourists to participate in Nha Trang’s biannual Sea Festival. Nha Trang was the site of the 2008 Miss Universe Pageant, the 2010 Miss Earth Pageant, and is the designated host of the 2016 Asian Beach Games.
Under the Champa – a kingdom of Hindus who controlled central Vietnam from the 7th century to 1832 – Nha Trang was known as Kauthara. It’s home to the famous Po Nagar Tower built by the Champa people. Nha Trang is a center for marine science based at the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute. The Hon Mun marine area was one of the first four marine protected areas in the world admitted by the international Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
“The famous French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin lived in Nha Trang for 50 years. He established the Indochina Pasteur Institute (now known as the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute) devoted to research on the bubonic plague. Yersin died in Nha Trang on 1 March 1943. A street was named Yersin in his honor, a shrine is next to his tomb, and his house is now the Yersin Museum.”