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3rd December 2016

Nha Trang

I am now back in Nha Trang after a week in Australia - it was good to catch up with family and friends.

It is only 9 days until I am on the go again with my trip to Hanoi, Sapa and Halong Bay.
 
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24th November 2016

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie

This morning I became an Australian Citizen. I have been a Permanent Resident of Australia since 1965 but did not get around to becoming a citizen until this year.

Citizen Tony
Mayor of Cairns & Citizen Tony

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17th November 2016

"Mr. Cheap" Travels Again

Now that I am settled in Nha Trang I will resume my travels. Next week I return to Australia for a week (AirAsia $316 AUD each way) then in December I have booked a 4 day trip to Hanoi, Sapa and Halong Bay (Vietjet to Hanoi $70 AUD each way). For January I just booked a trip to Vung Tau (South of Saigon), a beach town that I have not been to before - Airfare (to Saigon Jetstar $27 AUD each way), Hydrofoil Saigon to Vung Tau ($12 AUD each way) and the hotel in Vung Tau for two nights ($13 AUD/night).The plan is to have a trip away each month.

I have realised that if I am to stay here long term I may have to forget about learning Vietnamese and learn Russian instead as it is very close to becoming the number one language of the beach and the "Tourist Area" in Nha Trang.

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15th November 2016

They're Back

Now that the storm is well and truly over and the army has cleaned up the beach the tourists have returned.

Tourists Back on Nha Trang Beach    Nha Trang Boat Wreck
       Tourists Back on Nha Trang Beach                   Fishing Boat That Did Not Survive The Storm  

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8th November 2016

Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn

Today I rode out to Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn which is a Buddhist temple about 25 kilometres west of Nha Trang in the countryside. It was good to get out of the city and see something new (I only discovered this place existed yesterday). The road was good for most of the way but the last few kilometres was potholed and then a mud track. The place is amazing - it is still a "Work in Progress" construction was started in 2006 and still has a way to go.

Rice Fields    Cattle Grazing    Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn    Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn    Pháp Viện Thánh SơnPháp Viện Thánh Sơn    Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn    Pháp Viện Thánh SơnPháp Viện Thánh Sơn    Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn    Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn
Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn    Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn    Pháp Viện Thánh Sơn

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6th November 2016

Long Walk

Today I went for my first walk since moving into town and luckily it was not raining. I went South along the coast as far as the start of the Cable Car to Vinpearl and back which is more than 12 kilometres. On the way back I passed the old airport and saw that a large sign has been erected showing the planned development of the land - when finished it will house an increase of about 25% of the Nha Trang population. With all the high rise construction along the beachfront and the development of northern area Nha Trang is a rapidly growing city (very similar to the "Gold Coast" in Australia) although it appears to me that the only industries are tourism and fishing.

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4th November 2016

City Living

I now live in Nha Trang City (right in town) at the rear of the "Tourist Area" in a quiet lane about 300 metres from the beach. I signed a 12 month lease yesterday for a one bedroom apartment on the top floor at the Hoan Oanh Hotel. I have been moving in over the past two days whilst the weather has been terrible - there are not supposed to be cyclones in the Nha Trang area but I have encountered many cyclones in my life and it sure seemed like a cyclone to me (very, very strong winds and continual torrential rain) with most of the roads turning to rivers and many trees and signs blown over. It is still pouring as I type but the wind has eased.

Fishing Boat Aground on Nha Trang Beach    No Sunbathers on Nha Trang Beach    Debris on Nha Trang Beach
Fishing Boat Aground on Nha Trang Beach                No Sunbathers on Nha Trang Beach                              Debris on Nha Trang Beach        

Loung Area of My New Apartment in Nha Trang
Lounge Area of My New Apartment in Nha Trang

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25th October 2016

Vinh Hy

Back home after a trip down the coast to Vinh Hy (about 90 kilometres south) - I took the scenic route along the coast after Cam Ranh and the road is terrific, it seems quite new and there was almost no traffic, with the ocean on one side and tropical covered mountains on the other. I stayed at the Vinh Hy Resort which is right in Vinh Hy village (a small fishing village). The resort is quite large and right on the harbour, with a "Water Park", Swimming pool, a restaurant and a lot of bungalows. It was deserted and I may have been the only guest.

The weather was fine for the trip down but not so on the way back as it poured all the way getting heavier as I got closer to Nha Trang. Luckily I had my heavy duty poncho and remained relatively dry.

The Coast on The Way to Vinh Hy    Coastal Bay on The Way to Vinh Hy    Vinh Hy Harbour
      Beach on The Way to Vinh Hy                             Sheltered Bay on The Way to Vinh Hy                                     Vinh Hy Harbour                 

Vinh Hy Resort Swimming Pool    Vinh Hy Resort Water Park
Vinh Hy Resort Swimming Pool                                  Vinh Hy Resort Water Park     

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21st October 2016

Nha Trang Business & Tourist Website

I have just registered a new domain name (nha-trang-city-directory.com) that I plan to turn into a business & tourist information site. It will be similar to the City Pages directories although nowhere near as comprehensive.

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20th October 2016

Night in Town

My night in Nha Trang last night was good and I will probably make it a regular thing (maybe every second week). My room at the Sen Vang Guesthouse was exactly the same as on previous occasions (I had not stayed there for more than three years) and I believe is the best value in Nha Trang - some of the recent reviews of this hotel have been bad but I have no idea why. There is a hotel 20 metres (Adam Hotel) away that is rated much higher in Agoda but I have stayed at both and Sen Vang is twice as good for less!

I ate at a restaurant I had not been to before (despite the fact that it is on the corner of the laneway where Sen Vang Guesthouse is and Hung Vuong Street) it is called Hong Duc and is what I call a 50/50 restaurant, meaning that it is a "Locals Restaurant" that caters to tourists as well. The food is good and also the prices (Mr. Cheap). I also had a Kebab from a street vendor that was delicious (I will be back) that cost 30,000 Dong for large (ie. Less than $1.50USD).

I did notice that the restaurant menus are now mostly in Russian - when I first visited Nha Trang the menus were in Vietnamese and English - now it is Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and English (in that order).

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19th October 2016

Nha Trang Tourist Area

Tonight I am staying in town, in the tourist area, I am booked in the Sen Vang Guesthouse ($7USD - A/C single room, ensuite bathroom, cable TV, WiFi and fridge) where I have stayed several times before. I was booked in last Wednesday but it poured with rain all day so I did not go. I will not be doing much other than going to the beach etc. but I plan to try a restaurant that I have not been to before.

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30th September 2016
Mui Ne

Yesterday I rode down to Mui Ne (220 Kilomtetres south) to see if it had improved since my first visit three and a half years ago. It had not, in fact I believe it is worse. I do not understand why anyone would say it is a great place with a great beach - in my opinion it is an ordinary place with an ordinary beach. I had booked a hotel for two nights but only stayed one. The only two things I got from my trip to Mui Ne was a sore backside and a bad case of food poisoning.

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27th September 2016

Street Food Tour

This afternoon I went on the Lanterns Restaurant street food tour and I learnt a lot about the local street food available. I am glad that I did not have lunch as there was so much food to try. I really liked the fact that it was a fairly fast paced tour covering many food outlets. The Lanterns Restaurant website said that the tour included seven dishes but it was actually more as there were some side dishes so all up I think there was ten.

I enjoyed most of the food and will be eating street more often from now on. My favourites were the Banh Trang Tron (Spicy stirred rice paper salad), the Banh Xeo (Seafood pancakes) and the Banh Canh (Rice noodle soup).

Banh Trang Tron    Banh Xeo    Banh Canh
Banh Tran Tron                                          Banh Xeo                                        Banh Canh

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26th September 2016

Cooking Class

On Saturday I took a local cooking class run by Lanterns Restaurant - it was excellent and very well run. I have decided to also do their "Street Food Tour" and will be taking that tomorrow. I look forward to learning about the local street food and of course tasting it.

My only street food so far has been Banh Mi (a Subway like baguette), Banh Boa (a steamed bun) and Banh Trang Nuong (BBQ rice paper with topping - rice paper pizza) each costing less than $1.

Banh Mi          Banh Bao          Banh Trang Nuong
Banh Mi                                                               Banh Bao                                                            Banh Trang Nuong

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22nd September 2016

Monsoon Season

I think the monsoon season is starting - over the past few days we have had late afternoon/evening thunderstorms and yesterday's was torrential. This is my first time in Nha Trang during the rainy season but I checked the annual rainfall and it is less than Cairns and less than half of Mission Beach and since I have been living in the tropics for more than seven years now tropical rain is not new to me.

I was planning to have a night in town once a fortnight staying at a hotel and so I booked a "Seaview Apartment" at the Tri Quan Hotel and Apartments and got a small room with no view (not even a window) when I asked at reception they told me there was construction going on in the apartments and they were only using the hotel rooms - I was told if I wanted a seaview I could go to the rooftop and have a coffee!

As far as I am concerned it is fraudulent to sell something you do not have (I booked with Agoda). I checked out about one hour after I checked in and came home. I may still stay in town once in a while but I think from now on I will stick with the hotels I know.

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16th September 2016

Dalat Trip

I just got back from my quick trip to Dalat - it was a good trip although I found myself wishing I had my Honda CBR250R here as it would have been more comfortable and made the steep grades up the mountain so much easier to handle - although my new Honda Blade is better than the Honda Wave I had when I last lived here. Dalat is pretty much the same as it was although seemed quieter than my last visit but there is a large underground shopping centre "Dalat Big C Supercenter" that was not here last time.

I stayed at the Tulip Hotel which was fine if a bit expensive by local standards. I got a phone call from reception at 10.30 pm telling me my motorbike was "gone" (I immediately assumed it had been stolen) - luckily it was a language problem they simply wanted the key to the bike so they could move it to undercover storage somewhere.

Xuan Huong Lake    Another view of Xuan Huong Lake    Dalat's Big C Supercenter
         Xuan Huong Lake, Dalat                                    Another view of Xuan Huong Lake                 The Outside of Dalat's Big C Supercenter   

Dalat's Big C Supercenter Skylight    Dalat's Big C Supercenter Skylight    Dalat Greenhouses
Skylight For Dalat's Big C Supercenter                  Skylight For Dalat's Big C Supercenter                                   Dalat Greenhouses           

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13th September 2016

Dam Market

This morning I went for a ride to Dam Market (Cho Dam), the largest market in Nha Trang, unfortunately they appear to be in the process of expanding or replacing the original market building. The result is a mess and I will not be visiting again until it is sorted. I have noticed since being back in Nha Trang that the traffic has increased considerably (probably 50%) and every ride is still an adventure.

I am planning to ride up to Dalat on Thursday, returning Friday (140 kilometres each way up the mountains to 5,000 feet) - first trip on my new bike.

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9th September 2016

My New Honda Blade

I bought a new Honda Blade motorcycle yesterday to get around on. It cost 19.3 million Dong - which is only about $1140 Australian dollars including registration. To celebrate I had a beer at my favourite location on Nha Trang Beach - Louisiane Brewhouse (a brewery on the beach, genius).

I am just about sorted now and will start to relax a bit. "Life is a Holiday, Old Chum".

Honda Blade    Louisiane Brewhouse Pilsner
My New Honda Blade                                      Louisiane Brewhouse Pilsner

Louisiane Brewhouse - Nha Trang
Louisiane Brewhouse - Brewery on Nha Trang Beach

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