Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Nha Trang - Rolling in the Mud and on the Coaster

The train ride to Nha Trang was long (10 hours) and it was after midnight when we finally arrived.  The weather was similar to Hoi An, damp and pretty dreary and because of a recent storm there was incredible surf that was great to see and hear but made swimming dangerous.  We didn’t spend much time on the actual beach but it looked lovely with miles and miles of sandy shoreline.  The wide stone boulevards that lined the beach would not have been out of place in Australia or Hawaii, nor would have the hotels and shops. The roads were the best we have seen in Vietnam and you could definitely tell that money has flowed into this area. 

While we were really impressed with the quality of development and infrastructure we were less impressed to learn that all along the coast many fishing villages have been relocated to make way for the tourists.  Tourists have moved in and much of the local life has been forced out. Many fishing families have lost their way of life, a familiar story throughout the world.  We had to wonder how long it might be before the basket boats that have for so long been a part of Vietnam’s coastal character disappear.   The more we travel the more we see first hand the tremendous impact that tourism and globalization have.  While both can be a huge economic boost providing employment and increasing opportunities for many, there is always a price to be paid.  As we have mentioned before, we can only hope that as global awareness of the importance of the sustainable development of the tourism industry increases people of influence can figure out a way for communities to share the beauty that they have without jeopardizing it or anyone’s way of life in the process.  

We only spent a few days in Nha Trang but during that time we did some pretty fun things.  Rob and I had an interesting experience at the Thap Ba Spa.  Under the cover of tropical plants and drizzly skies and listening to birds and insects all around, we showered in thermal mineral water, soaked in a bathtub full of mud and then in a bath tub full of tea and then each enjoyed a massage.  While bathing in mud is not something we would do on a regular basis it was another first to add to our list! 

Vinpearl Land is a popular amusement park close to Nha Trang that was once pegged as Vietnam’s version of Disneyland.  Disneyland it was not but we were not expecting California in Vietnam.  The park is located on an island and to get there you take a tram across the water.  The process of getting to and from the park is part of the fun.  Along with a fairly decent roller coaster and a number of other standard amusement park rides there was also a fun water park, a cool 4D theater, the best aquarium we have seen in a long time and a huge arcade.  We were almost ready to leave when we stumbled on the arcade.  Our departure was postponed for quite some time while the boys’ ran from machine to machine, adrenaline pumping and in heaven by having free reign to a bunch of games they seldom get to play.  The $8.00 admission price to enter the park included everything.  The kids would have burnt through $8.00 in about 10 minutes of games alone back in Canada.

 The picture above was taken on the tram.

The lights throughout the park were really pretty....

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