It seemed silly that I had been travelling to Thailand regularly all my life, yet had never been to Vietnam, a similar Southeast Asian hotspot. So in April, I finally booked my flights to the country, choosing Nha Trang as my first stop. My five-day vacation turned out to be super fruitful. I tried so many things for the first time. If you stumbled across this post wondering what there is to do in this coastal city, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you can consider adding to your itinerary for Nha Trang – things that I experienced for the first time there and things that you may have yet to discover.
While most things I tried for the first time in Nha Trang were great, there were some negatives, too. My opinion is based on my personal experiences, though, so don’t let what I say deter you. I’d recommend further research on individual activities before you decide if it’s worthy of adding to your itinerary for Nha Trang. 🙂
Nha Trang was a time of many firsts for me, including…
My first time in Vietnam
As I’ve mentioned, my stay in Nha Trang was also my first time in Vietnam, which didn’t become a popular tourism spot until recently. The most popular cities to visit in the country right now are the ones you hear over and over again, like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Danang. It was difficult to find an itinerary for Nha Trang with the city still only developing its reputation as a holiday spot. So why’d I choose it, out of all the options? Well… I actually found cheap flights and a discount code… so, uh, it wasn’t intended on my part, but the size of Nha Trang turned out to be perfect for a five-day stay.
My first budget airline
Yes, I was 23 when I first flew with a budget airline. Yes, I probably am a spoilt little brat whose Dad is paranoid about flying with an airline not deemed “safe”. Just to be clear, I don’t have anything against budget airlines, it just so happened that I managed to find great deals with conventional flights all the way up until this trip. For Nha Trang, I flew with HK Express, and it was an eye-opener to the real world. I expected a flight full of young adults looking to shave every bit of cost off of their travel plans, but there were many families too. Time for a reality check, Charmaine!
My first room service meal
Now if one thing counters the previous point more, it’s that this trip marked my first time ordering room service. Asian families rarely indulge in the minibar or anything with additional costs to the hotel room. The stingy stereotype ain’t a lie, guys. Growing up, I never had the chance to wake up to breakfast in bed. Room service seemed like something that only happened on TV.
Since the hotel I stayed in, Liberty Central Nha Trang, offers breakfast to the room for a budget-friendly price, I decided to try it out. The food wasn’t particularly good but it was so worth it just for the experience. It may sound stupid, but adding a room service meal to your itinerary for Nha Trang is a must if you want to live like royalty!
My first mud spa
Surf the web and you may discover that many websites tout adding the hot mud spa to any itinerary for Nha Trang. It’s unmissable, they say. You must try it, they say. So I did. And contrary to the many wonderful reviews online, I had a horrible experience.
I joined a one-day sightseeing tour, and everything was dandy until the guide brought us to I Resort. The “resort” frequently gets great reviews on Tripadvisor, but while the spa itself is an interesting thing to try, I Resort was just not hygienic. I don’t stand alone. There are a bunch of smaller reviews pointing to the fact that the showers were dirty, smelled of urine, and that there were CCTV’s in the “changing rooms” (a cloth-covered corner in the locker room). I could go on.
I’m not discouraging anyone from the mud spa. But if you value your health and want to stay free of bodily infections, I suggest looking into other venues to try it out.
My first cooking class
A common activity on the rise in Southeast Asian travel is the cooking class. It’s a fun, interactive way of experiencing the country in a more personal way – and you get to eat up your finished product, a win-win for sure. It’s a must-add to your itinerary for Nha Trang!
I took my first ever foreign cooking class with Lanterns Restaurant. Reputed for its fine Vietnamese cuisine, Lanterns’ cooking class comprises of two parts: shopping for ingredients at the Xom Moi Wet Market and cooking a three-course meal. Oh, and they throw in a free three-wheel bicycle taxi cyclo ride for you too! My finished creation though, um… let’s just say I’m not exactly the world’s most talented chef, so I’ll leave the picture of my rice paper rolls up for your imagination.
My first breast milk fruit
Last, but not least, you definitely have to include trying out all the local fruits to your itinerary for Nha Trang. If you’re not from Asia, most of the fruits you’ll find are probably going to be foreign to you. I grew up in Hong Kong though, so I’m used to seeing durian, rambutan, dragon fruit and the likes regularly. But one Vietnamese fruit I had to try out was the breast milk fruit, or as it’s more commonly known, the star apple. It’s named so because milky white liquid squirts out of it when you massage it – but if you’d rather avoid the pornographic deal altogether, you can just chop it up and eat it like I did. 😉
So there you have it, six things I tried for the first time in Nha Trang. Come to think of it, you’ve probably tried some of these things before, but trust me. Order that room service meal. Take that cooking class. And try that breast milk fruit. You won’t regret sneaking these little tidbits into your itinerary for Nha Trang, I promise.
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