From Da Lat, Inna and I went to Nha Trang, a coastal city only a couple hours east. And while geographically Nha Trang and Da Lat are close, the cities could not be more different. For Nha Trang isn’t colonial era, it is a modern resort town (it is basically the Cairns of Vietnam). But enough preamble, lets get into it, to Nha Trang, the second stop on our way out of southern Vietnam.
The reason Nha Trang and Da Lat have such different climates is there is a mountain range between them. Driving through this range took us from temperate to tropical, and the drive itself was awesome.
And we’ve made it! Back to the beach!
The previous beach picture was taken from the sand, and this one was from from our hotel. Pretty spectacular, especially for $30 per night…
As you’ve probably guessed, being at a beach community in the tropics meant Inna went diving again. I didn’t snorkel however, instead I spent the day exploring the city, as outside Nha Trang’s tourist area, the city has some pretty interesting religious buildings.
First up is the Cham (related to Hindu but I don’t know how) temple Po Nagar. This temple, built between the eighth century and twelfth centuries, originally had seven or eight towers, although only four remain. At some point, the entire complex was renovated and I don’t know much more about this place than that.
I might not know much about this complex but it was spectacular. The brickwork in particular was beautiful, unlike anything Inna or I had seen at this point in our journeys.
Next up on my religion tour: the Buddhist Long Son Pagoda. Unlike Po Nagar this was a new temple, having been constructed 1936 and then extensively remodeled (due to damage from the Vietnam War) in 1971.
Behind the pagoda was this statue of a sleeping Buddha, the first (but not last) sleeping Buddha Inna and I would see in our travels.
Behind the sleeping Buddha was this 24 meter-tall sitting Buddha. Similar to Hong Kong’s Tian Tan Buddha, despite its size, this isn’t even in the top forty largest Buddha statues in the world (Tian Tan Buddha ranks somewhere around 30th; apparently large Buddha statues are really popular!).
This Buddha may not be the largest, but apparently it is disappearing? I doubt any other Buddha statue can claim that!
For the final stop on my Nha Trang religion tour I went Catholic, to the Nha Trang Cathedral. Built by French missionaries in the late 1800s, this church wasn’t quite as grand as the temples in this city, but it was beautiful and it was also cool visiting a Hindu Temple, Buddhist Temple, and Catholic Church all in the same day.
Hey look! It’s Inna again! Back from her dive, we had just enough time to visit this beachside pool and bar before leaving the city.
But what about Inna’s dive, you ask? Well, here you go:
Here is Inna heading out to sea. It’s a beautiful day for a dive!
Here’s something cool that I only saw from a distance but Inna got to see up close. These are cable cars that traverse the sea, from mainland Nha Trang to an island off the coast. The cable cars look amazing, but unfortunately the ride cost is packaged with entrance to their destination (a water-park resort), making them expensive, at least by Vietnam standards. Because of this, I chose to skip it and to do the religious tour instead.
According to Inna, diving at Nha Trang wasn’t amazing, at least not compared to Nusa Lembongan and the Great Barrier Reef. Specifically, the visibility was lower and the sea life wasn’t as abundant. Because of this, Inna didn’t get a ton of great videos, but she did get a couple, which we’ve shared below.
0:02 Christmas Tree Worm
0:13 several fish
0:43 Clark’s Anemonefish
1:16 more fish
1:37 Longfin Bannerfish
Despite the lesser visibility and lower abundance of sea life, Nha Trang was still a decent dive spot. First, the water was warm, always a big plus. Second, there was some reef and sea life, just not as much as other destinations. And third, for any true diver, the real purpose of diving is the act itself, feeling free underwater and swimming like a fish. Nha Trang delivered on these superbly. Great visibility and abundant sea life are simply added benefits.
Inna didn’t get a lot of great videos but she did get this one. Scorpionfish are masters of camouflage. Can you find the one in this video? You’ll have too look close, and pay attention!
The above two videos are actually our only Nha Trang dive videos worth sharing. But not to worry, we also have stills! So check out below:
One advantage to sea life being less plentiful was that it was much easier to appreciate individual species. Above are some of the most unique and beautiful underwater plant life Inna photographed.
These strange guys are some of the most exciting fish to see while diving. They are lionfish, predator fish whose tentacles are filled with poison. Don’t worry, Inna knows to keep her distance.
Swimming amongst the reef here is a Giant Boxfish, a species of fish known for its square rather than round shape.
These guys are known as Christmas Tree Worms, so named because they look like mini Christmas trees. It is hard to get closeups of these worms because if you get too close, they retreat into the reef, where you can’t see them at all.
Here are some more interesting things Inna saw. I don’t know the names of any of them, so I will simply call them (clockwise from upper left) flower-thing, urchin-thing, and feather-thing.
I know the names of these guys though. These are starfish, and pretty cool ones if you ask me.
This marks the end of Inna’s dive stills, which means we’ve reached the end of our Nha Trang post. Up next, we’re heading north, all the way to Hoi An, in central Vietnam.