Nha Trang and Phu My, Vietnam

March 14, 2012

Nha Trang is in the southern part of Vietnam, about 3/4 of the way down the eastern coast.  It is a thriving city and a city of contrasts between the old and the new.  Once you get into the city you see a combination of modern buildings and old-style businesses.  There is plenty of docking space for cruise ships, except for the biggest ones.   A cable car goes over to the nearby island that houses a Disney-type amusement park called Vinpearl.  One also sees many fishing boats in the area.

The excursion we chose for this visit was called Nha Trang Highlights.  It showed us several different sides of their culture.

Our first stop was the Po Nagar Cham Towers (pictured at top).  It is a 1,200-year-old temple, built by the Hindus, but dedicated to a wise woman and her husband.  The buildings are all built out of brick, but without mortar.  Their technique was to build the buildings and then bake them so the bricks would adhere to each other without mortar.  Parts of the complex have been restored.  The Cham are one of the peoples native to Vietnam,  but their numbers are now small.  Despite their population decline, the Cham have retained their building skills and are the ones who were asked to do the restoration on the temple complex.

There is a museum on the grounds that gives the history of the temple.

The Cham Towers are located on the top of a hill, which affords a nice view of the river and the city.  It was here, in the river that we saw three men getting into one of those round basket fishing boats that seem to be unique to Vietnam.  For ocean fishing these boats are dispatched from larger fishing boats.                                                                      

The second stop on our tour was the Long Son Pagoda, which has a huge white Buddha sitting on a white lotus flower on top of the hill above the pagoda.

The Pagoda is quite beautiful inside.  It is a long hike up approximately 150 stairs to get to the Buddha.  Unlike when we were in Hong Kong, the weather was sunny and hot this day.

Our next stop was at an embroidery factory, where we got to see the finished projects, but also see how the women worked on the embroidery.  The women are creating pictures of photographic quality with needle and thread.

Our final stop on this tour was the beach, where we could get refreshments (at our own expense) if we wanted, or we could just enjoy the atmosphere.  We walked around a bit and then sat on a wall, watching the waves and the people.  Susan was able to find a few shells for her collection.

We had a very nice time on this tour and had a great tour guide.  There is much more to see here, and we would enjoy a return visit.

The photos in the album show some of the things we saw along the way - the park along the beach, and scenes from the city as well as additional pictures of the attractions discussed above.

Thursday, March 16, 2012

Today we docked in the port of Phu My, Vietnam, the port from which one travels to Saigon.  We had planned to go on an excursion called ‘A Taste of Vietnamese Cuisine’, but the tour was canceled due to lack of interest.  That was too bad, as we have been to Saigon before and had also done the tour of Vung Tau, a nearby resort town.  We had no interest in the Cu Chi tunnels excursion.  So we stayed on the ship, took a few photos, and worked on projects.

The big surprise of the day, for which we unfortunately have no photographs, was the Vietnamese Culture Show.  The show included a group of ladies, who were modestly dressed, doing different dances.  The other part of the show was the music, which was wonderful.  It sounded like there might be some western influence to the music, but the instruments were purely Vietnamese.  We had thought we’d just stay for a few minutes but found ourselves pretty well spellbound by the show.

                                                                         Phu My

© Susan L. Stone 2015                   rovingstones@me.com