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After hanging out in Mui Ne for a few days, it was time to move on. So I bought a bus ticket and headed north up the coast towards Nha Trang, about 6 hours away. Part of the day was nice and sunny, but when we headed up into the coastal mountain passes the rain started up, as some of the pictures below show.

It was on this bus ride that I got to see some of the beautiful and rugged shoreline of Southern Vietnam. I was kind of disappointed that the bus didn't stop at every single turnoff along the coast for picture taking, but I guess that just means I'll have to go back next year and rent a car and driver for that part of the trip. No problem. I can do that. :)

I did the best I could to take pictures out the window as we drove along, but for the most part the pictures didn't come out as I wanted. These pix just don't do it justice. After 6 hours we made it to Nha Trang, probably the most popular beach resort in Vietnam and at one time the home of one of the biggest concentrations of American soldiers during the War. All that remains of our prescence are the huge air base we built at Nha Trang, which is now the main commercial airport. I liked Nha Trang, although not as much as some of the other places I visited. It *did* have the best pizza I've ever had while traveling in Asia, but that's not enough of a reason for me to go back and spend a lot more time there.

 

 
 
   

About two hours after we left Mui Ne, it was time for a rest stop. The bus pulled into this little restaurant and we had about 20 minutes to stretch our legs, pee, and smoke. This is the beach at the rest stop. Those little huts cost $10 per night.

 
 
    The beach at Song Cao. This is one of the places I'm planning on spending more time at next year. Taken from the bus. A little coastal village, in the rain.    
 
   
  Here's a picture taken out the window as we rolled up the coast. Yes those are sand dunes, and they extend inland for a couple miles in some places. Hard to tell by the picture but these dunes are *huge*!  
 

A thousand years or so ago, back before they were Vietnamese, this part of VN was part of the Cham dynasty. The history of the Chams is way too complicated to try to explain here, but suffice to say they (like all the old cultures in SE Asia) build some unbelievable temples. The picture on the left is set of temples on a hill outside of Nha Trang, picture taken from the bus. The close-up of the temple on the right is outside of Phan Thiet.

 

 

 

 
 
 

Have you been thinking "Where are all the pictures of the rice paddies?" Between Mui Ne and Nha Trang.

 
   

 
 
 

YAY!! More rice paddies... , with the mountains of the Central Highlands in the background

 
   
 
 
3 1/2 hours after we left Mui Ne, it was time for lunch. The bus stopped at this atmospheric restaurant, built right out over a shrimp farm.  
 
  I met these three Euros on the bus from Mui Ne to Nha Trang. That's a German girl on the left, Dutch guy in the middle, English dude on the right. It was a very international group on that bus.
 
Here's my hotel in Nha Trang. I stayed 4 nights.  
 
Nha Trang beach, looking south on the left, looking north towards the airport on the right.
 
    This beautiful woman was selling tourist trinkets on the beach in Nha Trang. This lady was so cool. She spoke perfect English, something she picked up during the War when she was dating a few American servicemen. She had old black and white pix of herself from those much happier days, and let me tell you she was one stunningly beautiful woman. My guess is that she is probably 65 years old. Hard to tell, really.  
 
 

On the day before I left Nha Trang to head to Quang Ngai, I hired a driver w/ motorcycle and ventured out to DocLet Beach, about 3 hours northeast of Nha Trang. Here is a picture of my guide, Mr. Dang.

   
 
 
 

Beautiful DocLet Beach.  In the picture on the left, notice the big storm approaching the coast. I got soaked on the way back to Nha Trang.

 
     
 

 
 

Shrimp farming is big business in Vietnam, and all along the coast are these huge shrimp pens. These are located in a  beautiful mountain pass, near Nha Trang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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