The Sea in Nha Trang and The Mountains in Da Lat

Nha Trang, Vietnam:

Further south along the coast in the Khanh Hoa province lies the coastal town of Nha Trang.  The juxtaposition of the pristine beaches and tiny islands along the South China Sea to the east with the backdrop of the looming mountains to the west has created a gorgeous landscape that explains why Nha Trang has become one of the most popular holiday destinations for both international and domestic tourists.  In addition to admiring the surrounding vistas, the Nha Trang Bay is also renowned for the quality of its scuba diving as well as being a protected marine area, meaning the natural beauty isn’t likely to be spoiled anytime soon (on the water, at least).  And for the fellow temple junkies out there, the city is also home to the very well-preserved Po Nagar Tower, a remnant of the Champa Era, and the Long Son Pagoda, complete with its brilliantly white Giant Seated Buddha.

The streets of the city

The Giant Sleeping Buddha overlooking the entire city

The Po Nagar Cham Towers

The view back over the town from the Po Nagar Cham Tower

Despite its natural beauty, Nha Trang does have it vocal objectors — critics who claim that the city has become too developed, that it has lost its natural charms, that it only caters to foreign travelers, and that one can’t experience the real Vietnam, whatever that may be (although that is another argument altogether).  The critics, however, have missed their mark — not so much in description of the city itself, but their assumptions in what other travelers are trying to find on their journeys.  Very few travelers make their way to Nha Trang expecting to experience how the locals live or what life is like for the Vietnamese; they journey here to soak up the sun on the beautiful beaches!  And oh, how they are beautiful…

Da Lat, Vietnam:

Only a few more hours’ drive into the Central Highlands lies another favorite holiday destination in Vietnam: the town of Da Lat, which lies almost 1,500 meters above sea level on the Langbiang Plateau.  After several days of soaking up the rays, the relatively cool climate and the mountain views are in complete contrast to that of the beaches and the sun of Nha Trang, but quite welcomed, all the same.  Although the architecture remains the French Colonial style, the usual palm trees are now replaced by pine trees and the fields where rice in normally grown now host strawberry farms and flower fields.

Long-favored as a destination for newlyweds and vacationing couples, Da Lat is also home to what may be some of the most amazingly tacky attractions the exist anywhere on the planet.  With names such as Valley of Love and Crazy Town, these destinations can best be described as aging amusement parks minus the rollercoasters and rides, leaving only the empty shells of photo ops beside cheesy statues of giraffes or cowboys.  I’ll save you the pain of having to view these images (the tacky factor is best enjoyed in person, anyway), but here are a few of the more typical scenes around town:

A view over the city of Da Lat, with the familiar landmark of the Eiffel Tower-like antennae visible in the distance to the right

Looking out of Xuan Huong Lake

The main square at the heart of the city

A giant golden Buddha at the Linh Son Pagoda

Da Lat is also the only wine-producing region in Vietnam, whose wines can be found all of the country

I happened to visit Da Lat during the Vietnamese Independence Day, meaning the crowds were out in force. Seen here is the mass of people vying for a view of the Datanla Waterfalls

A relief outside the Truc Lam Meditation Monastery

The view of the Valley of Love (with as many tacky statues cropped out as possible)

Da Lat also marks my last stop before heading into the big city of Saigon itself.  Until then, cheers for Nha Trang and Da Lat!

About andrewamiet

I'm a 29 (now 31) year-old former desk jockey who is now making my way around the world, experiencing all of the sights, sounds, tastes, people, and culture that the world has to offer.

13 Responses to “The Sea in Nha Trang and The Mountains in Da Lat”

  1. it’s very nice to see your pics in Da Lat n Nha Trang. Both cities are my favorites. Have u enjoyed any kind of food specialties there? or have u tried mud bath?

    • I really wanted to try out the mud baths near Nha Trang, but at the time, I decided I needed another day on the beach — a decision that I now regret, given the sunburn I received. I’ll just have to save it for next time, I guess.

      And the food was great in both places. I didn’t post any food pics, though, as I’ve been going a little heavy on the food posts since entering Vietnam, so I thought I’d take a break for a post. Regardless, It is one of my favorite countries to eat in that I’ve had the joy of visiting!

  2. I think you are discovering and showing us the universality of people around the world. We may have different symbols for our worship, for example, but recognizing a Higher Power is worldwide. And, at another part of the spectrum, the cheesy old stuff shows us that all of us harbor some less than cerebral enjoyment.

    • It’s funny you mention this, as this exact theme — the similarities and universality amongst all of the people I’ve come across — is something that I’ve had on my mind for a while now (I guess it’s showing through in my writing – ha ha). I’ve got a few ideas bouncing around in my head for a piece I’d like to write at some point, whether that would be a stand-alone essay or another installment of my “Life on the Road” post, meant specifically as a challenge for me to dive further into the topic further and find a way to put this somewhat abstract concept it into words. As always, thanks for traveling along with me!

  3. more food pics…

  4. I was just at Saigon. Too bad I didn’t explore all of Vietnam. Oh well…next time….I’d like to take my boyfriend–he’s Vietnamese American, didn’t want to go all over Vietnam and spoil the fun.

  5. I was just at Saigon. Too bad I didn’t explore all of Vietnam. Oh well…next time….I’d like to take my boyfriend–he’s Vietnamese American, didn’t want to go all over Vietnam and spoil the fun.

  6. Keep up the Asian adventures. I’ve just arrived in Europe… and I already miss the rice and noodles!

  7. The scuba diving in Nha Trang leaves a lot to be desired compared with Thailand and Cambodia based on personal experience as it’s been massively overfished (however the water was nice and warm) but I still think it’s a must do on any Vietnamese itinerary as the beach is ace and the cable car ride is fantastic!

    Anyway, hello, I’ve sent you a mail. 😉

  8. Beautiful Photos – thanks for sharing:)

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