Hoi An to Danang - then by train to Nha Trang

After only one night in Hoi An (wished it were longer) we travelled to the port of Danang, 25k north of Hanoi where we visited the Cham museum, a semi open-air museum, shaded by frangipani trees, built in 1915 to celebrate the Cham culture and heritage.

The Hindu Champa Kingdom held sway over the central part of modern-day Vietnam for over ten centuries and descendants of its inhabitants survive today, having adopted Islamic beliefs. The Chams were renowned for their fine buildings and sculptures, some of which, dating from between the 8th and 14th centuries, may be seen in the museum.

Station at DanangAfter our visit to the museum we headed for the train station in Danang where we boarded the 'Reunification Express' for our 10-hour journey to Nha Trang. The train follows the coastal route, providing spectacular views of beaches, cliffs and rice paddies.

The cleanliness of our 'first class' carriage left a lot to be desired and the toilet facilities were even worse as was the food but despite all this we would not have missed it. It's a wonderful way to take in the Vietnamese countryside - even if it did rain part of the way!

We arrived in Nha Trang late in the evening where we took a boat to our hotel and had a welcome shower before retiring for the night.

Deserted beach at Nha TrangThe seaside resort of Nha Trang, with palm-lined avenues, provides a refreshing break from Vietnam's bustling towns and cities. During the Vietnam War, Nha Trang became both an American naval base and a centre of entertainment and relaxation for American GIs.

Today, tourists chill out on the never-ending white, sandy beaches, shaded by palm trees. Unfortunately, although it had stopped raining, it was now blowing a gale and the beaches were completely deserted.

Po Nagar in Nha TrangOur sightseeing tour took us to the towers at the site of the Brahman sanctuary and temple, Po Nagar. Only four of the original eight towers, dating from between the 6th and 11th centuries have survived. The main tower is dedicated to the Cham goddess Po Ino Nagar, the female form of Siva and her statue may be found in the main temple.

Behind the Cham Towers to San Hill, there are outstanding panoramic views of Nha Trang. Looking south from the Towers, you can also see the impressive, white statue of Buddha, part of the Long Son Pagoda.

Our next stop was supposed to be Long Son Pagoda at close quarters but, according to our tour guide, beggars at the site have become aggressive and a nuisance to tourists and so they no longer visit the Long Son Pagoda. I thought this was a real shame. We have had many experiences with beggars in most countries we have visited but we have never not gone somewhere because of them. It's all part of the holiday 'experience'.


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Scenes from Vietnam

paddy field workers

paddy field workers

paddy field workers