June 3, 2020
We wake up around 7:00 am, very hungry, as the night before we went to bed without any dinner. While getting ready to leave our room, it starts to rain again. We go to the bar next to our hotel and order breakfast. During all this time rain is pouring. Twenty minutes later, we come back to the hotel, walking in ankle-deep water! In the meantime, we reserve a bus to our next destination for 7:30 pm on the same day. We came to the conclusion that there is no point in staying here during the monsoon season. Even if it is the end of the season, the chances of improving the weather are poor. As we still have time before check-out, we use it on catching up on the blog.
After an hour, the rain worsens and the situation is getting a little dramatic. The water raised to such a level that in our hotel and surrounding shops flood barricades are put up. We sit in the hotel’s lounge about five meters from the entrance, watching as the hotel's staff struggle with this element of nature. When the situation is getting more serious, we decide to help by grabbing a broom to brush water out. The situation is saved by a water pump brought by one of the staff. Water on the street is knee-high and in some places even deeper!
When it’s time to check out, we leave our luggage in a hotel’s storage. We still have unlimited access to the hotel’s internet and bathroom. Rain stops for good, and we go to see the famous beaches of Nha Trang. Indeed, the beach is beautiful, stretching for a few kilometers, covered with tall palm trees along its edges. We see an impressive lotus-shaped building called Tram Huong Tower. Unfortunately, all this charm is spoiled by unfinished hotels, which are located almost on the beach. A lot of garbage also doesn't add charm! When traveling to Nha Trang, we had a plan to ride a scooter to discover wild, deserted beaches, situated a few kilometers from the city. Due to the bad weather, we will not be able to do it. Well then, we need to be patient and wait for another opportunity.
After a long walk on the beach, we head to the city to visit Long Son Pagoda. Despite the fact that it is quite far, we decide to go on foot. We get to most places during our trip on foot, for a few reasons. First, to save money as we remember that we still have a long way to go. Second, it is healthy. And third, perhaps most importantly, we have the opportunity to get to know local people and observe things that would escape our attention from behind the car window. Long Son Pagoda is very impressive indeed. Peaceful and quiet. Already at the entrance, we smell incense. We go inside, where characteristic figures of the Buddha and other deities can be seen. Then, over a hundred steps uphill we climb to see a 24 m (79 feet) high statue of the Buddha, overlooking the city. Along the way we see a monk citing mantra and striking a huge bell. The atmosphere of this place is amazing. Unfortunately, as it happens in most tourist towns, the whole mood is spoiled by people walking around trying to sell you stuff: Buddha paddle fans, incense sticks, etc. We know that everyone wants to make money to survive, and we understand that, but places like these should be free from such things. We probably have to get used to it...
We come back to the hotel to use the bathrooms and the internet. The bus station is about 15 minutes away. Originally, we decided to leave at 6:00 pm, but when we hear the sounds of the storm, we change our plan and leave early to avoid the rain. Unfortunately, the rain catches us in the middle of the road and we are forced to take a taxi. Even when only entering the taxi, which lasted a few seconds, we are wet to the bone. Our next destination is a city called Hoi An. The city is noted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Traveling by bus to Hoi An usually takes eleven hours; this ride took more than thirteen…but it was definitely worth it!
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert