Day 3: Happy Vietnamese Independence Day!

After returning to the hotel last night and eventually falling to sleep well after 1am, Emma and I were awake at 5am to the tooting of scooters and general road noise from the streets. 

Went for our breakfast in the hotel, heaps of fruits and traditional Vietnamese foods available. Sat with a few of the other contiki travellers and discussed alcohol and drugs in each of our countries!! 

Packed our bags and checked out… Ready for our adventure through the city. Firstly we visited the Reunification Palace, the South Vietnamese government building, was the place where American tanks entered and the war ended in 1975. It is no longer used and is purely a tourist spot.

Next we visited the Notre Dame Basilica church, built when France had some reign back in the mid-1800's. Many Vietnamese couples flock to this church to have photos taken prior to their wedding. They dress in full bridal gowns and suits up to a year prior to having the actual ceremony.

Opposite the Notre Dame Basilica was the GPO, which was also built during the French reign of Saigon.

A fair few kids came up to a couple of us to have photos taken. When I asked why, our tour guide translated that they haven't seen Westerners before. They were very ecstatic to have their photo with us. We all piled into the bus and made our way to the War Remnants museum. On the way, pedestrians cross in and out if the traffic, more impressively, a young guy in a wheelchair was game enough to wheel his way through the traffic!

At the War Remnants Museum, they had original US military helicopters, tanks and planes in the court yard. Next to that, they had ‘Tiger Cages’ … Also known as torture cages for the prisoners of war. Very sad to see how cruel humans can be to other humans. In the museum, there were hundreds of photos of people that had had unspeakable things done to them. As an Australian, it was interesting to see remnants of the ‘American’ war as they call it, and to read their point of view on the war. What our soldiers were put through was unimaginable. These images will remain with me forever. 

Made it to the airport with ample time. Knowing my luck, the electricity went out as soon as I approached the check in counter. Had to wait at least 10-15 mins for it to come back on. One positive out of the situation is that my luggage only weighs 15.1kg. Hopped on our flight to Nha Trang via Vietnam Airways. Not as good as Malaysian Airways. 

Our 55 minute flight was rather smooth until it came to the landing where the plane went thud along the Tarmac. Nha Trang airport is small, very small. It only had one carousel for baggage claim. Of course, my bag was one of the last ones to appear which frightened me a little! 

Nha Trang airport was once owned by the Soviet Union and so Nha Trang is the beach spot for Russians.. All the signage is in Vietnamese, English AND Russian. 

No Wifi at the hotel… Frustrating is an understatement. 

Went for a walk along the streets to the beach, stopped via a market and haggled for the first time this trip. Emma and I managed to get bracelets for $1 AUD each instead of $1.55 each. We are good at this!

At this part of the trip, I was getting low on cash so I tried to use my prepaid visa to get some hard cash. All my cards declined using several accounts and ATM's. So I only had enough money to see through the next day. 

Had an amazing shower that was well deserved before we went out for dinner at the Sailing Bar along the main beach. Our tour guide James booked us a table on the sand with our own personal bar that sold vodka jam jars for 50,000 dong ($2.50 AUD). The food was fantastic, people ordered a lot of seafood and duck. The desserts of lemon tarts and American Apple pies were especially note worthy. After our dinner, we set up bean bags on the sand while the restaurant staff made a bon fire and starting playing some loud, decent music - it was very relaxing and serene.