Day 21: Nha Trang – Boat Trip Tour

Cam Ranh Bay, Nha Trang, Vietnam

No roosters here, only traffic noises. BeeBee slept through sunrise over Cam Ranh Bay, which is supposed to be spectacular. Maybe tomorrow.

Pati and BeeBee agreed with their guide to meet at 9 am. He told them to bring towels from the hotel for their snorkeling expedition. To get beach towels from the hotel means to get a coupon for towels and take it to the beach (across the road) to collect towels there. Since the towel stand doesn’t open until 9 am, they asked the guide to drive them across the road (drive about 1 km away from the hotel, U-turn, drive back to the other side of the road). He also told them that their boat would have a changing room and shower, so BeeBee dutifully packed their swimwear and shower toiletries to carry with them.


At the port, they boarded their boat. On a boat that would easily hold 50 passengers, there were only Pati, BeeBee, the guide, the pilot, and a helper. Their snorkeling spot was 50 minutes from the port, and they observed Mun Island on the way. “Mun” means black rock. The seating area was covered, there was a nice breeze, and the scenery was beautiful. They made one stop at a floating restaurant/convenience store/dive shop to pick up fins and snorkels. When they reached their snorkeling area, there were several boats there already, including boats with divers. The pilot’s helper tied their boat to another larger boat, containing a group of Russian divers.

Then it was time to change into swim wear. BeeBee went first, wondering how the boat builders had squeezed in a changing room with shower. It was the ship’s bathroom, about 30″ wide by 40″ long, with a toilet base (open, no lid, no tank, but “clean”) in one corner, and a 20″ wide glass sliding door for entry (no privacy) facing the back of the boat. No shower. With many contortions, BeeBee changed clothes. Then Pati had the same delightful experience.

Jumping into the cold water was refreshing, but they soon adjusted. The water was about 5 meters deep and clear.The coral reef and multicoloured fish were beautiful, especially when the sun came out from behind the clouds. Pati took lots of underwater pictures, which he hopes will be good.

After swimming around and picture taking, they climbed back on board and sat in the sun to drip dry and get warm. Still a bit wet, they took turns changing back into street clothes.

After this, the boat proceeded to Ben Tau Tri Nguyen, a small, shabby aquarium. Here they saw many fish and sealife in large but simple tanks. (According to their guide, this aquarium is popular with tours, busy in the morning and afternoon, which might explain why there was no one else there with Pati and BeeBee. The guide also said the best exhibits had been transferred to another aquarium.)


The highlight of the aquarium, for BeeBee, was the coral reef that could be viewed from two levels.

After this, the boat traveled a short distance to a newly-built restaurant, Tu Hai. Their guide explained that it had been opened only 20 days and Pati and BeeBee would be the first people from the tour company to eat there. He wanted their honest feedback, to help the company.  After lunch, they told the guide that the food tasted good, except the meat was chewy, and the staff needed to work on serving skills (specifically, give the customer plates to eat on and silverware to eat with; it is not possible to eat soup with chopsticks). Privately, they worried about food poisoning, since the soup was only lukewarm to start with, the rest of their food cooled off while they were trying to get plates and silverware, and there were no other diners.

Back on the boat, their guide explained that they had stopped at that restaurant because the one the tour usually goes to was too far away and would take too long to get to.

They then headed back to port and were driven back to their hotel, returning somewhere between 2:30 and 3 pm, free on their own for the rest of the day. The day’s touring seemed short, and so they checked their itinerary. By stopping at the new restaurant, the guide had cut out 2 1/2 hours of activities, including visiting Mot Island, Tam Island, and Mieu Island with entertainment programs (music and singing), a “fruit party” at a resort, and watching fish from a bamboo basket boat. In addition, the aquarium was not part of their planned tour, but it was close to the new restaurant. (They will carry a copy of their itinerary tomorrow.)

Pati and BeeBee then walked across the street to the beach, since their towels could be used until 4 pm. They walked in the sand along the water’s edge before surrendering the towels.

Back in the hotel, they cooled off until after dark, and then went to the hotel’s pool area on the 16th floor where they got dessert: vanilla ice cream in a plastic box, coffe and tea.

And then it was time for internetting before bed. The free WiFi that was so welcoming on the first evening in the hotel room has shrunk to an area of about one square meter between the entry door and the bathroom door. BeeBee is beginning to think that their WiFi is a microcosm of the service mentality in Nha Trang. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

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