Let me start by finally laying to rest any pretence that remained that I am a budget traveller. Maybe I once was. Alas, it seems, on the evidence of this trip, not any more, and anyone thinking I am still a shoe-stringer of any description is as misguided as an ardent Jeremy Corbyn supporter.
This was my second visit to Nha Trang, taking advantage of a sliver of free time away from teaching. The first time I came here, back in October 2014, I stayed in the five star InterContinental hotel, a plush boutique outfit who’s private beach, panoramic water front views and international breakfast hardly scream shoe-string.
This time around we opted to stay in the Sheraton, a similarly priced, similarly luxurious hotel adjacent to the InterContinental, commanding equally dramatic waterfront views, a fully equipped gymnasium, a private beach with waiter service direct to your sun lounger, and some of the best coffee I’ve had in a rather long time.
To think I used to hunker down in hostels for a fiver a night…
I’m well aware that there are a range of much cheaper ways to enjoy Nha Trang, and I wouldn’t want you to think this is a place only for those able to afford five star luxury. Travellers have the choice of a full range of hotels. After all, this is a resort city, the key and indeed only industry being tourism, the city’s hotels, restaurants and bars stuffed to the gills daily with not only the omnipotent Western backpacker, complete with his vest, board shorts, beard, Haviana flip flops, wayfarers, tattoos and (increasingly alarmingly) greasy man buns; but also with a range of assorted Chinese and Russian tourists as well.
There are so many Russians here, in fact, that many shop signs are written entirely in Russian, and on our first night here we were presented in a restaurant with a menu translated into only Russian and not English. First world problems.
A visit to Nha Trang can take you in a range of directions, from the cheap and cheerful to the splashiest of splashing out, as is the wont of you and your credit card. This time around, my girlfriend and I have admittedly relied on the splashier end of the splashing out spectrum. We figured we might not get chance for a trip away for at least another six weeks, and thus we should treat ourselves immediately.
Last night, for example, we spent several hours in The Sailing Club, me nursing glasses of 15 year old single malt, Trang throwing back a range of mysterious shots, helping our digestive systems handle the gourmet burger and blue cheese feasts enjoyed shortly before, sat on a peaceful terrace overlooking the beach.
Today we visited a spa – confusingly named iResort, of which more later – where we took out a VIP package for two, spending several hours wallowing in our own private mud bath and swimming pool before being massaged in our own private bungalow (a massage that had nothing to do with our privates, to sidestep the inevitable joke and move swiftly on).
And shortly, we’re going to spend our last evening here in the hotel’s rooftop bar before jetting back to Hanoi tomorrow morning.
Don’t worry about us – we’re really ok.