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Vietnam Travel Diary #07: Visiting Po Nagar and eating a whole lot of Indian Food!

We had a chilled out morning and then got ready to head to Po Nagar Cham Towers. It was a really hot day, but it wasn’t quite as humid as Ho Chi Minh City, which was a relief! The walk from the apartment to the towers was about 20 minutes long and it was great to soak in the atmosphere of Nha Trang.

Nha Trang Street

Eventually we got to Po Nagar cham towers. Entry was 22,000 vnd each which is about 70p or $1. It was a really impressive site and the there were lots of people there, so I would definitely consider it one of the main tourist attractions in Nha Trang.

Po Nagar

Po Nagar

It was a really impressive site and as you can see it was surrounded with beautiful green trees. We looked around the grounds and found a gorgeous view of the river, the bridge and the fishing boats.

Nha Trang View

It was quite busy at Po Nagar, so it was nice to sit in the shade of the trees for a while and enjoy the gentle breeze and the gorgeous view! We also explored the surrounding gardens of the site.

Po Nagar Gardens

Po Nagar Gardens

After Po Nagar we went to Omar’s Indian restaurant which you can find by clicking here. I would 100% recommend this place! The restaurant was about a 15 minute taxi ride from Po Nagar. From the start of our visit we felt so well taken care of by the staff. I left my sunglasses outside by accident and our waiter found them for me and brought them in which was really nice of him. We were also brought cold flannels and these were great for us because we had been so hot outside. It was a small details but meant the world to us two overheated Brits!

We ordered the set menu which I believe was 150,000 vnd (about £4.90 or $6.40) for: papadam with chutneys, a starter of onion bhajis or samosa, a side of rice, a side of garlic or plain naan, one main course either chicken or vegetable, and a beer. It was all incredible! The beer came nice and cold and we had them in these cool golden beer mugs.

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The naans were HUGE and everything was delicious. Just be aware that it is very authentic in terms of spiciness. Even the chicken tikka masala (which is what we had) has a kick to it and is quite hot. If you prefer something milder go for a Korma or maybe a butter chicken. I would definitely recommend anything with chicken because this was some of the best chicken I’ve ever had in a curry!

Omar's Restaurant food 1

Omar's restaurant 2

We loved our meal and couldn’t believe how much food we got for 150,000 vnd, which is under a fiver in English money! I actually gave them a very similar review on TripAdvisor and their manager replied with a lovely message of gratitude. If you’re ever in Nha Trang I would definitely recommend stopping by Omar’s Indian restaurant.

We were pretty stuffed, so we decided to walk off the meal a bit and take a stroll along the coast.

Nha Trang Coast

Nha Trang buildings

We got back to the apartment and did a lot of people watching out of the window. We saw some kind of flag parade practising. There was a drummer playing a beat and a child playing a little symbol which was really sweet! It was a really interesting thing to watch. I’ve realised that people watching is one of my absolute favourite things to do!

Nha Trang Beach

Later we went down to the Vinmart to get snacks for our upcoming all day train journey the next day. Next stop… Da Nang!

To read my previous travel blog click here!

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Vietnam Travel Diary #01: Ho Chi Minh City – First Impressions

We hadn’t got much sleep on the red eye flight from Doha, despite there only being about 30 of us on the plane and having ample room to spread out (I’m serious – it was bliss). I spent the majority of the flight surfing the entertainment system; this included ‘The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants‘, which made me very happy.

The flight to Tan Son Nhat International Airport

When we stepped out of the airport and into Ho Chi Minh City it was an instant sensory overload. The humidity hit us and we were met with a whirl of noises and smells. There were people sleeping, eating and reading on their parked motorbikes, motorbikes zooming and weaving in and out of each other, the smell of petrol and heat and the constant sound of horns. It was a bustling symphony of metropolitan sounds. As we travelled into district 1 of Ho Chi Minh City in our taxi we saw motorbikes that were piled with pallets, gallons of water, piles of straw, all sorts! One man had a few tall ladders stacked on the back of his bike. The road’s were chaos, but it just… worked! It was fascinating to see the way the city flows.

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We got to our hotel and had to wait a while for the room to be done, so we dropped our bags off and went to explore some of the city. One of the first things I noticed was that we were getting a lot of looks from the locals. Not nasty or sinister stares, just a few interested looks and smiles. After just one short stroll down the pavement we had seen street vendors cooking corn and rice, Luke had been offered a shoe shine, and I had seen about six different types of fruit being pushed along the pavement in bike baskets. We popped into a 7-eleven to look for some snacks and the staff gave us a very enthusiastic ‘Xin Chào!’. There was so much to see. It was slightly overwhelming at first, but it was the best way to become acquainted with Vietnam.

Then is was time to cross the road…

If you aren’t familiar with the roads in Vietnam, you should know that there isn’t much of a strict pedestrian system in place. There are traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, but many motorists don’t stop at them. The general rule for crossing the road in Vietnam is to look left and right, and then walk at a steady and confident pace across the road. This is to allow the riders to anticipate where you are walking and let them weave around you. It’s kind of like playing frogger! It’s a trust exercise with a bunch of strangers you’ve never met and it sounds insane, but it’s weirdly exhilarating! If you’re worried about crossing, a good tip is to follow someone who looks like they know what they’re doing! Ho Chi Minh City probably had the most chaotic roads of all of the places we visited, motorbikes even mounted the pavement, so we had to be constantly alert. But it was a real rush!

In the evening we thought we would take it easy and just stroll through the city to find some dinner. Ho Chi Minh City was gorgeous at night and the culture shock that I had initially felt was slowly wearing off at this point. We headed to the ‘Saigon Centre’ which was a huge modern mall filled with all kinds of shops and restaurants.

The Saigon Centre

We walked out onto a rooftop garden in the centre and had a great view of the city. It was so alive, and watching the bustle of the city from the tranquillity of that garden was such a wonderful experience.

The Roof Garden

Ho Chi Minh City at night

Tomorrow, we thought, it’s time to explore!

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Dogs in Vietnam

As mentioned in my previous post, I recently visited Vietnam with my boyfriend and we travelled from the South to the North of the country. Throughout our travels we experienced so much and saw so many breathtaking, vibrant and surprising sights. However one thing that I really noticed was how many beautiful dogs there were in Vietnam!

This was a particularly happy ‘hotel dog’. He lay curled up behind a large flowerpot in the lobby of one of our hotels in Hoi An, and met us at the door when we came home that night! I’ll admit that he was one of the reasons I was sad to leave that hotel, that and the lovely staff!

Although I was very wary about touching or interfering with any animals in Vietnam (for reasons of safety and respect), this dog was particularly loving and amiable, and the hotel staff assured me he wouldn’t bite!

There were a particularly large number of dogs in Hoi An, and many of them could be found sitting outside the quaint shops in the ancient town. This particular doggo was doing a fabulous job of guarding an Art shop, and the beverages!

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It became clear that dogs are a much loved pet in Hoi An, and I loved seeing so many of them trundling along and lounging on the porches of their owners’ shops and homes.

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I saw this beautiful dog sitting on a shaded porch and watching the tourists and locals walking and cycling by. As a Brit who could only just about cope with the sweltering heat, I thought this dog’s choice to have a nice rest in the shade was very sensible!

After our visit to Hoi An, we travelled North to Hue on Motorbikes (which I’ll talk about in detail in another post – stay tuned!) and on our way we saw lots of dogs.

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This dog was trotting about on Monkey Mountain.

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In contrast, this serene looking dog was guarding one of the the pagodas. He sat very still, but as soon as we came closer his head perked up with so much pride and authority; he was a very good guard dog!

After travelling back down from Monkey Mountain, we headed to an incredibly tranquil spring, where two sweet dogs were lying on the sun bathed rocks and lapping at the cool water.

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We had an amazing time at this spring and the dogs were so calm and still. It’s almost as if the animals here practised Buddhism! This was definitely one of the highlights of our trips and it was lovely to meet these two dogs.

From the springs we then travelled the final stretch to Hue. Whilst exploring Hue, we saw a very excitable Pug!

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He was so excitable, in fact, that we couldn’t get a clear picture of him, just a blur of utter doggo excitement! From Hue, we travelled to Hanoi, were there were lots and lots of dogs. One of the sweetest things we saw on our trip was a litter of fluffy puppies who were playing on the side street near our hotel.

As you can see they were really tiny. One of them was so fluffy it looked like a loofa with legs! After staying in Hanoi for a short time, we travelled to Sapa for a few days. When we got there is was rainy and misty, which was a welcome relief from the heat! On our first day in Sapa we saw this gorgeous dog:

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This lovely dog had such beautiful colouring, she was wandering about in the square in Sapa and got lots of positive attention from the locals and the tourists in the area. After a brief stay in gorgeous Sapa, we travelled back to Hanoi to spend the remainder of our trip exploring the bustling city.

Vietnam was a wonderful adventure, and seeing these friendly dogs made it feel so much more homely. I actually never once saw a local shoo a dog away.

Although I’m very aware that there are people in Vietnam who do not treat dogs humanely, the majority of interactions I saw were positive. Whilst we were in Vietnam, an article about the condemnation of the consumption of dog meat in Hanoi was published on the BBC. Most of the dogs in Hanoi are pets, and it seems to me that the majority of people in Vietnam wish to treat these animals with respect, and they are trying hard to phase out the cultural ‘habit’ of consuming and selling dog meat.

With this slightly more negative point aside, it was lovely to see the positive interactions between dogs and humans in Vietnam, and how much love the locals have for their furry friends!

BONUS: Just for the cat lovers, here’s a picture of a sleepy cat in the Ancient Town of Hoi An!

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Vietnam – South to North

My boyfriend and I had the adventure of a lifetime in Vietnam this Summer. After several planes, trains and automobiles we travelled from the South in Ho Chi Minh City all the way to Sapa in the North.

Vietnam is a beautiful, friendly, vibrant country filled with breathtaking scenery, delicious food and incredible history & architecture.

I’m planning on writing a many different posts about the trip. For now, here are a few of our highlights.

Enjoy!