Thursday, March 18, 2010

Relaxing in the city of What Your Name?

The best recommendation someone can give a place is the phrase, "we were only going to spend one night but we ended up spending two." So when we were on our Ha Long Bay cruise and one of the Australian guys (who I thought was gay, but Jaimee didn't) used that phrase referring to the town of Quy Nhon in South Central Vietnam coast, we were intrigued. The town wasn't in our Budget Rough Guide to Southeast Asia but we wrote down the information about the town and hotel and decided to check it out. We've found that first-person recommendations are usually the best way to find cool and interesting places.

Of course, this is Vietnam, so it wasn't exactly easy to get here. As we mentioned last time, we'd decided to take the train instead of the bus and we had our difficult to purchase "Hard Sleep Air-Con Level 3" tickets. When we boarded the train we realized what this meant: the upper bunk of a three person bunk bed. The sleeper cars have no seats, just the bunks and if you're in the upper bunk you have about 15 inches of headroom. Just getting into the bunk was a struggle. (We were so traumatized when we saw the bunks that we forgot to take a photo of it, but we'll try and get one when we're on the train next. Update: it's not the best picture as it was hard to get because there were people milling around everywhere, but I tried to secretly snap a picture of the three level bunks.) It was not the ideal situation for a 21 hour ride. We tried to make the best of it and got up periodically to walk around.

Overall, the ride wasn't that comfortable but we made it to Quy Nhon only an hour late. We checked into the hotel recommended by the Australian and found our best hotel room yet: a huge room (it has a desk and two dressers), a bathtub, TV with HBO, air conditioning and a mini-fridge. All for just $10 a night!

The town itself is pretty low-key and laid back, especially compared to Hanoi or Hue. We took this photo in the middle of the day and were able to capture the street with NO motorcycles:
There is a beach here, but it's not exactly a beach for sunbathing or swimming. It's more of a launching point for these strange pod-like fishing boats.
The food here was incredibly cheap and quite tasty. We found this vegetarian place where we had steaming bowls of Pho for about 60 cents each. Also the people are super friendly. The lady at the store across the street from our hotel has a daughter who lives in San Antonio and she talked to us all about where we were going (and had been) in Vietnam. And the children here all yell "Hello" or "What your name?" even if flying by on the back of a motorcycle. A few times we stopped to try and have longer conversations with the kids but they didn't seem to know much more English than those phrases.

It's been a nice couple days here. Tomorrow we take the day train to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). It's supposed to take 11 hours, leaving at 9AM. We'll hang there until our flight to India on Tuesday. Speaking of India, we booked a couchsurfing host for when we arrive in Chennai. We're excited about that as we love staying with a local when we first arrive in a place. Our host is actually an American who's a teacher in Chennai.

1 comment:

  1. This town is in our guide, and I've been looking at it for a few weeks wondering if we should stop's now on the itinerary. Sounds like a perfect, quiet stopover on the way down the country. Thanks!!


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