I tried my best to avoid going to Nha Trang as i knew it was basically a huge tourist resort, much like Phuket in Thailand. Unfortunately my next stop Dalat was an 8-9 hour bus ride from Quy Nhon, my current location. As I was not prepared to do this i had to bus it down to Nha Trang 4 hours away to get nearer to Dalat. It was as i feared, a massive amount of tourists, bars, restaurants, menus and signs in Russian.
The beaches are actually great and Nha Trang is also known for its scuba diving, but it just wasn’t for me. Too many tourists, too many t-shirt shops, too many ticket booths selling rides to here, there and everywhere. I stayed for a day but then got my bus for Dalat, a town up in the hills known for its cool climate and green fields.
After the great day on the motorbike i decided to do another longer motorbike tour, this one took me from Hoi An into the highlands for a 4 day tour. We travelled into the countryside away from the big towns and saw the real Vietnam. We visited some minority group villages and saw their daily struggle growing their own food and working on the land just to get by. It is definetly the best way to see rural Vietnam, on the back of a bike with a guide showing you the highlights. My guide told me lots of facts about the country, the people, the culture, what they eat, etc,etc.
One day he told me how they now eat moles (along with everything else!) and the next day we drove past a parked motor cycle and he quickly stopped and shouted ‘mole catchers!’ He knew how they caught the moles but had never seen it but as soon as he saw the bike with a large plastic container and a couple of shovels he knew what they were up to. They drive along the roadside looking for a particular type of plant like a tall reed, if it has just started to go from green to yellow then it has just started to die which means the roots have been eaten within the last hour. How they manage to spot this amongst all the vegetation is beyond me but as they had already caught 6 moles that day they were clearly good at it ! When they’ve found a plant that has just turned colour they start digging, when they find the tunnel they fill it with water and if bubbles come up then the mole is still there. They dig more frantically until they find the mole and voila a Vietnamese mole worth 20 dollars a kilo !! –
By the third day i must admit to being a little saddle sore so was glad to get off the bike on the 4th day !! I was dropped off in a town called Quy Nhon north of Nha Trang. It was very much a locals town as there were very few tourists and you soon realise you are being spotted and stand out like a sore thumb amongst the locals. It had a great long beach which seemed very clean, surprisingly empty when i went there, the locals only go at either 5 o’clock in the morning or 5 o’clock in the evening to avoid the heat. I only stayed for a couple of nights as there wasn’t too much to see as a tourist.