Saturday, 10 June 2017

Cycle Saigon to Hanoi with EXPLORE! Nah Tang, beaches and Quy Nhon.

We had a day off from Cycling in Nha Trang and in our 'Trip Notes' it said that we would be having a boat trip to three tropical islands.

Nha Trang itself was a great place; full of Russian but still OK!

It was a very well developed tourist resort, with streets of tacky souvenir shops, massage bars and places to eat. But it had a good holiday vibe and a long sandy beach. it is also close to the Vinpearl Amusment Park, you get to it via a long cable car - over 3KM long- or speedboat and on the island there are beaches, a water park.
As part of the tour we were going to islands where there was snorkelling, so at the harbour most of the group hired the masks and snorkels. We went on one of the large speedboats and in a short while arrived at a island. We were all a bit surprised when Hoan told us to pay to get on the island as this was not in the trip notes given by EXPLORE! and we had already forked out money for tips at the beginning of the trip.  I asked if we would have to pay at all of the islands and Hoan said we were only vising this island as the other islands had been turned into private resorts. When I said I was not very happy with that Hoan was quite dismissive advised me that EXPLORE! was not up to date with developments in Nha Trang and walked off.

Nha Trang traffic,


The island we were on was horrid, a pebble beach, rock hard sun beds, music and karaoke blaring out at a deafening level, rubbish piled up and one small expensive shop to get lunch / ice creams etc. Seriously,  it was like a prison island, and in this instance photos do lie as it looks good from the photos! But worse was yet to come, members of the group went snorkelling to find it was  none existent. Hoan gave some feeble excuse about the snorkelling part being closed to preserve the coral and that he was unaware of this fact when he advised people to get the masks and snorkels.
It was such a disaster that one of the group emailed the EXPLORE! team in the UK with the photos and asking about the charge to get on the island.
EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang

EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang

EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang

EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang


EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang
EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang

EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang


Hoans communication skills also failed at this point as most people got lunch at the small shop, then Hoan announced that we were going to a floating seafood restaurant for lunch. Whilst on this floating platform Hoan got a message from EXPLORE! regarding the extra charges and changes to the itinerary, to say he was not happy was an understatement.
As a group we told him we wanted to go back to Nha Trang so after lunch and that was what we did and spent a relaxing afternoon on the long sandy beach at Nah Trang on padded sunbeds.





This part of the trip really was a disaster, the resort of Nah Trang is so well developed there are many activities to do, EXPLORE! should just leave this as a free day, the trip to the island we went to was an absolute waste of time. On both nights we ate at the Louisiana Brewhouse, good location, good food and great beer.

The next day we cycled from the hotel and along the beach front of Nha Trang then past fishing villages, after 30KM we had a lunch stop where we could swim if we wanted to. 
Then the bust took us over the Ca Pass, following that we did the last 30 KM into the town of Quy Nhon on the bikes. Although it was late when we arrived I swam in the sea as our hotel the Seagull Hotel was located on the beach.


EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Busy Roads

EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang
EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang


The following day we cycled from the hotel, along the very nice beach at Quy Nhon and over a long sea bridge, the Thi Nai Bridge, then along a very windy stretch of coastline although we only did 59 KM it was hard going with the wind in our faces. We did pass lots of villages, where the children came out to see us. Also we saw lots of local life. It was a really good experience and not one I think you would get on a traditional tour of Vietnam.
EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang
EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang

EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang


EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang
EXPLORE! Cycle Saigon to Hanoi- Nah Trang
The bus then took us to Hoi An bus station, at this point we then had to swap the large bus for a small mini bus as only smaller vehicles can go over the Hoi An bridges and oan advised us we would be keeping this bus for the rest of out tour. Tonight we were in the Van Lol Hotel. As with all the accommodation on this trip it was good quality, clean and had a swimming pool.