Have you followed this whole journey from the beginning? Follow this link to find all the episodes of our Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam Cycle Tour.
Day 60– January 29th: Vạn Ninh to Nha Trang: 66kms
Covid has reared its ugly head again up north, so it was an early start today to get to Nha Trang in case we get locked down. We’d much prefer to be in Nha Trang, a larger coastal city, than in sleepy little Vạn Ninh, with its stinky waterfront.
I had no choice but to ride the highway again today, for most of the ride anyway. As I left Vạn Ninh and turned onto it, I immediately saw a banh mi stand and pulled over to get my breakfast. The young girl was pleased to see me and asked where I was from. I tell everyone that I’m from Saigon initially, as there is no Covid there. That visibly relaxes them. Then I tell them I’m from Australia and that I’ve lived here for ten years. The smiles return quite quickly!
I made good time down to Ninh Hòa with the aid of a good tailwind, then turned toward the coast, staying on the QL1A. This almost always involves crossing over another peninsula. Today was no different. As I reached the coast, the wind started gusting and swirling around, making some sections tough going. I have had to do very little riding into the wind this trip and had almost forgotten how difficult it can be. All of a sudden, my legs had to work so much harder. I stopped and finished off the rest of my banh mi. I would need the extra fuel it would provide.
The highway had been busy today, and I was glad to get a chance to get off of it. At Phạm Văn Đồng, I turned toward the coast once more and started around the peninsula just above Nha Trang. Coming this way meant adding about 8 km to the trip, but I was happy to be away from the traffic and out by myself again.
The peninsula road is a bit lumpy, but not too bad. The road itself is really good. It was wide with a new surface and very little traffic. Hugging the coastline, it had great views back to the fishing village of Vĩnh Lương and out over Nha Trang once I got toward the bottom of it.
Just above Nha Trang, you hit all the resorts. Even the skyscrapers begin way up here, a testament to the large volume of tourists who visit the white sand beaches and clear blue water. The peninsula road empties out onto a wide boulevard lined with palm trees, and I find myself back in traffic.
As I rode down the beachfront boulevard, the city’s skyline rose abruptly above me, mirroring the deep blue sky in its shiny facade of glass. The beach itself looked very inviting, although there was almost no one on it. The locals won’t swim during the middle of the day in fear of getting a suntan, and only peasants have suntans! So you can have the beach to yourself until about 5 pm before the swarm begins.
Pedaling slowly down the seafront, taking in the sights, I passed the place we had stayed at 24 years ago during our first visit to Vietnam. Boy, how the place had changed since then! I well remember Mama Hanh’s Boat Trip, floating about in tractor tubes sipping mulberry wine and the smell of weed everywhere.
Sharyn was waiting for me once again outside the Panorama Hotel, right on the esplanade. She had gotten us a really nice room that faced the beach and had a large balcony. I was very impressed. Masks and hand sanitizer were now compulsory here owing to the recent outbreak up north, but everything was still open, and everyone still seemed calm and relaxed.
Once I was showered and rested, we headed over to the nearby, very colorful Jelly Brew Pub, where Phuc, the barmaid, entertained us. They brew their own beer here, and it’s pretty good too.
After a few well-earned beers, we headed over to Nom Nom, a pizza restaurant, and got a takeaway pizza to eat in our room. The crashing of waves was very relaxing as we sat out on the balcony before bed.
Read on to find out what happened next: Surfside and Stinky Town.