Bridge the Travel Gap

A City with 2 names and a Beach – Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang

‘People cry, not because they’re weak.  It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.’

Nha Trang Dragon Bridge

Nha Trang Dragon Bridge – shoots out fire and water

What a week!  Fire and water shooting dragon bridge, a beach with the locals, and a city steeped in the last centuries’ wars.

On our drive to the train that would take us to Nha Trang, I was keen to make one quick stop to see the new bridge which breathes fire and water – it’s so cool.  They have the show on Saturday and Sunday evenings for about 20 minutes in Da Nang  (Be sure to check out my video blog for May to see the action!)

An Overnight train later, we arrived in NhaTrang – a beach resort area.  We wanted to not be in the ‘downtown’, so we went to the second bay in the area where there are mostly locals and Russian tourists.  It was great to be out a bit from the main tourist area to just relax and catch up on travel fatigue.

Nha Trang Beach

Nha Trang Beach

Nha Trang Beach

The Rocks – Nha Trang Beach

It’s a beautiful beach with locals only coming out in the evening.  There is lots to do here – mud baths, islands and temples, but we decided the beach was enough for us.

Then, a day travel to Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon.  This is mostly a modern city with a few older buildings still intact, like the main post office,

Post Office

Post Office

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

and temples.

Oldest Temple

Oldest Temple in Saigon

A lot of the older buildings have either been lost in the Wars or modern development – seems they make more money tearing them down rather than preserving them – it’s the same the world over.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City at night


Alter to 1963 monk

This is the city where the monk in 1963 set himself on fire and the last helicopter left for America with a que of people which was much longer than what they could carry – 2 very famous black and white photos from this time can be found on Google (or through the links above.)


This is the building where the helicopter landed.

One experience we had here was at a restaurant called ‘Noir’.  It’s where you eat in the dark while being served by blind waiters/waitresses.  A really great experience and not one I can show any pictures of – sadly.

Ao Dai

Ao Dai – traditional dress, which I had made for me and worn to ‘Noir’ Restaurant

This marks the end of our time in Vietnam, as we head to Cambodia.  I’ve learned so much about that notorious Vietnam War and seen a country and people of great strength, friendliness and a quick smile.  I’m so glad we came and hope we’ll be back soon!

What country/city has surprised you the most in your travels?

XO Tour

XO Tour through Saigon on moped




0 thoughts on “A City with 2 names and a Beach – Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang

    1. Debbie Bridge

      Hi Sketchpackers!

      I would definitely go back and work out some sort of cruise on the Mekong river either from or to Cambodia to Ho Chin Minh City.

      The most compelling parts were seeing those iconic photos from the Vietnam War in reality. If you don’t know the 2 I’m meaning, do look them up. It was really, a huge shock when in the West they saw the monk burning himself – first of its kind. Really brought home what modern War was – not like today where these images are everywhere and easily found. Also, understanding what it was like, in the second image for those that didn’t make it onto that last helicopter out. Most likely they were all killed. These were ordinary Vietnamese office workers who had worked in the U.S. Embassy and were guaranteed an exit that they couldn’t get, due to the fact the new regime came in the next day and there were no more helicopters to come and pick them up. Apparently they waited on the roof, but they never came. My time here was not as long as in other parts of Vietnam, so I feel I have barely scratched the surface of what this city has to offer.

      1. Sketchpacker

        Gosh, my generation honestly have no idea of the pain and shock that the Vietnam War (and others at that time) caused people across the world. Conflict of monstrous and disgusting proportion is so widespread and even normalised (I’m thinking movies and video games) nowadays isn’t it?

        1. Debbie Bridge

          I would definately say it’s more accessible, but not as bad as the Roman period where you had live killings for entertainment, as least not in Western cultures.

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