So far, Nha Trang has been my favorite city to travel to in Vietnam! I’ve met some really awesome people, had so much fun at the beach, and gotten to practice my Russian daily. Кстати, если ты говоришь по-русски, вам нужно сюда ехать! Можете говорить по-русски везде. Also, I’ve gotten to stay at an amazing hostel, which has been one of the coolest experiences of my life (even if the internet does suck). More than anything though, it’s been the new friends that I’ve made here that have made Nha Trang so special.
Making New Friends
I think that I got awfully lucky to get to travel to Vietnam, and to have met my new Vietnamese friends. I was sitting on a bench, dusting the sand off my feet. I was seconds from leaving when Tran and Thao came up to me and introduced themselves. They told me that they needed to interview foreigners as part of a university project, and they asked me to talk about life in New York.
I told them that it’s true, Americans love pizza and hamburgers, and that I was having a really good time travelling in Vietnam. What was supposed to be just a simple interview though ended up being so much more. After talking to them for fifteen minutes they invited me to go with them for food. We exchanged contact information (Facebook since I haven’t bought a Vietnamese SIM card) and that was that.
I think we ended up hanging out three times in all, and each time was a blast. I got to discover some awesome new things to do in Nha Trang that I never would have known about otherwise. I also got to learn a lot about Vietnamese culture, as I grilled my friends about it just as much as they grilled me about American culture.
So while I feel lucky to have gotten to meet this awesome group of people, I don’t think it’s totally an accident. After a lot of Vietnam travel, I’ve discovered that Vietnamese people are very open and welcoming. Earlier, I recorded a video where I talked about the Ukrainian culture, and how every single house has a gate on it and nobody talks to their neighbors. Vietnam is 180 degrees opposite. Entire families have dinner on the sidewalk and people are comfortable being close to one another.
Eating street food is a great testament to that. We have nothing like it in America. Imagine a small restaurant, set up directly on the sidewalk, with one person cooking food on a portable burner. The table is small and the stools are the size of a squared football (soccer ball). I suppose I haven’t taken any pictures yet because it’s such a ubiquitous part of the landscape here that it would seem like taking a picture of McDonald’s in America.
While Vietnamese people are open, they don’t like to dance. My friends have all told me this, and I’ve experienced it directly. One of my fresher memories is going to a club with a girl from my hostel. She had to physically drag the locals to the dance floor to join us. Thankfully she was great at it and in fifteen minutes she had a whole group of people having fun and forgetting about feeling silly for dancing. If you’re going to Vietnam to travel though, don’t expect lot’s of dancing, expect delicious street food instead.
Hanging out in Nha Trang
So far Nha Trang has been my favorite city in Vietnam. Since I’ve already visited Hanoi and Da Nang, that means it has beat out two other places for the honor. It’s not that there are loads of things to do in Nha Trang, but what there is to do is awesome for me. I love the beach! I go swimming every morning and I’ve picked up a nice tan in the process.
Also, while the massive Russian influx here might bother other people, I love it! It’s really great to be able to practice my second language at any bar or club. I wonder if people who study English as a second language ever take it for granted that they can practice it anywhere? Well if you study Russian, it’s really freaking exciting when you find a town in Vietnam where any random person at the bar has a 50% chance of being Russian.
As for attractions, my favorite so far has been the sleeping Buddha. This large statue is impressive to look at, and if you rub the Buddha’s elbow then rub your hand on your head, it brings you good luck. Of course I did it, but I don’t know how much luckier I could get. I get to travel in Vietnam, meet awesome people, swim in the ocean, get tan, practice my Russian, and get paid to write! That’s a pretty good deal in my book.
If you want to learn more about how I make money online and how I’m supporting myself on this crazy Asian journey, definitely check out a useful guide I wrote about making money online. Or if you want to see even more pictures from Vietnam, you can check out my photo gallery. I love everything I’ve experienced travelling in Vietnam so far, and I really hope that you make the choice to come here too.