March 14, 2012 – Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang is a coastal resort which has experienced a growth spurt in the past few years due to increased tourism, both from cruise ships and as a “fly in” destination from Europe, primarily from Russia with several direct flights each day from Moscow. Nha Trang looks as if it was a small fishing village, blessed with beautiful beaches and scenic mountains as a backdrop, which has become a vacation destination.
This being our first visit to Vietnam, I was very curious as to what we would encounter in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (which is the official name). There were a few signs of “workers” propaganda and the government buildings were distinctive in size, color (always yellow & red), and security, but otherwise it was like any other country we have visited – vendors, taxis, busses, and tourist sites. The officials who “cleared” the passengers upon arrival were Vietnamese Army personnel with their distinctive green uniforms with yellow & red trim.
After clearance, we engaged a driver and van for the day and took off on our tour with our guide/driver Lam.
After touring the local sites, we headed to the countryside, to visit a place called the Owl House, which was preparing for the influx of tourists soon to arrive by bus. They served tea and had a fascinating collection of carved furniture.
We next headed to a cable car which carried us to Vinpearl, an island resort about a mile across the harbor.
Vinpearl is a private amusement park, hotel, and golf course – it was new and obviously a first class facility. It raised the question in my mind as to how business works in this country as a socialist country. Does the government own everything, or what? What is the relationship between private enterprise and the government? Something for me to research in the future!
The cable car ride offered some interesting photo opportunities. The cable car passed directly over our ship as it was docked at the pier. Also we saw a familiar ship in the harbor – The Legend of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship which we have cruised on three times. Wonder what route she is on now?