Nha Trang: Russkies, Beaches, Open Air Gym’s, and Blind Four Hand Massages

We were getting a little ansty with Saigon after a few days and wanted to see more of Vietnam, with not many plans we decided to take a cheap flight to Nha Trang, versus a hellish 10+ hour bus ride. Nha Trang is a small town beach destination located along the central coast, and while it doesn’t hold a candle to the beaches of Southern Thailand, it certainly does the trick. Since it was along our intended path moving North, and there was a cheap flight it made the most sense to make it happen. The weather forecast was iffy, and we knew the central coast during this time of year tends to be more on the rainy side, but we wanted to get out of dodge, so we took a chance.

Our cab driver from the guesthouse met us at the airport and provided the most sane cab ride I’ve had in all of my travels SE Asia, so much so that I considered hiring him to be our personal driver throughout Vietnam. Upon arriving in Nha Trang proper, it was immediately apparent that this is a very big Russian tourist spot, as all of the signs are in English, Vietnamese, and Russian.

After 2-3 weeks of eating/drinking we decided to get our GTL on. We spent a few hours at the beach and then took a trip to a local gym. The gym was an open-air gym with equipment that looked like it came from the 70’s, and half of the men in the gym were lifting without shirts on. (I really wish I brought my camera to snap a picture) We were the only two white people there, and definitely drew our fare share of stares. Per Vietnam customs, it’s also tradition to take your shoes off, we were allowed to keep ours on though. I decided to take my shoes off, for what would be my final workout of the day, and ended up pulling a muscle in my lower back.

On our way back home I was hassled by a woman with a flyer for a blind massage. Completely intrigued and in immense pain I decided to go for it. It was $10 after all, for a FOUR HAND HOT STONE MASSAGE! I waited in the room for the masseuses to come into the room, and had what was the most awkward massage of my life. I had to lead both of them into the room and guide them to the massage table, where I then jumped on the table, the massage commenced. It was a man and a woman, and the woman didn’t speak any English, while the man spoke limited English, but continued to ask me questions for the duration of the massage. In fact I think he asked where I was from 4-5 times.  In order for them to tell how far along they were in the massage in terms of time, the man would reach into his pocket and press a button on an electronic device that would blurt out this gibberish robotic noise that I couldn’t understand. At the end of the day, I’m not sure if it immediately helped, but a few days later after some continued tiger balm treatment I felt better. Regardless, that was an experience I’ll never forget, and never re-create.

Blind Massage
Blind Massage

We didn’t end up staying in Nha Trang long, only 2 days if I remember correctly, as the weather forecast looked pretty murky for the next week. So instead of taking another 10+ hour sleeper bus to Hoi An with a bum back, we decided to fly to Hanoi and follow the sun.

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