Some Nha Trang Notes

Nha Trang is Vietnam’s premier beach town. It’s scenic, surrounded by mountains and islands in the sea. It’s got a sizeable population and a (perhaps poorly deserved) reputation for good nightlife. All things considered, we really liked Nha Trang (all things = bad weather). We came during the rainy season and we got what we paid for. Lots of clouds, hardly any sun, and some rain. One day at the brewpub we rented a few of their lounge chairs on the beach, but it was already clouded over.

So maybe we didn’t really “do” Nha Trang. We stayed just 4 nights, part of that’s because our room wasn’t super comfy and we ended up spending all our time in the brewpub anyway. Our hotel was a small family-run establishment called Ha Van, a typical mid-range with an LCD TV, good air-con, and some half-assed fixtures you can expect from low wage contractors. $25/night. It was an okay place for 4 nights but would not have wanted to stay much longer.
There was no nightlife to be seen, heard, or experienced. The few nightclubs around are inside hotels and I can only imagine the caliber of music they were playing based on what was pumping out of the low-grade sound systems at the backpacker bars. We probably could have gotten a tip on a fun place to go, but were working a lot at the time and knowing Josh he would have declined to go out anyway. I’m from Miami, and have pretty high standards for these things!

Never mind, the Louisiane Brewhouse was the highlight of Nha Trang. It’s a brewpub with a private stretch of sandy beach, a large swimming pool, billiards, cabanas, and on-site masseurs. With all that you’d expect some snooty or overpriced arrangement, but it’s neither nor. The service is friendly, and the pool is free to use. If you want a lounge chair on the beach it’s $1.50. House beers are 35000 dong, about $2 a pint. They don’t even carry third-party beers! Unfortunately they nail you on the brewery tour. It’s 180,000 dong ($10) per person. We didn’t take the tour.

The beer was good at Lousiane. The dunkel/dark lager is the best one—full-on lip-smacking chocolate malts and mocha. The pilsner and the seasonal “crystal” are both well hopped and session-friendly. The house character is a delicate, soft palate. They’re moreish.
Nha Trang has a mellow vibe. We expected a brash, loud, obnoxious seedy seaside town but it’s not that at all. The local vendors seemed friendlier than anywhere we had been in Vietnam before that, and we ate some decent street food including seafood grilled before our eyes. Clams on the half shell with peanuts, garlic, and chili and an order of squids. Total for both about $6. We were overcharged. Once or twice we paid the locals’ price without having to bicker–such as the ban xeo (seafood pancake) at 50 cents for 3 pancakes. Not getting ripped off is pretty remarkable in Vietnam.

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