Vietnam has an extensive coastline, more than 3,000 kilometres, and not unnaturally as the number of visitors wanting a holiday in Vietnam increases, coastal resorts have developed to take advantage of the beautiful seas and sandy beaches. Vietnam covers many degrees of latitude and as a result there are different seasons. There are two monsoons but that does not mean constant rain. There is plenty of opportunity to enjoy sunshine and where better to do that than at the beach? Travelling in Vietnam offers huge variety and the coast makes a relaxing break from the many treasures inland; cultural, religious and historical experiences. One of the places that has become popular with local Vietnamese as well as overseas tourists is Nha Trang in the South East of Vietnam, a great place for divingand with a stunning stretch of sand.
Away from the beach there is the chance for some really fresh seafood as well as shopping opportunities. When it comes to shopping in Nha Trang, one of the highlights is the local market, Dam Market on three storeys. It opens very early each morning, 0400, because part of the market is selling the fresh produce restaurants need each day for their customers. The meat and fish stalls are towards the back, there is a dry seafood section as well as fresh local fruit and vegetables. If you are looking for clothes or souvenirs you will find them as well in the front and middle sections.
There are plenty of small shops in Nha Trang with souvenirs on sale and street markets elsewhere. The town is becoming increasingly popular and as a result there is now a shopping mall called the Nha Trang Centre which includes fashion boutiques as well as restaurants, cafes and entertainment. It is close to the beach and has plenty of things that are popular tourists, including many international brands.
Elsewhere in Nha Trang, keep an eye open for:
• XQ Hand Embroidery if you are interested in silk. Its design makes it look more like a house in a village than a shop. It even has a nice courtyard. You can wander around to look at embroidered goods; flowers, animals and landscape pictures. If you like, get your portrait embroidered.
• Maximarket Supermarket close to the Cathedral will remind western visitors of home. There is plenty of imported food but if you are enjoying a tour in Vietnam you may certainly be enjoying the local cuisine. There is also clothing on sale and arcade games on the top floor.
• If you are interested in art, Artful Collection owned by a French photographer is the place for you. You can buy from a huge range of Vietnam photographs, some limited editions. Thiery Beyne, the owner, is happy to talk to anyone who walks in about every region of Vietnam where he has taken his shots.
• The Bambou Company is French -run; a high-quality fashion shop with branches through the country and neighbouring Cambodia. There are many eco-friendly products using bamboo, beech and eucalyptus.
There are more places to explore if you can drag yourself away from the beach. It’s worth a little of your time.