20.04.2008 - 20.04.2008 86 °F
We had the Hanh Cafe open tour and booked the next leg to NT. Up at 6:00am to clean up, pack and walk over to the Pacific Hotel. Had BF at the small Pacific Hotel restaurant, basic omelet/bread/tea BF all hotels seem to offer. The bus was 1/2 late leaving and was not the best bus I have been on, but it got us there. Sinh Cafe just has better buses on most routes. Next time I will use Sinh Cafe open tour and walk or take a moto to a cheaper hotel. It seems you always circle around the lake before heading out of town and this happened again. DaLat really is a pretty city, so you don't mind another view of the lake. It is a very steep drop from DaLat to NT and slow going. The bus has to stay in a lower gear or the brakes would burn out. We stop once for a smoke break I guess, just 10 minutes, then about noon we have our lunch break. Every company has its place to stop, kickbacks would probably explain why they choose one over another. Basic choices at OK prices, but I usually pass. Not really hungry and we will be in NT in a few hours. The Hahn open tour stops on Hung Vuong St. at the appropriately named 'Hanh Cafe Hotel'. Just a typical hotel on a busy street. We pass and the guy drops his price from $8/nite to $7. A taxi is right there to take the four of us to the 62 Tran Phu Hotel, located oddly enough at 62 Tran Phu St. I have stayed there before and recognize the front desk lady, 'Hanh'. I have a photo of her in my gallery and below. I like the location, beach right across the street and the rooms in the rear are quiet. But, they have upgraded all their rooms to air con and are more expensive than we want to pay, $12/nite. My friends walk away to look elsewhere. I decide to stay one nite out of loyality, but will look for a better option. My friends pick the Blue Star Hotel, just around the corner on Biet Thu St. Good location, a/c, cable TV, $8/nite.
After getting unpacked, we all meet an hour later to walk around NT. Laundry is cheaper on the street than in your hotel, so I drop mine off where I see 12,000VND per kilo sign. We then walked out to the main NT beach, across from Biet Thu St. Price the beach beds, too high really, and walk the beach, down to the Sailing Club. Too expensive for our dinner budget, but will come back later for drinks/pool. We walk the beach for some exercise, then back to our hotels. A shower, bit of TV and over to the Blue Star at 6:00pm to meet for dinner. I like Cafe Des Amis, right across the street from The Blue Star. I ate there many times on previous trips and they agree to give it a try. Des Amis have veggie choices, sidewalk tables, good food at decent prices. A good dinner for 20,000VND is a real deal in '08. Meat dishes are more of course, but still a bargain. The only downside that I can see is that if you use the sidewalk tables, you get plenty of vendors pestering you. A steady stream of sellers hit us up to buy: books, postcards, cigarettes, candy, paintings, etc. Be firm with your "NO!" or sit inside. After dinner we walked down to the beach and end up at the Sailing Club. A few ladies of questionable morals make "R" and I offers we both could turn down. It did not seem to matter that "H" was with us, they still made their pitch. One continued to chat us up all the way there. She even invited herself to our table, sat down and proceeded to order a drink. That is taking chutzpah to a new level. We told this 'lady' to bugger off in very plain language. She still did not leave until "H" told our waitress that we were not paying for her drink. The price of a SC drink got her moving. We figured she would be waiting for us on the beachwalk, so we took our time enjoying the SC atmosphere and the view. Hard to beat gazing at the ocean from your table and having a nice breeze cool you off. Yes, the drinks are more expensive than at other places, but what a location. We signed up for the pool table and waited our turn. 40 minutes later we were still not up, so we headed back to our hotel and called it a night. Good introduction to NT and "R", "V" & "H" were happy we were there. Some beach shots, "eating street" and local ladies below.