Things To Do In Nha Trang Vietnam Blog

Anything and everything to do with Nha Trang Vietnam from massage, mud baths, local street food, accommodation and lots more.

Getting clothes made in Nha Trang, Vietnam

The Tailors are called Khanh Trang. They are located at 9 Nguyen Hong Son, Nha Trang. Phone number is 0583824990 or 0905796075.

I decided I needed some new clothes. Sometimes it is a little hard to buy clothes that I like that fit me. I decided to give the tailors a go. A friend recommended a tailor to me.

I went off with her to some fabric shops and we bought material.

We went to the tailors. This shop is at the back of Cho Dam Market. Either side of the shop is ladies who sell fresh chickens. I just had pictures from the internet on my IPad.

tailors shop chicken sellers

chickens for sale

This is a husband and wife team. They have been married for 17 years and have had this tailor shop for 16 years. Chau (the husband) has been tailoring for 30 years and Trang (the wife) has been tailoring for 25 years. He is the cutter and designer and she is the seamstress.  They have a 17 year old girl who is at high school and she wants to be a teacher.

tailors

Together they make a great team.

They employ a couple of other ladies when the work warrants it. They sew with the old treadle machine but the work is as good as you will get anywhere. Their main customer’s are Vietnamese with a few foreigners and the main items they make are T-Shirts and pants however Trang likes making vests and trousers.

team sewing machine

  tailors shop

I would highly recommend this tailor. The prices were good. Dresses, shirts and trousers were 150 000VND – 200 000VND each. It took 10 days to get 9 pieces of clothing made.

I am a very happy camper and will be going back here again.

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Teachers Day 20-11-15 Nha Trang, Vietnam

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I teach English to a wonderful variety of people.

I have had a gentleman come and play the violin for me in appreciation of his lessons but recently it was Teacher’s day. Teacher’s day is on the 20th of November and it is obviously taken very seriously. I was thoroughly spoilt.

flowers flowers

wine picture

I was given many bunches of flowers, wine, a beautiful picture painted for me, journals and taken out to lunch. When I was taken out to lunch I even received a cake with “Happy Teachers Day” on it.

cake students

 journal

 

It says a lot for the country when its people value so highly their teachers. Learning English can have a very real impact on a person’s life in Vietnam. They have access to better jobs, can communicate more and potentially earn more. The thirst for knowledge is amazing. I have many wonderful students who I am very happy to teach.

 

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Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for October at Tu Bong

Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for October at Tu Bong

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What a fantastic Sunday morning . It was charity for Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa for October. Unfortunately the boss still has a sore back so it was a girls trip. (Sorry Steve Brown it will get better soon)
We went to Tu Bong. This beautiful little town is a little more than an hour away now that the road is fixed (what a difference).

We have been many times to this wonderful place. The orphanage is capable of housing many children but still has under twenty.

tind tini

At the moment they have 3 babies which takes up a lot of their resources. One baby is 12 months old and he has physical and mental disabilities. A female baby is one month old and she has a reasonably severe cleft palate and the other male baby who is two months old doesn't have any disabilities.

tina tinh tinb tink

There were three other children at the orphanage with the rest off doing chores. We took up lots of special baby formula for the babies and nappies, milk for the other children and a carton of condensed milk. Of course there may have been one packet of lollies.

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Samantha Cherry and Shane gave us some money to buy some extra milk and unfortunately couldn't come with us. Nguyễn Nhung also came up with some of her friends for a quick visit and bought some oil, milk and soy sauce.
It was wet to start with but the weather was beautiful by mid morning.

The staff and I had a wonderful time feeding the babies playing with the children and looking around. They are growing so many fruits and vegetables. We had some of their home grown bananas which were delicious. The okra looks about ready to harvest. Someone has a very green thumb.

tinf tinc tine ting


I would like to thank the wonderful staff who came Dung Vo Thùy Dung Minh Hiền and Nhung and her friends for coming. It was a very special day.

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Weather in Nha Trang

Weather in Nha Trang

 

When tourists come to Nha Trang, they always think of the weather first, however, they don’t have to be concerned, because the weather in Nha Trang is the most beautiful in Vietnam. Even though there are distinct seasons in Saigon and Hanoi in Nha Trang it can get a little cooler but still T shirt weather. At night you may need a light jumper. Some of the locals wear jumpers because for them 20 degrees is very cold. The maximum temperatures are around 26 - 27°C now, summer is hot and autumn is magnificent.  Whilst there is a rainy season we may get a few days of rain but normally it clears quickly and you will have beautiful sunshine.

The best time to travel Nha Trang is from July to September. This is the time that Nha Trang has wonderful sunshine and it doesn’t have the afternoon storms that comes from the North. Thanks to the geography of Nha Trang, which is surrounded by many islands and mountains, it doesn’t have the big storms like in Sai Gon or the Middle Part of Vietnam. Sai Gon and Hanoi have a tendency to flood yet Nha Trang quickly drains away the water.  If you are tourist and this is the first time you visit here, then it is suggested that you come during August, this is the Peak Season in Nha Trang. The weather is magnificent. The downside to visiting during this time is all the people you are sharing your experience with. If you visit Nha Trang from January to June, this is the Dry Season. The weather is crisp and airy while you need to bring umbrella or rain coat in November and December. Sometimes during Christmas, the weather will be a little bit colder than any other time.

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Bird Singing Competition in Nha Trang

Bird Singing Competition in Nha Trang

There seems to be a group of men (only men no ladies) gather every weekend in the park opposite my spa for a bird singing competition.


Many coffee shops around Nha Trang have birds in cages singing. You see men riding around on their motorbikes with cages protectively carried in their hands. This is serious business.

I have heard that winning at competition is the goal for breeders turning regular trainers into overnight celebrities in this small bird community. With glory and fame at stake, owners take great pains to train birds in both song and behavior. With birds facing off in a series of "matches" to determine the eventual victor, competition is tough and quite often is only determined by how well they carry themselves inside the cage.


There are three differing varieties of these singing birds: green, yellow and brown. They are all small and have shrill voices, but it is the green variety that is prized by purists of the ancient pastime.

Apparently the green varieties have a voice that is clearer and more able to hit the high notes for longer periods of time without breaks. Not bad for a bird that weighs in at measly 15 grams. This is why the green birds are regarded as the gram for gram bird singing champ.

The browns and yellows on the other hand have difficulty singing as clearly and can’t hit the high and low notes that the greens bash out consistently.

I'm unsure if there is an actual monetry prize for the winner of this competition but clearly it is serous business as they sit on their chairs for hours waiting for the eventual winner.


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Banh Cuon Lady

Every morning I wake up and ask myself:” What am I going to have for breakfast today?”

In Vietnam there are a lot of things that you can have for breakfast such as Banh My, Bun Bo, Banh Can… What my family likes the most (especially my grandmother) is Banh Cuon – a dish that originates from Hanoi.  The lady, who has sold Banh Cuon for 1.5 years near Vinh Hai Market, is where my family always buys it from.

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Her hometown is Ninh Hoa which is 1 hour by bus from Nha Trang. She moved to Nha Trang in 2003. Since then, she has worked as a waitress in many different Foreigners’ restaurant in Nha Trang. She got married in 2009 and now has 2 children. When she had her baby, she decided to stay at home to take care of her husband and did not go to work. While her child is growing up, she thinks she needs to work to support the family with her husband. There are many bills that they have to pay every month. Then, she decided to open a Banh  Cuon stall.

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At the beginning, she worked alone by herself without any help. But gradually, many people liked her Banh cuon and came to her place more and more. She asked her sister to help her. Her sister helps her to clean the dishes and serve the customers and give the change as well.  She is responsible for making the Banh Cuon.

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Making Banh Cuon is very hard. To make a dish of Banh Cuon is a long process. You have to prepare some of the ingredients the day before, such as fried onion, pickle, the wood ear mushroom with pork… The sauce you have to make on the day, you can not do too early or too late, everyone is very particular about the sauce and it needs to be fresh… This is the reason that she has to wake up early in the morning to prepare the sauce at 3:30am. Her house is not too far from where she sells Banh Cuon, but she goes to there at 4: 30 to get ready to serve people. She finishes at about 10:30 am every day. She stays at home to take a rest and take care of her family in the afternoon and prepare all the ingredients that she need for tomorrow in the evening from 6pm to 9pm. Each day, she can sell approximately 4 -5 kg. That is a huge amount with Banh Cuon. Every time I have been there, I have had to wait for a couple minutes. But that’s doesn’t bother me.

She saw me one day come to her place with a foreigner and she said to me :” I really  want to study English but the condition is not good enough for me to study”. I think that is what she wants to do right now.

 

 

 

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Visiting Chua Phap Vien Thanh Son and Banh Uot for breakfast

 

Went on a little trip on Sunday with a few of my friends.

We went to Chua Phap Vien Thanh Son. A Temple outside of Nha Trang set in magnificent farmland. It took around 50 minitues to get there on motorbikes.  

 

We stopped off for Bánh ướt (literally "wet cakes"). A lady spreads a rice mix over a thin membrane of some kind of cloth. This cloth has boiling water coming through it and she puts a lid on top. Waits maybe 2 minutes and with a ladle scoops the rice noodle sheet off the steaming cloth and places it on a plate with fried shallots and we had some beans on top. This has a side of Cha Lua (Vietnamese Pork Sausage) and nuoc cham sauce and shredded green mango. We paid the princely sum of 3 000 VND per plate. This lady sits beside this steaming pot scooping rice sheets of for hours. We consumed quite a few plates between us though. It seems like a hard way to make money however it is delicious.

Back off we went. Eventually we came across the temple after traveling on poorer and poorer roads. It is an amazing site to turn the corner and suddenly at the end of this dirt road you are there.

This Pagoda is quite extensive. It is on a hillside and has many levels to it. The wooden carvings, stone statues and gardens certainly show a flair for the beautiful with lovely gardens thrown in.

There were 2 peacocks as well as lots of fish in the ponds. The peacocks were putting on quite a display.

It seems to have a bit of a mix of Hindu with Buddism. I have heard this Pagoda referred to as the French Pagoda. I believe it was started in 2006. I don’t know a lot more about it.

 

The surrounding countryside is spectacular from the Pagoda. Rice crops, a duck farm, fruit trees are all visible. Unfortunately there was quite a haze so the photos are not as good as they could have been.

 

It was a great morning out riding and getting to see the countryside with the bonus of a beautiful Pagoda.

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Pork seller at Vin Hai Markets in Nha Trang, Vietnam

Pork seller at Vin Hai Markets in Nha Trang, Vietnam

 

One of my Vietnamese friends has given us an insight into local life and her daily shopping at the markets. My friend is a University student whose mother has passed away and she buys food for her Father, Sister, Uncle and Grandmother who all live at her home.

Every morning, I go to market to buy the food for my family. It is my habit to the same kiosk to buy the food I need for my family. This is the woman that my family always buys pork from. She has been selling here in the markets for nearly 15 years. She comes from Bac Giang – one of the provinces in the North of Vietnam. She came to Nha Trang with her family and got married to a man from Nha Trang. She lives here with her family.

Every day, she wakes up at 3:30am to pick up the pork from the wholesale market. She sell about 50 kg of pork each day, which includes all kinds of pork, bacon, pork ribs, pork bones…  In the morning, she sells from 5 am to 11 or 12 depending on the number of customers she has and the amount of meat she sells. Sometimes, she doesn’t sell on the first and the fifteenth of the Lunar month because that day in Nha Trang, as in the rest of Vietnam, many people who are Buddhist only eat vegetarian so she doesn’t sell a lot of meat on those days and is not worthwhile for her.  After finishing at 12 she goes home and takes a rest. She will then prepare for the afternoon market.

After a morning busy with selling pork, she sells chicken in the afternoon. She sells in the market from 3 pm to 5 or 6 pm every afternoon. Most of what she sells is chicken breast, chicken feet, chicken wing’s and chicken’s leg. When she finishes, it’s getting dark. She goes home to cook dinner for her family.  Sometimes, she watches a film on TV or goes to sleep early so she can get ready for the new brand day tomorrow.

Whenever I go and buy pork at her kiosk, she gives me some advice about what kind of pork is good today, she asks me what kind of food I am going to cook today and then she give me the best price. What I like with her is that even though she has a busy day, she always smiles with all her customers, she doesn’t care that they buy or not. She is always such a happy woman!

 

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English Cooking Lesson

English Cooking Lesson

English lesson this morning was a cooking lesson. Everyone organized what they wanted to cook. Off to market they went and arrived with all the ingredients.


We had fantastic spring rolls (maybe the best I've tasted), not sure of the name but pork and noodle with rice paper was the second dish (sauce was a bit much for me) and I made Banana muffins, and muesli bars.

We ate way too much.

   

My students learnt not only the food names, the names for the cooking techniques but also using knife and fork correctly.Their list of new words filled a page.

 

lots of laughter.

Thank you so much I had a lot of fun.

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Helping out with Volunteering in Nha Trang Vietnam

Helping out with Volunteering in Nha Trang Vietnam

What a day!
Bacchaus Marsh Grammer is a large Private Primary School in Melbourne, Australia who at the moment have seventeen students and four teachers on a educational tour of Vietnam. Each year Bacchaus Marsh Grammer bring over children so they can experience a different culture but to also help those children a little less fortunate than them. This is a fantastic experience assisted by a great group of dedicated teachers.

They were at Chua Loc Tho to teach and play with the children. To make this more successful and enjoyable for all I took out a group of six friends to translate for the Australian children so the Vietnamese children could understand and learn more. Two staff from Pure Vietnam Beauty & Spa as well as four people who I teach English to were our wonderful translators. All of my friends wanted to come but we kept the numbers down so the children weren't overwhelmed.

We divided the Australian children up with each translator and they each taught a different class. It was lovely to see everyone learning together. The translators got to talk to the Australian children and the Australian children got to teach the Vietnamese children. It was a lot of fun learning about colours and learning the rainbow song.

  

After the lessons the Australian children sang two songs, the rainbow song and Advanced Australia Fair (I admit I got a tear in my eye with this one).

The Vietnamese children then sang and danced for the Australian children.

Everyone was really happy. The Australian children then dished out lunch for the children of the Pagoda.

What a wonderful end to an eventful morning. I want to thank all my friends who made this such a successful morning. You all did a wonderful job, everyone was a little nervous to start but had a great time.

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Breakfasting with a friend

Breakfast with a friend.

This morning I went out with a friend to look around a little. There were so many areas of Nha Trang that I haven’t explored yet. I ended up having Banh Can on the street for breakfast near Hương lộ ngọc Hiệp.

I met the lovely lady who cooks, Mrs Duoc who is 61 years old, her husband, Mr Ky who is 67 years old. They cook every day of the week for four hours each morning and have done for the last seven years. Their son Tuoi, who is 25 years old, comes and helps his mother cook whenever he can. Today they are especially proud of their son as he starts work today as a pastry chef in one of the larger hotels in Nha Trang. He said one of his favorite things to cook is cheesecakes so I am sure he will be making quite a few of these.

   


Mrs Duoc cooks with fingerless gloves on to try to protect her hands from the heat but nothing can protect her fingertips that touch each cup as she gets each of our Banh Can out of the pan. Mr Ky efficiently sets up and cleans up after customer as well as preparing our grated green mango and fried spring onion that we have with our sauce.
When we arrived there was no-one there but after we sat down people started to come. They thought I was very lucky for them. They were all amazed at my dexterity with the chopsticks.


After breakfast we adjourned to a waterside coffee shop with amazing views. We sat and watched the boats go by. After refreshment we went to a local railway bridge that has amazing views up and down the Cai River at the back of I Resort. An all round great morning.


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Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for September 2015 at Chuia Linh Quang

 

Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for September 2015 at Chuia Linh Quang.

Chuia Linh Quang is a Pagoda on the outskirts of Nha Trang. It is a reasonable size Pagoda with approximately 35 monks coming and going. The youngest at the moment is seven years old.

This Pagoda supports the people in this very poor district. Every weekend the Pagoda has two different programs where on Saturday the older residents can come and pray/ meditate, receive lunch and talk about life and on Sunday it is the younger peoples turn.

  

We were able to help on the Sunday. Unfortunately the Master was not there but we will catch up another time. His second in charge did a wonderful job.

With the help of Hien, I went to local markets on the Saturday and bought up on noodles, 10 kg of Tofu, about 30kgs of various vegetables, 20 kg of watermelon, 4kgs of dried mushrooms and 50 bags of fake meat.

We hired a 16 seater bus and 13 of us along with the food piled in. The roads were interesting after recent rain and of course the driver got lost. We turned up, unloaded and started peeling and chopping. There was lots of laughter as we all joined together to prepare the food.

 

We had a few chefs. We had the boys cooking much to the delight of the ladies.

Had the world’s largest mortar and pestle going, this required serious muscle action, which was being used to pulverize tofu to mix with wood ear mushrooms which were then deep fried.

There were a large variety of dishes made all very tasty. Saw a great wood fired rice steamer. The local ladies do a fantastic job cooking very tasty dishes. Whilst we were preparing and cooking there was chanting and meditation happening. We did have a bit of supervision from the younger monks who were fascinated with us.

We even had an apprentice with the cleanup. She was having so much fun with the water.

When the food was ready everyone assembled and in silence we selected what we wanted to eat and all sat in the temple together. We had a prayer then we ate in silence. When we were finished the monk in charge talked about life and problems. Then they invited us to say a little about Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa and why we were doing charity. They thanked us by singing two songs. It was a lovely morning. We fed about 80 people but had so much fun doing it.

I know we will be back soon. Thank you to the great staff from Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa, wonderful friends as well as some of the people who I teach English to. Teamwork was excellent, cooking was great and we got to meet some wonderful people. An all round fantastic Sunday.

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Haircuts for Orphans

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One of my students who I teach English to use to be a hairdresser but hasn’t done any hair cutting since she got pregnant and had her baby. Now the baby is a little boy she wants to get back into hairdressing so needs to practice. She asked me if any of the orphanages that we go to would like free haircuts.

I was able to direct her to an inner city orphanage run by a couple. This orphanage has around 20 children with most of them under the age of 12.

The children were very happy. Uyen was able to cut six children’s haircuts with the promise of returning when the other children’s hair was in need of cutting.

Apparently the young boy wanted his hair shaved off. Must be a fashion thing!!

Smiles all round.

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Hashtaglunchbag Sunday 27th of September at Lanterns Restaurant in Nha Trang, Vietnam

There is a group of people in Nha Trang who are trying to join a global movement called hashtaglunchbag. This group want people from their local communities to join together to produce lunches for the less fortunate and then deliver them. It is not about giving money rather your time for the people in need in your local community.

Lanterns restaurant has hosted two such events. The first had approximately 140 people in attendance. It is held the last Sunday in the month. On this last Sunday we had around 60 people come together. Some of the hotels were represented. Intercontinental Hotel, Sheraton Hotel, Ana Mandera Hotel, Novotel Hotel they supplied the buses to transport the people to the areas of donation along with Nha Trang University Smart English group (they are a group of students who learn English every Sunday but also participate in charity events) as well as myself and friends from Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa.

We made up 600 meals of rice, omelet, pork and vegetables. These were packaged in a take away container with a note saying it was from hashtaglunchbag and a spoon. It was wonderful to work with such a happy group. Cooperation and communication obviously being the key to running something like this.

Robert and Hien from Lanterns did a magnificent job of hosting and coordinating everything. I ended up talking to the university students quite a bit and may find myself visiting them some Sundays.

After packing the lunches we jumped in mini buses to deliver to three different locations that had been organized. I was in a mini bus to go to a Pagoda in a very poor area of Nha Trang.

After travelling on dirt roads in a very undeveloped area in the outskirts of Nha Trang we arrived at the Pagoda. As a group we went around the local village and delivered the lunches. Some of the “houses” are very basic but all people had wonderful welcoming smiles and were very grateful for the food. There were lots of elderly and small children. I guess the parents were out working. It was quite humbling to visit the people instead of just putting the lunches in a box and letting someone else deliver them. It bought it home why we were doing it.

  

This is an awesome initiative. I would encourage everyone to see what is happening in their local community

 

 

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A day at Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa

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A day at Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa, Nha Trang, Vietnam

Just because you can sometimes means you should. With this in mind I decided to treat myself to a day at the spa. The body felt in need of a bit of a tune up.

I decided to have the Deluxe package. 5 hours of pampering, or in reality 5 hrs of tuning up. We sometimes push our bodies but don’t actually look after them apart from putting fuel back in, sometimes you need to nourish your body not just feed it.

At Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa we have a VIP room. In this room is a sauna, spa, raindrop shower, a small table and chairs and day bed along with two massage tables. This is exactly what you need for a couple who are in need of pampering and relaxing. Or in my case one person. This is the only room that we have a sauna and spa bath.

 

My Deluxe package started with a 30 minutes sugar scrub to remove all the dead skin and start the blood flowing. The sugar is in coconut oil and lightly scented with mango essence.  Your skin certainly comes to life. It is amazing how soft and silky your skin feels after. That hard to reach spot in the middle of your back gets a good scratch. After the scrub you have a shower to get rid of all sugar before getting back on your massage table which has been reset with clean towels.

 

This is where the chocolate happens. You are covered in liquid chocolate all over your body and then wrapped in plastic. This allows the chocolate to do its do. Yes chocolate is actually good for your body. It helps detoxify and enrich your skin. While this is drying you are wrapped in towels to ensure you don’t get too cold and receive a lovely foot massage during the 20 minutes the chocolate needs to do its thing. I love foot massage and this is bliss for me. After your 20 minutes of drying time it is off to the shower to rid yourself of the chocolate. Each time you have a shower you receive disposable underwear so there is no need to get your own underwear dirty and your modesty is preserved. The shower feels fantastic. You can use a normal shower or the raindrop option.

The beauty of the scrub and wrap is that not only does your body feel great but these are all natural products. You can eat the sugar, the chocolate wrap is chocolate and milk. No nasty chemicals.

After this wonderful scrub and wrap I get a quick moisturize with our special body lotion which is then followed by an amazing 90 minute massage using good quality coconut oil. The massage is a “Lomi Lomi”. This is a Hawaiian massage that has been taught to our staff by Steve. He received his Lomi Lomi training from a person who studied in Hawaii and learned it from a Kahuna. It is important that it is authentic and not a watered down version. This is a nourishing relaxing massage. It is flowing and energizing. The idea is that not only will it work your muscles but relax your mind. Lomi Lomi can be done soft , medium or hard. I like a hard massage and this certainly works for me. Because of the language barrier we have designed forms that each customer uses when selecting your treatment in reception.  These forms allow you to select the pressure of the massage you want along with any areas of the body you want more pressure on and any areas your don’t want massaged. We love this because it allows your massage to be tailored individually without the fear of the language barrier. At the end of the massage my body is certainly feeling relaxed but stretched and pummeled. I do love that feeling you get when a sore muscle starts out tight but then relaxes as it is worked on.

After the massage when I am ready to have a little sleep I have my facial. The beauty of doing this treatment in the VIP room is the body cushions. These special cushions are designed to fit your body and allow pregnant or large breasted women or anyone who is of a large size to lay on the bed in comfort facedown. This works for all people. You don’t need to be bigger to enjoy them. So what this means is that four hours of body treatment is not uncomfortable. The facial that I have chosen is moisturizing. In Nha Trang with its beautiful weather it is important for ladies to look after their skin. Actually not just ladies but men certainly will feel the drying effects of the sun. During this wonderful 90 minute facial my face is cleansed, toned and massaged using products from the Pure Fiji range. These are wonderful gentle products that have very little chemicals added to them. A moisturizing mask is applied to my face and I receive an upper chest, neck and upper arm massage and stretch while the mask is working its magic.

After all of this wonderful massage and attention I am left in peace to enjoy a sauna in the glass sauna and a spa in the two-seater spa followed by fruit, fruit juice and water whilst looking out at a beautiful park and beyond to the South China Sea. I find this is the perfect end. I have a bathrobe so I can wander around in the room wrapped up or not use it at all if I choose. The room is private with my own toilet so I don’t have to leave until I want to. I must admit I have a little rest on the day bed and then nibble on the fruit before having my sauna and spa.

We do have a great 2 ½ hour package that has the sugar scrub, chocolate wrap and 90 minute Lomi Lomi. This is a fantastic package as it hits all the spots and at the end you still gt the fruit and drinks but today I am in need of the addition of the sauna, spa and facial.

What a wonderful way to spend a day. I think I might go out for some delicious seafood before falling into my bed in a dreamless sleep.

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A fun evening out for Vietnam Independence Day

A fun evening out for Vietnam Independence Day

A friend of mine has been learning to speak Chinese and to celebrate Vietnam Independence Day her Chinese Club had a competition to see who could perform the best Chinese dance. The winner would then perform with other groups from other clubs  in the celebrations for Vietnam Independence Day.

On the second of September 1965 Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam's Independence from France and this is celebrated as a National holiday. It is a day that the Vietnamese people reflect on the value of freedom. 

My friend ended up winning the Chinese club competition with a group of four people and so ended up performing at "Than Thoai" a community hall and grounds where children can go to perform or learn judo or play. This is on 1  Thai Nguyen Street.

I was invited along to watch.

It was a strange group of acts. There were dancing and singing. Some of the acts were traditional with ladies dancing with scarves, bows and arrows and then a group came out and danced with guns. All a little different but entertaining anyway.

Some members of the Cambodian-Vietnamese Navy were there and they performed a song with dancing and all the ladies seemed to like this. The ladies gave the naval men flowers.

There were prizes with cash and flowers for winners in each section and my friend ended up winning several sections and receiving flowers and cash. A very successful evening all round.

 

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Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for August

Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for August

                                                                        

What a fabulous day we had.

  

We decided for something a little different we would bring children to us to get them out of their orphanage and have some fun. 
We got twenty children from an orphanage that we visit as well as some adults in two taxis and bought them to our apartment where we have a pool. With the help of some friends, Hien, Hang and staff from Pure Vietnam, Dung and Phi for children supervision we went swimming.

 


I had bought some balls and blow up inflatables, as well as what we already had.

What a great time we had! The children laughed and played. They kept swimming and playing and really didn't want to get out but they started shivering after two hours.

After getting everyone dried we sat down to a great lunch followed by fruit and of course how can you have a treat without ice cream for desert. 

Everyone was very full, tired but happy when the children left in the taxis to go home. 

I'm sure they will sleep well.
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Ceremony for the start of the new school year

Ceremony for the start of the new school year

 What a great morning I had on 5th of September.


The schools in Nha Trang, and probably Vietnam, had special ceremonies celebrating the start of the school year. Each school will have slightly different ways of celebrating but basically it would all involve singing maybe dancing, speeches (of course) and balloons.


I was privileged to be invited to Loc Tho Chuia. The Pagoda where I teach English on Saturdays. There were quite a few people some of the parents of the children, people from Saigon who donate to the school as well as some of the local people who help out and some dignitaries were all there for the ceremony. The head male monk was there a well.


Some of the girls did three different dances. A couple of the girls were involved in two dances. This is a lot to learn for children in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade.

  

There was lots of singing, a few speeches, in one speech a young girl spoke about promising to try to study and make everyone very proud. A big job for someone who is in the equivalent of grade 5.


The head of Pagoda gave a speech and the rules of the Pagoda were read out. It was a very jam packed two hours.


We then went in for a delicious lunch of Bun Bo (beef soup with noodle) but because it is a Pagoda no beef so we had mushroom and young bamboo shoot. It was delicious.

I have included a picture of the lovely ladies who teach there in their Ao Dai.
Thank you all for a great day.

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Mid Autumn Festival

The Mid – Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese and Vietnamese calendar.

Traditionally, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the time for family to have a reunion dinner, sit together and enjoy a warm cup of green tea with a sweet piece of moon cake while the children play with lanterns. In Vietnam, there are many traditional activities for both adults and children during the festival including a Lion Dance performed by both trained professional groups and amateurs. Lion dance groups perform on the streets and go to houses asking for permission to perform for the people living there. If they are accepted by the hosts, the ‘lion’ will go in and start dancing to wish the household good luck and fortune. The Earth Lord, ‘Ong Dia’, dances around the dragon. 'Ong Dia', who has a smiling moon-shaped face, represents the prosperity and wealth of the earth.

LEGENDS

Mid-autumn Festival is one of the the most important festivals. There are many interesting stories explaining the origin of the festival. In China, the legend of Mid Autumn Festival is about Chang' e and Hou Yi. In Vietnam, there is a popular Vietnamese fairy tale that explains the origin of the festival.

According to the legend, a man named Cuoi was very famous because he owned a magic banyan tree that could cure any illness. Cuoi’s wife got angry because Cuoi seemed to love the tree more than her so one day when Cuoi was out treating a sick neighbor; she poured dirty water on the roots of the tree, which made it leave the ground. Cuoi suddenly returned and saw the tree fly up to the sky. He tried to grab it but failed to take it down and was taken up to the moon, where he lives together with his tree to this day. That’s why every year children light lanterns and take part in processions on the day of the festival to show Cuoi the way back to Earth.

MOON CAKES

Moon cakes are generally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival and are a traditional dessert. The festival typically involves family's getting together to share moon cakes while watching the moon together.

Moon cakes are round in shape, like the full harvest moon of Mid-Autumn Day, and typically measure around 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter and up to 5 cm (2 inches) in thickness. Most moon cakes consist of a pastry skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling. Moon cakes are usually eaten in small wedges, they are generally served with green tea, occasionally, moon cakes are steamed or fried. 

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Vietnamese Funerals

The funeral in Vietnam

The first stage of the ceremony is called “Nhap Quan” (Entering the Coffin).

The purpose of this stage is to clean the dead body and place it inside the coffin. The dead body is cleaned with fragrant water, removed from all old clothes and the dressed in the clothes selected by the family to be buried in. The family can choose the favorite clothes that person had when they were alive if they want. it doesn't need to be new clothes.

The husband/wife, son and daughter and the grandsons have to wear white clothes.

Afterwards, the corpse is placed inside the coffin and the relatives begin death/burial rite. All families and relatives will go slowly around the coffin, in line, to pay respect and to see their deceased family member for the last time. In addition, there is an incense bowl for each people that comes to burn incense for the dead.

The second stage of the funeral is when guests – often the friends and further relatives of the deceased – come to share the sorrow with the family. The coffin is placed at home or at the funeral house depending on the wishes of the family. Distant relatives, neighbors, friends or colleagues of the dead person can come to the house and pray for the dead person, go around the coffin to see them again and appease the family. This stage might take anywhere from a few hours to a whole day, depending on the number of the visitors. Visitors who attend a funeral usually wear dark color clothes, sometimes attached with an envelope containing money to help the unfortunate family cover the cost of the funeral.

When the visiting stage ends, the representative of the family will have a short speech to thank all the visitors and invite them to go with the family to take the dead person to the cemetery. The coffin  is moved to a special funeral car and taken to the interring place, followed by the family members and some of the visitors.

In some rural parts of Vietnam, especially with peasants’ families, the coffin is placed in the middle of the rice field and the eldest son has to walk backward or even rolling on the muddy ground, to show his regret of his parent’s death.

 

There are two mains type of interring in Vietnam: burying and burning. The mourning time after the funeral is different based on the position of the death in the family, but mostly from 3 months to 3 years. During the mourning time, the family members have to wear a small black piece of cloth on the arm or chest.

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