Hello my compassionate friends! A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my trip to Nha Trang, a beautiful and vibrant beach town on the southeast coast of Vietnam. I had such a great time exploring the culture, the food, and the natural beauty. But my adventure didn’t end there! From Nha Trang I traveled about an hour north to Doc Let Beach and spent three relaxing days swimming, reading, eating, and meeting other travelers. Let me tell you about my veggie vacation!
A FRUITY TRIP
My last morning in town I wanted to try out the breakfast at Lanterns, the awesome restaurant I went to a couple of days earlier for their vegetarian options. I chose the banana pancakes, coffee, and a fresh coconut. It was delicious! Their pancakes are more like crepes, very thin and light. It came with a small dish of honey rather than the traditional syrup I was used to. I personally don’t use honey because I’d rather leave bees to free roam the world and pollinate our food, rather than use them to manufacture products for us. Luckily, the pancakes were so tasty I didn’t need any honey.
After that I packed up all my things, checked out of the hotel, and took one last walk down the main beach road. I grabbed one last Vietnamese coffee and watched all the barbers set up their chairs and mirrors on the sidewalk to cut hair.
I decided to take the bus to Doc Let Beach because it only cost 25,000 VND, which is the equivalent of about $1. Otherwise, a motorbike or taxi would be about $20-$30. It took me forever to find the right bus stop. I kept asking locals and store owners where Bus 3 stopped, but some of them didn’t know and others couldn’t explain it properly due to the language barrier. I took a break from searching and stopped in a little convenience store. There was a bunch of fresh fruit in the refrigerated section and I was already getting hungry, so I picked one that I had never seen before. “Is this fruit sweet?” I asked the owner. “Yes, very sweet!” he replied. Not only that, but he pointed me in the right direction of the bus stop!
I ripped open the package of my fruit and began to dig in while I waited for the bus. I had no idea what I was eating at the time, but found out later that it was jack fruit. The best way to describe it is that it tastes like tropical bubbalicious bubble gum. No joke. It was super sweet; it tasted like candy! The bus showed up and I juggled my backpack, tote bag, purse, and opened package of jack fruit like a Buster Keaton routine as I hopped on the bus. One piece of jack fruit went flying in the air and I caught it in my tote bag, which highly amused the locals already on the bus.
I settled into a seat and enjoyed the ride. Every time the driver let passengers on/off at a bus stop, he forgot to close the doors so we would drive along with a nice breeze flowing in! Once we got out of town, we passed lots of rice fields and little towns. It was a beautiful view and one of my favorite memories from the whole trip.
SUNBURNS, SALADS & PUPPY LOVE
The last bus stop was the deserted Doc Let (pronounced like yop-let) Beach stop. I walked to the closest hotel and asked them if they could take me by motorbike to my resort. For $2, I took a ten minute ride through the tiny village and landed at my beachfront home-stay.
I chose Paradise Resort because it’s well, not very resorty. It’s owned by a very old but enthusiastic man named Cherry (it’s pronounced like Cheri) and his Vietnamese wife Moon. There are several bungalows throughout the property, massages are dirt cheap, free coffee 24/7, and homemade meals are included. And oh, I take a ten second walk down the stairs and see this view…
Doesn’t get better than that, am I right? Here’s a couple more pictures in case you don’t believe me :p
The room I stayed in was really simple and kind of kitschy, but I liked it. It was open and breezy, and I loved hanging out on the porch to watch the sunrise and sunset.
For lunch and dinner everyday, all the guests at the resort would come together in the open air dining room and eat. First, were the salads – and they were magnificent. They would bring big bowls of lettuce salad, tomato salad, and either cucumber or carrot salad. The salads were super garlicky, which I loved, and Cherry said he buys all his food from locally respected farmers. Then there was the main dish. Usually it involved some kind of meat or fish, but even so, it wasn’t like in America where the meat is the main attraction. Here, it was more of a subtle complement to the dish. Cherry always provided me with the vegetarian version of the main dish. Lastly, fresh fruit was served, usually watermelon or pineapple. On my second day, I experienced the best mango I’ve ever eaten in my life!
This is Cherry’s dog Luc. She was always hanging around being adorable. I want to come back in my next life as a dog that lives right on the beach, surrounded by friendly people and good food!
The only downside of this trip? Despite the fact that I put sunscreen on before hitting the beach, the sun in Vietnam is extremely powerful and I got soooo sunburned! So if you ever go to the beach there, slather on at least 3 layers of good quality sunscreen, and then slather on some more. And then a little bit more…
My second day at Doc Let I wanted to explore the grounds of Paradise Resort. Here are some of the things I saw:
I met many nice people while I was at Paradise Resort. There was a French family that lived in Hanoi, a New Yorker that was raised in Paris, an older couple from Sweden, a Vietnamese family, a young Russian couple, a reclusive German fellow, a Canadian couple teaching in southern China, and an American couple that lived in Budapest but spend at least 1/3 of each year traveling all over the world. It was interesting to hear all the different travels stories and as a globetrotting newbie, they gave me lots of tips and resources.
GOOD EVENING, VIETNAM!
I spent my last evening in Doc Let sipping tea and old-fashioned Coke from the open balcony, watching the boats and enjoying the breeze.
Cherry had a bookshelf full of various books in English, French, and even Hebrew! I chose a book and opened up the page to these thought provoking quotes:
I also noticed that Paradise Resort is solar powered. Yay!
Every evening before dinner, I enjoyed taking a stroll along the beach. My last day I came across this handmade boat used by the local fisherman.
I also found lots of beautiful and unique looking seashells.
The sunsets were my favorite. So gorgeous and peaceful.
I highly suggest Vietnam if you are looking for a new place to travel. You won’t be sorry. Their history and culture is fascinating, the people are friendly and outgoing, and the landscape is unbelievably beautiful. Not to mention, the vegetarian and vegan food there is amazing! I hope you enjoyed reading about my little slice of heaven. If you’ve had any experiences in Vietnam or any other interesting places, I’d love to hear about it! In the mean time, just remember that it’s quite easy to be a compassionate world traveler 🙂