Two days in charming Cam Ranh
After a fantastic stay in Tuy Hoa, it was time to hit the road and head to the next destination on our list. Cam Ranh was a planned overnight stop. On the ride down though, we discovered there was more to what we thought was a sleepy little coastal town.
We ended up staying two nights to do a bit of exploring and found some interesting things along the way.
First impressions of Cam Ranh
We thought Cam Ranh sat on the coast, next to Bai Dai beach. As it turned out it was a bit inland and right next to main highway, QL1A, instead. It happens to be one of the busier roads in Vietnam and the traffic is insane! More on that in our travel vlog.
Despite the unexpected location, Cam Ranh is full of charm and authentic Vietnam. Our visit here turned out to be a bit of fun on a short stop.
Accommodation in Cam Ranh
We opted for a budget hotel that wasn’t far from our intended route. Motel 42 Cam Ranh (Nha Ngi 42) sits just off QL1A, at 42 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Cam Loc, Cam Ranh. The two nights cost us VND400,000 (~USD17.20) all up. Not a bad deal at all. (PS: that is an affiliate link. You don’t pay extra to use it but we do get a small commission and that helps keep us on the road longer and to tell you about more awesome places like this one!)
On arrival we met the colorful Loe (pronounced Lo-E) who had plenty of questions and a few stories to tell us.
He was most intrigued by our age and state of childlessness and had a lot of questions about why we chose Vietnam. Loe will certainly be a fond memory for us.
The room was bigger than expected for a budget option and that’s a bonus for us. It was modestly furnished with a queen bed and small table and chairs. For comfort we had both an AC and fan, as well as a decent sized TV with ALL the cable channels. (It means we get to catch up on some MotoGP action where possible.)
The bathroom was spacious too but unfortunately didn’t have any hot water. This was the first time we experienced the infamous Vietnamese cold shower. But it didn’t bother us much. We were expecting it based on a few reviews we’ve read of accommodation around Vietnam.
The location and room were perfect for a short stop. We had no gripes except maybe for the constant traffic noise coming from the main highway. The excessive honking all ours of the day and night got a tad irritating.
But that was the only negative! Overall, we enjoyed our stay and Loe was an absolute treat!
What to eat in Cam Ranh
When planning our overnight stays, we also look for locations for food and supplies. This included things like meals, coffees, gas station, drinking water, etc. When riding motorcycles for four to six hours at a time, the last thing we feel like is running around looking for food and supplies.
Cam Ranh not only gave us an option for com ga (our favourite dish!) but it was chicken and rice with a new addition!
Our meal arrived in a colorful combo of broken rice, chicken and a heap of pickled veggies and fresh herbs. Nicely finished off with a dollop of mayonnaise.
The surprise was the cute little bowl of soup that came with it. It was a lovely light chicken broth with fresh herbs and a poached quail’s egg in it. We haven’t come across this combo before and it was delicious! And for VND50,000 (~USD2.15) for both meals, it was a absolute score!
We enjoyed it so much that we ended up going back on our second night. If you’re ever in Cam Ranh, we recommend the com ga (chicken and rice) at Com Ga Hai on Huyinh Thuc Khang.
Roadside Banh Bao
We also tried a roadside banh bao vendor located on the corner of Duong Le Duan and Hai Muoi Hai Thang Tam. They were fresh, fluffy and super tasty! Not to mention a steal at VND20,000 (~USD0.85) for two of them.
Where to find coffee in Cam Ranh
Trying to order a hot coffee
No visit is complete without trying a local coffee and there were plenty of options to choose from in Cam Ranh.
Our first visit was to this tiny hole in the wall next to the hotel. There was no English available so we tried our hand at ordering a drink in our limited Vietnamese.
We ended up with another iced coffee. It wasn’t bad, except for the fact that it was absolutely pouring down with rain and cold as anything. At a cost of VND24,000 (~USD1.00) for both coffees, we weren’t complaining and they were good too, for a cheap coffee.
Cafe Phin Cam Ranh
The next morning, we went for a wander and found a huge café around the corner and right on the highway. Not sure of the name as we didn’t get a menu or a receipt and there were several names up on the building itself.
This time round we managed to order a hot coffee with milk and when it arrived, we had a good giggle about it. Because in front of us were two glass cups, sitting a tiny tin bucket of hot water and a phin on top of each.
We’ve never seen coffee this way before and it was funny. Ingenious but funny. That round set us back VND30,000 (~USD1.30) and again a cheap, good local coffee!
Trying our first milk tea
We did try something new this time round and that was the infamous milk tea that we see everywhere.
It took us a long time to get use to cold coffee and we definitely couldn’t see the appeal in cold tea. Tra Sua SIP is this hip little spot on Nguyen Thai Hoc and they were hopping!
We got there just as they opened and it didn’t take long for people to start piling in. Before we knew it, motorcycles were adding to the madness, queuing up for take away orders.
The teas were amazingly yummy too and looked very pretty. Not how I ever thought I’d describe a beverage, but there you have it.
They only cost VND32,000 (~USD1.40), which makes them a great and cheap alternative to coffee and we can see why they are popular.
Bai Dai Beach
Apart from the fact that Cam Ranh was within our 200km/day travel distance, it was also home to Bai Dai beach. You don’t hear much about this beach as it’s more famous cousin Nha Trang is a short distance away and usually in the lime light.
On day two we decided to go for a tiki-tour to check it out and see if we could actually get to the beach. (See our travel day blog for more on this.)
See, when we rode past it on our way into Cam Ranh, we couldn’t see this famous landmark at all. All we could see were the scores of gigantic hotels and resorts in different stages of construction. Every site hidden behind tall barriers. At that point we thought we’d never see the beach which was a little sad.
Found the beach!
We did find a way to it in the end and it was an amazingly beautiful beach! It was as beautiful as all the fuss we’d read about.
Pristine powdery white sand with the clearest blue water we’ve seen in a while. We didn’t think to take our togs before we went out there. A swim would have been amazing!
Sadly, it is slowly being overtaken by large resort companies and we fear it may disappear in a sea of resorts soon. It’s still worth a look if you’re out that way. If you do, go for a swim and let us know if it is as amazing as it looked!
The unusual memorial
One of our other finds was this huge memorial located at the northern end of the beach. We’re not sure what it commemorated as there was no English available and no one to ask.
We believe it may be a memorial to fallen soldiers but not sure from which war or what year. It would have been nice to tell you more about it.
The grounds and statues were beautifully done and it was a very peaceful spot to visit.
Overall impression of Cam Ranh
For a small town it does offer a lot on a short visit!
Besides the endless options to eat and have a coffee at, there are also two full sized supermarkets.
Finding someone to help us out with Xorf’s flat rear wheel was a little harder. The kind man we did find in the end, was super efficient, honest and did a great job of getting us back on the road.
How much did it cost?
Below is a simple breakdown of costs for our two day visit.
|Accommodation (2 nights)||400,000||17.15|
|Food and groceries||168,600||7.20|
|Motorbikes fuel and repairs||325,000||13.90|
We’re heading to Phan Rang next! We will spend a few days to explore a famous ancient Cham village and try some local legendary food spots. Make sure to tune in for more on that visit.
Thank you so much for experiencing this adventure with us!
See you in the next one…