Two days in Cam Ranh

Two days in Cam Ranh things to do in Cam Ranh

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

Location

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

 

Cam Ranh

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.

 

Cam Ranh

 

Our stay

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.

Com Ga

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.

Cam Ranh

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.

Cam Ranh

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!

Cam Ranh

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.

Cam Ranh

We are now on the lookout for more of these milk tea shops.  If you want to see what we find, then keep an eye on our #snackingourchops hashtag on Insta for more updates.

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.

Cam Ranh

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!

Cam Ranh

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.

Cam Ranh

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.

Cam Ranh

How much did it cost?

Below is a simple breakdown of costs for our two day visit.

Expenses VND USD (approx.)
Accommodation (2 nights) 400,000 17.15
Food and groceries 168,600 7.20
Beverage (non-alcoholic) 86,000 3.70
Motorbikes  fuel and repairs 325,000 13.90
Total 979,600 41.95

What’s next

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.

And don’t forget to hit the road with us on travel days. We cover those in our LTXtraordinary page as well as our vlogs.

Thank you so much for experiencing this adventure with us!

See you in the next one…

Da Nang – the must see city of Vietnam

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What was so special about Vietnam that we moved here? Da Nang of coarse...

This unassuming city hosted us for one day and night in 2016, on a backpacking trip travelling from Hoi An to Hue. At the time we knew nothing about Da Nang, hence the short stay, but boy did she surprise us!

So, that’s why in 2018 we went out on a limb, selling everything bar a few precious keepsakes to move here. To start our new epic twelve-month journey to discover Vietnam and all she has to offer. And the adventure started in Da Nang.

You’re doing what? LOL that is the first reaction we got from all our close friends and family. The exception was those who had already experienced this country to some degree. What we have in common with the latter is that we all want to come back! There is so much to see and do!

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Why Da Nang?

For starters, it’s pretty much in the middle of the country. Getting anywhere from here depends on your choice of comfort, whether it be flying or driving. And your travels are not limited to domestic destinations either. Da Nang sports an international airport too. But you don’t have to come here and leave for somewhere else.

Da Nang is becoming a world class destination. There are several activities and attractions already in place with more to come. We’ve seen significant changes in the two years since our last visit and impressed with what they have achieved in this time.

We also chose Da Nang because there was so much we missed the last time we were here. Now that we have more time, we can devour it and delight you with our tales.

Well then, where to start?! We were looking for a destination that offered affordable living. This included plenty of activities, food, transport and last but not least, accommodation. We found plenty here to keep us busy for at least our first three months. So here we go…

One of the world's most famous beaches

On our backpacking trip, one of the first things we learnt about was My Khe beach.

The driver looked a bit miffed that we didn’t recognize the importance of its name. So, he went on to explain that during the war, the American troops dubbed it ‘China Beach’. He got his desired reaction then. But, he went on to explain that the Vietnamese people aren’t very fond of this moniker and it would best not to call it that. Which was fair we thought, and why would you when it already has a beautiful name.

This impressive pale sand and blue water stretch of beach melts your senses. From its lazy waves, thatched beach shelters and comfy chairs, to palm trees dancing in the breeze. The best part is, there is 20-odd miles of it. While Lady Buddha watches over it all from her northern vantage point.

 

Surf to City

If sand and water between your toes isn’t quite to your liking there is an actual city to explore as well. Da Nang is central Vietnam’s largest city, boasting a population of 1.347 million (as at 2016). The city sits across from another well-known landmark, the Han river. She is accessible by four famous bridges known as Dragon Bridget, Thua Phuoc Bridge, Tran Thi Ly Bridge and Han River Bridge. Each is famous in its own right, but more on that in another post.

The city itself has plenty on offer to explore. We didn’t get the chance to burrow into its curious depths last time. But we will share our experiences with you as we delve deeper into this adventure.

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Food, glorious food

The city itself has plenty on offer to explore. We didn’t get the chance to burrow into its curious depths last time. But we will share our experiences with you as we delve deeper into this adventure.

While the beach may be the main attraction, the much adored Vietnamese cuisine is hot on its heels! There are absolute endless options, no matter what direction you go. Venturing a block or so in from the beach, you’ll find all the options aimed at the tourist market. Including the usual suspects plus some western options. If you’re brave enough to venture into uncharted territory you could be richly rewarded too. Consider yourself warned though, you’ll be Googling your fingers raw. English is scarce but you’ll stumble across some photos which does make it easier. Being patient could be key. If you don’t mind doing research on the fly, then you might find some hidden local gems to fall in love with.

We’d been here for little over a week and we already had a couple of local eateries locked down as favourites. Both offer delicious meals, great service and super affordable prices. Making it easy for those like us on a fixed budget lol. And there are plenty others around we want to explore more too.

The city also caters to all sorts of food buffs. Its pride-and-joy feature is its seafood and there are endless options as far as the eye can see. But fear not! There are plenty of options available for pork, beef and chicken lovers too. And if that is not your thing either, then you’re covered too. More vegan options are starting to pop up as popularity increases. Delivering some spectacular spots to get your eat on.

Dayum! How good is the coffee?!

And what about the coffee you ask? Well fear not, here you can find any caffeinated drink you can imagine and if you can’t find it, they will make it for you. Coffee is a huge deal here and they take immense pride in their craft. Which makes it an absolute pleasure being a ‘taste-tester’. Again, it wasn’t hard to find a great spot near our new abode. We are looking forward to finding loads of amazing new options on future foot patrols.

Ridiculously easy to get around!

Getting around is pretty easy too. There are a multitude of options from taxis to ride shares to the most popular which is renting a scooter.

We used taxis, share rides, rental scooters and eventually bought our own.  You can read . We tend to prefer foot patrol as we get to experience new areas in more detail this way, hence the lack of info at present.

(As I was writing this post, I was waiting for DHL to deliver my renewed driver’s license. I needed it to get my Vietnamese license. Did we need VN licences? It depends on what your insurance covers. Our policy would only cover us if we have the correct license for the vehicle operated. Our licenses had to be valid in our respective native country as well as the country we are traveling in. For this trip, we completed extensive motorcycle training to gain proper motorcycle licenses. We did this before we left and something we recommend you look into. What we learnt from our three-day course was invaluable from a skill and safety aspect. We like to do things the right way, it makes things easier in the long run. But do your homework and see what suits your travel and insurance needs best.)

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Accommodation in Da Nang

Last but not least is accommodation and there is no shortage on that front.

Airbnb leads the charge with hotels and private rentals in hot pursuit.

All you need to decide on is when, where, your desired comfort level, location and the city is your oyster.

We chose the Mai Boutique Villas in Son Tra for our first seven day. This was in the area we were thinking of looking for apartments and figured it would make a good base to work from. It was an affordable option and offered comfy clean rooms, great staff and plenty of areas to get some work done. The included daily breakfast was praise worthy. We miss our daily breakfasts 🙁

UPDATE: The Mai Boutique Villas no longer exists (we have a feeling it was because of the karaoke joint that moved  in next door LOL), but the link below will give you plenty of options to look at.

Planning on staying long term and want something more private? Then Facebook is your friend. We found our apartment via the expat pages and a local property agency. They helped us overcome the language barrier and made the whole sign up process easier.

Looking and choosing took longer than the sign up did. You have to know exactly what you want or it could take a whole lot longer. We did a fair bit of research before we left. We worked out that we wanted from an apartment and where we would like it to be. These specifics made finding options easy and we signed a lease four days after arriving in Da Nang. Easy peasy!

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Looking for your perfect accommodation in Da Nang?

From 2 star to rock star, find your perfect stay right here!

Affiliate disclosure: The information above and subsequent info they lead to will contain affiliate links for our accommodation partner, Hotels Combined. We trust and used them for most of our trip and we are happy to recommend their services (especially since they were so easy to use and found us really good choices too.) Now, you don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use these links but if you do use them, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

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Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…