From the back of a Vespa in Nha Trang, I channel my inner Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday… albeit nowhere near as stylishly!

As I nervously ride on the back of a Vespa along the 6-kilometre beachside strip of Nha Trang, the capital of Khánh Hòa Province certainly does give off some serious cosmopolitan vibes. 

Music is pumping from the crowded bars lining the beach as people jostle for a spot to settle on a sun lounge with a cocktail in hand. I’ve been told that this is the best spot to watch the sunset after all…

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Image: Kerri McConnel

My driver Cuong navigates the busy streets like a pro, oblivious to the cacophony of honking horns, harried pedestrians and much larger vehicles surrounding him.  

He is studying hospitality and tourism, with his ultimate aim to be a restaurant manager in one of the many hotels in the city. Cuong likes working for Nha Trang Vespa Tour because it allows him to practice his English and showcase his diverse home town.

He puts this English practice to good use as he points out places of interest and tells me about the city that he loves so much. 

We weave our way through the busy streets to the funky Cong Caphe cafe famous for a local favourite, Vietnamese iced coffee. 

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Created by the French, this intensely brewed coffee is poured over ice and sweetened with condensed milk. Back in the early 17th Century, the dairy industry was limited in Vietnam and an inability for the French to import regular milk saw the condensed version take over in many recipes still popular today. 

The caffeine hit does its job and we head to the ancient temple complex of Po Nagar Cham Towers. 

Built between the 8th and 11th centuries by the Cham people, the complex is a striking piece of history that sits atop Mount Cu Lau above the bank of the River Cai. 

What was once a group of ten buildings dedicated to different deities, is now four with the focus being the 25-metre high Po Nagar Kalan where the “Mother of the Country” is worshipped to this day. 

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Whilst we may look like tourists with our cameras at the ready, there is a feeling of camaraderie among our fellow Vespa riders, an unspoken truce to share the road safely. Whether it’s my imagination or not, it certainly does ease my mind and allows me to relax and enjoy the wind in my hair and the exhilarating freedom that the Vespas bring as we experience all facets of the city. 

My nerves have truly abated and I surprise even myself by admitting to being a Vespa convert, there truly is no better way to explore Nha Trang. 

 

What are your favourite places to explore from the back of a Vespa?