There comes a time when you stumble across a place that you don’t ever want to leave. A little happy place, if you will; a place that has everything your heart desires. Naturally, it’s subjective and not for everyone to agree with, but nonetheless, these places exist. Ashley and I frequently come across travelers saying, “In Vietnam (or Laos, or Cambodia, we heard ‘em all) I went to this place, it was great, man. I was only going to stay for 3-4 days, but ended up staying two months.” Those are the types of places I’m talking about. For me, that place was tucked away off the beaten path, along Vietnam’s central coast, with a simple name called The Shack, which couldn’t be a more perfect and fitting name. This fine low-key establishment is a restaurant, bar, surf shop and simply a great place to watch the tide come and go. Cheap beers, great food and surfing! The whole package, in other words.
The Shack is located about 25 km south of Nha Trang. Now, the pictures do not do it justice, and justice it has for what little it is, but let me tell you, my friends, if there were a heaven, it’s located in Vietnam. If you’re looking for fancy or resort like luxuries or atmosphere, you’re in the wrong the place. But you don’t want those fancy type places anyway. They’re lame and you’d be missing out on so much! In fact, the owner refuses to make any changes that would alter it from blending in and being local, and that includes modifications that may give it more mass appeal. It blends in perfectly with all the local restaurants to its left and right. It fit in so well with the local environment, in fact, that when we pulled up on the motorbike, before seeing the surf boards, I thought, “This can’t be right. Well, let’s go check it out, anyway.” I asked the owner why he doesn’t open up a hostel — it would undoubtably be one of the coolest — and he knowingly and confidently said, “because the vibe would be lost.” I applaud him for it. Although, he has on occasion allowed people to pitch their tents on the wooden planks in the bar area, but that’s only after they’ve gained the trust of him and the locals. Also, you know it’s good because much of his business comes from the locals. They go there to eat in peace, relax and watch the waves.
On Trip Advisor, The Shack’s food is rated number one — a perfect rating. Ashley and I had the squid, which was the best we’ve ever had. The prices are based on kilograms and comes in fresh daily right off the coast. In addition to having amazing Vietnamese and Western cuisine, he rents surfboards, and since The Shack is on stilts over the water during this time of the year, you don’t have to go far to surf — just jump off the side of the restaurant and you’re in the water, amid sandy bottom and good surf.
Ashley and I spent about four hours at this place eating, reading, talking, and surfing, but unfortunately, not taking pictures. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we forgot about the task at hand. We did manage to snap a few, but only a few. If you’d like to see more pictures or get information about The Shack, check out their website at http://shackvietnam.com/
All the surfing pictures were taken from video so the quality is not at its greatest.
The only wave I caught, and it was short-lived. After I wiped out my leash snapped and I had to swim back to shore to get the board. Sorry about the quality, being about 125 yards from the shore we really needed a 200-300 zoom lens, instead of the 70 mm.
The driveway off the highway to get to The Shack.
A picture of where The Shack is from up above.