While it was relatively easy to get a shared minibus straight to my hotel upon arrival from Hong Kong, the reverse direction is a bit more tricky. There is no minibus company to book per se. I had asked at the airport bus ticket desk but couldn't get a straight answer. Instead, you have to find private transport or take the much slower bus, whose schedule seems infrequent and the stops in the beach zone elusive.

My hotel had quoted a private car for 350k dong, a fairly reasonable price for the 30+ km journey out to Cam Ranh. Checking Klook, they had an even better deal, and I could pay in HKD and use my credit card. With dwindling cash and a final day of sightseeing admissions and food to pay, I booked Klook online for the car back to the airport.

With a 5:35pm departure and an hour journey to the airport, I left the city at 2:45pm and arrived at the quiet international terminal 35 minutes later. The road was picturesque, hugging the coast for a bit then passing through many international-branded resorts on the final stretch. I'm curious who in their right minds would want to live all the way out in the middle of nowhere?

I was the only car arriving at the terminal. The building is not large and scanning the departure board, it seems the hive of activity is late night when a whole bunch of flights head to Korea. I heard quite a lot of Korean around Nha Trang in my few days here, and far less Mandarin and barely any Russian. Seems this city found a new source of tourism.

I only had to wait very shortly in line to get processed. The agent was nice and didn't even check how heavy my hand-carry was and fixed the cabin approved tag to it. It was 8kg, just slightly over, but I could've shifted some stuff to my backpack if needed. When flying low-cost, I don't want to give them an excuse to overcharge me, or stress over the financial drain should they enforce the rules.

With plenty of time left and 2 hours before departure, I headed over to the domestic terminal to take a peek. I would first have to descend to the ground floor arrivals level, which was even more devoid of humanity, then across a covered walkway for under 10 minutes.

The typical evening rainstorm is approaching after a mostly blue sky day in the city.

The domestic terminal was noticeably older and smaller but far busier with lots of restaurants and shops that even sell frozen seafood. Vietnam Airlines occupied one side while Vietjet and Bamboo had the other. Departing passengers would head upstairs for security.

Vietnam also celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival with mooncakes, similar to Hong Kong and the Chinese-speaking world.

Returning to the international terminal, I headed airside hoping to find a quiet seat to start typing up this trip report. The first step is to go through immigration, with 2 counters open and a short line to get through. Security followed, with staff forcing everyone to take their shoes off for scanning, something I don't really see in most international airports I've used these days. I emerged into an airy shopping mall, with the likes of Lotte Duty Free. Interestingly, prices are quoted in USD while over at the domestic terminal, it was all in dong. $14 for a Vietnamese beef pho was a bit too steep, so I would dine in Hong Kong upon arrival.

With so many Korean tourists here and even a Lotte Mart downtown, I wasn't surprised their duty-free operator is also at the airport.

I headed to the gate, which had a huge seating area. I watched my plane pull in and rested a bit in a far-away part of the holding pen.

I was lucky to have missed the severe typhoon that had hit Hong Kong over the weekend, and by now, the storm has passed so the flight schedules have returned to normal to bring me home.

Boarding was on time and I waved goodbye to this interesting beach town with good memories. Hoping the evening storm wouldn't impact our departure, we pushed back just a few minutes behind schedule and roared into the cloudy sky amidst sunset. Although we took off towards the north and I had a left window seat, I could not spot the skyline at all with so many clouds in the way.

This short flight of just under 2 hours was fairly uneventful and I passed on buying dinner on board. I scanned through the menu and prices were not too bad actually.

We landed at 8:40pm and reached a far away remote stand at 8:52pm. Luckily, it wasn't raining but it was a long ride in a packed bus all the way to the terminal. The flight was quite full tonight so it seems a lot of folks have discovered Vietnam as an affordable long weekend getaway just like me.

Hong Kong Express gets the job done cheaply. Luckily, I wasn't impacted by the nasty typhoon that hit Hong Kong after I flew out and left before I came back. For about USD $125 roundtrip including seat selection, I got a good deal and a good short vacation.

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