Heading north out of Ho Chi Minh, the coastal road was full of comfort-free rustbucket buses, flirting with danger on the way to Hanoi. You could be pretty certain that most travellers would be getting out at Nha Trang, for some well earned R&R.
A smaller number took the mountain road to Dalat, while fewer yet trecked out to Vung Tau. Anyone heading west was going to Cambodia.
These days, travel in Vietnam must be so much easier, and getting to some of those “hidden gems” would have opened up options for traveler and business alike.