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Nha Trang is a popular beach resort destination in Vietnam, situated about a quarter of the way up Vietnam's extensive coastline.
There is a lovely long beach here which is sandy and you can often hire sunbeds and parasols as well as purchasing drinks at reasonable prices. For the active types, you can go paragliding or take boat trips. The climate is ideal, and a light breeze tends to pick up in the afternoon. It makes the afternoons much more pleasant temperature wise, but a nightmare to get your towel or sarong to lay down flat. The beach is parallel to the main street - Tran Phu. You do get some hawkers along here selling goods, handing out leafelts etc, you can even get a massage or have the hairs on your legs threaded whilst lying on your sun lounger on a public beach!
There is a wealth of scuba and snorkelling boat trips to suit all pockets, varying from US$8 to $44, many including lunch or some sort of freshly caught fish based meal. Check what is included in your tour though, to make sure you get what you want out of the day. There are also 'party boats' if that is your thing where the emphasis is on drinking and games rather than snorkelling and island visiting. Most hotels, guest houses and tourist cafes will offer something like this. There are lots of islands off the coast and the boat trips will visit a couple of these usually, but I have to say my general impression is that there can be mass-market touristy if you are not careful.
Vinpearl land (reviewed in detail separately) is just across the bay for those who like amusement parks and water parks and makes a nice day out if you have the time. It is accessed by ferry or by the world's longest sea-crossing cable car (3km) which is a nice experience and well worth it if you are travelling with children. It is not as sophisticated as Western parks, but the water park is worth a visit.
For intellectuals there is a museum dedicated to the bacteriologist Anlxander Yersin. I didn't visit it, so cannot comment but I drove past the small but attractive Yersin Gardens in the North part of the town.
The oceanographic museum reportedly is very interesting with a large aquarium. I visited the aquarium on Hon Tre island (Vinpearl Land) which may be more interesting for families.
Culture and history buffs will be interested in Po Nagar Cham Towers. Built between 8th and 12th century by the Cham people who originated from Ancient India, there is a similarity to the style of the Cham temples in central Vietnam and some Hindu temples. Only four remain on this site and admission is reasonable (approx equivalent of £0.50). It can be accessed by tours as it is just outside the town, otherwise it is easy to get a taxi there (I recommend using the metered firms like Mai Linh).
If relaxation is more your thing, most larger hotels offer spa facilities or you can take a taxi or tour to Thap Ba Hot Springs (reviewed separately) which are a bit further out than the Cham Towers. There are a range of treatments to suit your budget starting at VND100,000 (US$5 or £3.35), but make sure you check as the ladies in reception will try and sell the slightly more expensive packages with massages.
There are plenty of restaurants in Nha Trang and I only wish I can remember some of there names, but usually will you will have plenty of choice going just one of two streets back from Tran Phu, with European style smart restaurants to budget backpacker cafes. Like most of Vietnam there is plenty of sea food restaurants with an abundance of reasonably priced fresh fish. Barbeque restaurants are also quite popular. Some also offer cooking classes if you are interested in learning how to make your own spring rolls and other traditional dishes.
Accommodation is plentiful; I stayed at Que Huong (reviewed separately) on Tran Phu street, just across from the beach and you will have no problem finding a number of good mid-range hotels along the beach. There are top end hotels as well, some are on exclusive resorts (such as Vinpearl), but there are some in the city centre. Budget guest houses are also available.
There are a number of bars and nightclubs in the town, covering a spectrum of trendiness and noisiness, to smaller, more intimate establishments. I was there on a Saturday night and a lot of places near our hotel were closing down by 10.30pm, Vietnam is not a late night country. However, I did subsequently find that there are a few streets that open later elsewhere in the town, so if a big party is what you want then this is the place to find. Be warned though, that when places shut down it can get very dark down the streets as there is not a lot of street lighting. Vietnam is not a violent country and crime is low, but there is no point putting yourself at risk so arrange to travel back in a small group or get a metered taxi.
All in all Nha Trang is worth a visit for relaxation and beach time, it is not the best destination for culture or experiencing authentic Vietnam, but it you are in need of some chill time then this is a good place to stop for a few days, as the beach is lovely.
Nha Trang sits in the south of Vietnam a bit under halfway between Ho Chi Minh right in the south of the country and Hoi An in central Vietnam. Nha Trang boasts some of the nicest beaches in Vietnam; with outlying islands, plentiful marine life and coral reefs it is also one of the best places in Vietnam to go scuba diving. However despite the natural beauty of Nha Trang it has become increasingly more touristy and therefore more crowded and more subsceptible to the issues of mass tourism. Despite thisd you can still get away and explore the pleasant examples of Cham architecture in the town and enjoy some of the outlying beauty with walks down the sweeping main beach and boat trips to the islands.
Whilst I was in Nha Trang I didn't take in too many of the museums and sights deciding more to relax on the beach and leave the sight seeing to places such as Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh. However I did make it out to the Po Nagar Cham Towers just outside the city which are well worth a look and a good example of Hindu architecture. These are really interesting and a good way to spend an hour or so off the beach!
Whilst I was in Nha Trang I headed out on a boat trip and took in a few of the outlying islands pausing for some snorkelling and a wander around on one of the islands called Hon Mieu which has a good aquariumand also Hon Tre which is beautiful and has a lovely fine, white sand beach to relax on!
Many tour operators will offer trips out to the islands and also tours of the area. The Sinh Cafe is a solid bet for a boat trip but check your guide book for the exact location of the store as there are a few fakes dotted around the city! For accommodation I would suggest the Perfume Grass Inn which has a great cafe itself and then some fantastic rooms - if you go upstairs you can get sea views! The nightlife in Nha Trang is pretty lively, I would recommend checking out Crazy Kim's which is really friendly and collects for a good cause as well in vulnerable street children. Atms are easy to find and use in town and there are abundance of other facilites in town such as a post office and internet cafes.
Nha Trang is worth a stop off to chill and relax but is becoming more mainstream, it is worth considering Mui Ne (just to the south of Nha Trang) if you only have time for one beachy place.
My time in Vietnam was running out and there was one more place I wanted to visit: Nha Trang. From what the internet and my Lonely Planet were telling me, it seemed like a pretty fun coastal town with plenty of things to do.
As the bus journey from Ho Chi Minh City takes around 10 hours, I decided to take the sleeper bus overnight. This was a pretty good decision, as I know it would have been hard to hack such a long journey sitting upright! The beds weren't exactly comfortable though- maybe if you're a tiny Asian, but not if you're an overweight Westerner struggling to keep everything from dangling off the side like I was! I recommend asking fellow travellers for advice on which company to travel with, and also shopping around, as often different travel agents book people onto the same bus for varying prices!
I arrived in Nha Trang in the early hours of the morning, after surviving the night thanks to my MP3 player and an eye mask. My first impressions were good; it looked beautiful.
After trying my hardest to avoid the touts and hotel owners the bus driver dropped us off in front of, I managed to find a nice place to stay- Nice Hotel, which really was quite nice. My friend and I shared a decent sized room with an en-suite and two double beds for $7.
So, what is there to do in Nha Trang? The obvious attraction here is the beach. Unfortunately when I was there, the sea tended to be quite wavey (for want of a better word!) and it wasn't particularly tempting so I stuck to reading a book on the beach, relaxing. Lots of people will come up to you and try to sell you stuff- if you don't want it, be polite but firm! If they think they might crack you, and make you buy something, they'll probably keep on and on trying to sell you their food!
If you fancy a day being cultural, take a trip to the Lam Son Pagoda (Giant Seated Buddha). It is visible from the city down below sometimes, which is pretty cool. Beware of people asking you to donate money to the school, which is what they asked me, I'm pretty sure it was as scam as the LP says that they do the same thing but ask for donations for the monks. Either way, don't be forced into parting with your money if you don't want to.
One thing I enjoyed was the Long Thahn photo gallery. If you love black and white photography, this really is the place to visit. He is a really famous photographer in Viet Nam, and takes pictures of the daily life in his country. You can also buy these photos if you wish. The only thing I had a problem with is the fact that Asia is so colourful; I felt making the photos black and white wasn't the best thing to do for every picture.
Nha Trang is famous for diving, and it tends to cost around $50 for 2 dives for someone like me who had never done it before. There are tons of diving centres around, so shop around, see which people you click with more and feel the safest with. There are a few little islands around the coast of Nha Trang, and this is where they take you diving. The water is super clear, and there are so many beautiful and interesting fish to be seen. I definitely recommend it; the highlight for me was seeing a rainbow coloured fish with neon green lips!
The last thing I did in Nha Trang was visit the Po Ngar Cham Towers. My friend and I actually took a cyclo there, I felt pretty bad for the driver but we paid him well! I wouldn't really recommend this for anyone not interested in seeing even more pagodas. I really wasn't interested, I found it quite repetitive and was done in about 15 minutes. My friend enjoyed it a lot more than I did though.
There's a great night life in this town. Plenty of backpackers/foreigners around having a great time. I personally enjoyed Guava, but Why Not? is popular too, especially for its buckets of "cocktails" for 800,000 dong! They include 2 and a half bottles of spirits from what I recall, so definitely one for sharing!
Overall I really enjoyed my stay at Nha Trang. I loved being in a smaller city compared to Saigon, the accommodation was also cheaper than the capital (no surprises there) and it was nice to be able to walk everywhere.
Nha Trang is located on the south central Vietnam coast and is one of the country's largest and best known beach resorts-for foreign and domestic tourists alike. However, whilst the beaches are still beautiful strips of white sand unfortunately the town has given into large scale development and can feel like any other international beach resort with high rises running along the coastal front.
Reaching Nha Trang is simple with a domestic airport serving locations across Vietnam. Taxis are around 250,000 dong into the town centre and a bus also runs. The city is also a main stop on Vietnam's railway line running from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh. Buses connect the town to just about anywhere in the country and the bus station is a 15 minute walk from the centre at 58, 23 Thang 10. Many tourist buses drop and pickup from the town centre and/or hotels.
Due to the high concentration of tourists, Nha Trang has become quite dangerous. Theft and pickpocketing are very common so always be careful of your belongings particularly on the beaches. There are also numerous scams (a common one being pretty girls enticing men into bars where they are robbed or forced to pay ridiculous prices for a beer) and moto drivers taking tourists home after a night out have been known to drive into a set up where the tourist is robbed. Violent crime seems relatively rare but it is better to be in a group particularly at night.
As with most of Vietnam the quality of the cuisine is high. There is everything from street snacks to international restaurants and, of course, an abundance of fresh, excellent seafood. Meals are normally around US$5. The centre of the town has many tourist-orientated bars and the town has a good party atmosphere especially aimed at the backpacking crowd. Beer, wine, spirits and cocktails are available.
As far as sights and activities go, most people spend most of their time chilling out on the crystal clean beaches that run the length of the coast. Bars and restuarants offer shaded recliners for a small charge or on condition of ordering something. There is little shade otherwise on the beach. The sea is clean and inviting but be aware there is a fair current.
There are also numerous islands (some of which can be visited by boat tour) with the most famous as Bamboo or Hon Tre Island. It is a casualty of super-over-development and it's biggest claim to fame as having the world's longest chair lift does not justify a trip to overcrowded hell. One to avoid unless you are a tackiness lover.
Scuba is popular here although not as much so as in Thailand. Dives are around US$40-50 and PADI courses are offered. Rainbow is usually highly recommended but ask around on the ground as things can change fast. Remember cheap can mean cutting corners.
Great beach town in South Vietnam.
We stayed at a lovely little hotel (Phu Que) with a gorgeous roof terrace with hammocks and sun loungers, and a great breakfast service (they bring it up to the terrace for you!).
The beach is nice and there are a number of bars/restaurants along it with their own deckchairs and sunloungers.
Probably the best thing in my opinion is the waterpark which sits on Vin Pearl island which you can see from the main beach in Nha Trang. You get a cable car (~10mins) across there and there are some breathtaking views. In the park there are probably about 10-15 water slides, a wave pool and a lazy river. There are also a number of mechanical rides and a mini rollercoaster too. The view of the sunset from the island is unmissable.
There is quite good nightlife in Nha Trang with a number of bars and clubs open late. I personally didn't think the food there was as good as some other places we'd been in Vietnam but there are so many restaurants i'm sure everyone can find something to their liking.
My only downside of Nha Trang is that it's a bit more built up and 'resorty' than some of the other beaches in Vietnam so the locals didn't seem as friendly and we seemed to pay higher prices for everything there.
We stayed in this beach resort a couple of years ago in a tour of Vietnam. We came in by bus on route from Saigon via Mui Ne. We flew out from the airport to Hanoi. The airport is about an hours drive out of town and is very basic.
We stayed in the main hotel on the beach - the Nha Trang lodge which has great views overlooking the long sandy beach. The hotel is lovely and we negotiated a deal on the rack room rate by threatening to go elsewhere. There are lots of hostel type places but we decided to upgrade.
The beach is long and sandy with loungers and plenty of places to get a drink. You do get hassled by people wanting to sell you things. We did by some nice pictures that we got framed when we got home. The beach comes to life in early evening when all the locals descend. There is a long boulevard along the front full of locals driving up and down.
In the evening there are lots of places to eat and drink and there is a thriving night life. The easiest way to get around is to use a moped taxi. They often hang around hotels and bars.
Day trips include a tour of the local area which we didn't both with. There are lots of boat trips to islands. The snorkelling is excellent and I'm sure the scuba diving would be as well.
I went to Nha Trang feeling a little bit out of the ordinary as I am half-American and have a very broad American accent. However, I had nothing to fear. As I was flying over Nha Trang looking out of the window I saw some of the most beautiful sites, that I think I will ever see in my life. Nha Trang is located on the coast of Vietnam and has a number of small islands surrounding it. These are alive with trees, and animals of all kinds. Hotels: The Hotels in Nha Trang vary from what you are looking for. If you want something that is very cheap and some where just to sleep then you can get rooms for 2 dollars a night, sorry but most things are paid for in dollars so if I refure to them a lot I am sorry as it is what I paid in. You are also able to get hotels, which are a little more expensive around25 dollars a night and these are, nicer rooms, doubles with breakfast included. However you can if you wish go for more expensive hotels and spend anything from 200-300 dollars a night in some very nice hotels there. Almost all of the hotels are on the beach or within short walking distance, and stalls and shops surround most. Restaurants: In Nha Trang there are a number of different types of restaurants local and foreign. I would say a word to the wise that you will probably get some upset stomachs if you eat at local restaurants, this is not a definite but you are at risk, however I do recommend that you do eat at the local restaurants at some point in your stay, as you can sample the lovely Vietnam's food which is spicy and very good. I recommend the Noodle Soup of any kind as I have found that this is one of the best dishes. Other Restaurants that you can eat in is at Rainbow Cafe this is a bunch of different restaurants where you can eat Italian, Vietnam's or Sea Food. The food here is very good although quite a lot more expensive then at some of the local restaurants. Sites: There are m
any things you can do here in Nha Trang and I suggest that you try all of them, you can go diving, and if you go I suggest that you go with Rainbow Diver's this is due to Jeremy who is a Dive Master and is the best in Vietnam he is also British and a great guy, I did a Rescue Diver Course with him and hope to go back and do my Master's with him. The diving here is amazing as although the visibility was not that great, I saw an amazing world of species that I could only hope to see, such as Sea Slugs (all of amazing colours) and many other marine life, with plants of all different colours. You can also go on boat trips and I recommend that you go on Mama Hun's Boat Trip, which you can find in the Rainbow Bar, as it is great and you will never eat so much or drink so in much in your life. You are taken all the different islands to swim, laugh, and dance. You can also go on tours of neighbouring islands that I did not actually go on myself however have been told it is amazing. Entertainment: There are only a few places, which you can really go for entertainment however these are definitely not lacking. The Rainbow Bar is again the place to go, as you are looked after great, and after a number of free drinks which I have no idea what was in them you will be dancing away. There are a number of people there who will get you in the mood even if you are not such as a lovely fellow called Jeff, who is the Rainbow Bar's official Party Organizer and I have to say he never gets drunk no matter, how much he drinks. Transport: The only way to really go around Nha Trang is either by walking or cyclo. The cyclo is one of the fastest and best ways to go however I feel, as you get to see more and most of the cyclo drivers are very nice, with some knowing a little English and talking to you. However, some will try to ripe you off so only pay them what you feel is reasonable and about 5,000 dong is about what you usually pay.
Are you ever in Danger? I felt never in danger even walking the streets at very late hours. You do have to watch out for pick-pockets and pretty boys, however they do not try and harm you and only want your money, and most if you ask them will give you back your wallet (minus the money of course). Sunset: I have to recommend that if anyone goes to Nha Trang that they watch the sunset as it is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life. The colours are just so amazing, and indescribable that no pictures would ever do it justice you just have to see it for yourself. So if anyone is thinking about going to Vietnam I suggest that they at least go to Nha Trang for a few days as it is a town full of culture and life. You will definitely not regret going.
North of Ho Chi Minh, on the coast, lies the beautiful town of Nha Trang, which is well worth spending a few days in if you are visiting this amazing country. Arriving by train is probably the most comfortable means of getting there, but if you are coming from Hanoi it is more likely that you will be arriving at around 3am (the train from Ho Chi Minh arrives during the day). If you have the money then flying there is also an option. It is about 11 hours in a minibus from Ho Chi Minh. We arrived on the Hanoi train (a 30 hour journey) and rather than follow the touts around town in the middle of the night, decided to sit around the station until day break at least before venturing into town and finding a hostel. Sitting on a bench outside the station we were treated to an impromptu live (one man) sex show as a local, whose sleeping bench was opposite ours, decided to have a wafty crank whilst staring at us. A fine welcome. Nha Trang is best known for its beautiful beach, which is a fantastic hang out for a sunny day/week or two. It is amazingly clean and quiet with palm trees, white sands and blue sea, and a spectacular backdrop of hills surrounding the bay. There are also a number of stalls along the roadside that runs along the sea front, under the shade of some giant trees, where you can buy drinks and ice creams. The sea can get quite rough and the undercurrents strong when the weather turns, so hang on to your swimming trunks/ bikini bottoms tightly because once its got them you never see them again (but that’s another story). Also beware the seldom giant wave which strikes whilst you are wading around looking for your friends clothes amongst the surf. This one washes further up the shore than all of the rest put together and no matter how safe and dry you think your towel, book, walkman are… If the weather has turned you could do worse than sitting in one of the ice-cream cafes in town and watch the world go by for a coupl
e of hours. Not only do they serve the meanest banana splits, but whole stories from soap operas are acted out in front of you as the locals go about their daily business and you are bound to witness some minor road accident that stirs things up a bit. The Banana Split Café itself also has a lemon vodka on the menu for around 5000 dong (about 25p), a long tall glass of mostly vodka and a hint of lemon. If you want to drink with the rest of the tourists in town then head to the Nha Trang Sailing Club on the sea front. It kicks off most nights with a bit of a disco and a number of drunken laughs, but it is a bit pricey. On a more serious side to life and travelling in Vietnam, you will hear stories of the enormity of paedophilia. In Nha Trang the residents have taken the step to print hundreds of T-shirts for the local young children to wear which say ‘Child Sex is a Crime’ and ‘Enfant + Sexe C’est Criminel’. It is a shocking site to see a child wearing one of these T-shirts, and an excellent cause that you can easily afford to donate money to. Nha Trang has a stunning Hindu (?) Temple complex that is well worth a visit, although you will be charged three times the price as the locals to get in to see it. And, as with a lot of places in this part of the world, there is also a Giant Seated Buddha perched atop a hill near the railway station with great views of the town. Perhaps the biggest tourist attraction in town, and the least written about, is Mamma Hanh’s Boat Trip. A legend amongst travellers in this part of the world, Mamma Hanh’s Boat Trip costs around $10 and takes you out into the bays many islands for a days swimming and lounging around whilst Mamma Hanh herself forces food, booze and spliffs to anyone in need. If it rains the boat trip will be cancelled so don’t bother getting out of bed, but dates are easily transferable. The local police know all about what happens on the boat an
d most of your ticket price will go as a backhander for turning a blind eye. If you are fortunate to be exploring this amazing country Nha Trang is (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again) definitely worth a visit, even during the rainy season.