Newest Review: ... 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... more
Beach Resort - Vietnamese style.
Nha Trang (Vietnam)
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Nha Trang (Vietnam)
Advantages: Nice beach, variety of activities, good cheap restaurants/cafes
Disadvantages: Can be quite touristy.
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.
Summary: A place for a bit of R & R.