Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most famous seaside resort-town. It's more lively and urban in character than other beach destinations like Mui Ne and Phu Quoc. It's also the scuba diving center of Vietnam.
Nha Trang, also known as the Riviera of the South China Sea, offers a six-kilometre stretch of beautiful coastline with white sandy beaches, clear waters with an abundance of marine life and thriving reefs, verdant mountain ranges at each end, as well as 19 untouched islets that are just a short boat ride away. Offering a myriad of sightseeing and recreational activities, the coastal town itself is steeped with breath-taking structures that date back to the Champa Kingdom, Buddhist temples, and gothic-style Catholic churches, as well as natural hot springs, salt fields, and unique waterfalls.
Catering to any budget level and preference, Nha Trang restaurants serve up fresh seafood and Vietnamese cuisine while lively bars and pubs along the pristine beach are favourite hangouts for tourists to watch the sun sets over the East Sea. To help you get started on your travel plans, we have compiled all the essential information you need to know about Nha Trang, from the best time to visit to where to stay in this popular coastal town.
- National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam, 01 Cau Da (on the left of the commercial port entrance). Open 7AM-4PM. This is like an aquarium with popular and rare species of the sea. A perfect place to bring kids as they will get to see sharks, turtles, coral reefs, lionfish, sea horses, and many other creatures.
- NhaTranglive, Thong Nhat Street & 2 thang 4 Street. (near Cho Dam Market), Free maps of city, drinks and tour travel guide book. Free use of wireless and computers. Largest collection of local painting by artists that lives in the area.
- Alexandre Yersin Museum, 10 Tran Phu St. This is a scientific museum of a Swiss-born, Dr. Alexandre Yersin (1863-1943), who arrived in Vietnam in 1891 to study infected animals. He then later on produced a serum from horses and buffaloes. In this museum, you will be able to view all of his work as well as his equipment. Yersin never went back to Switzerland as he spent the rest of his life in Nha Trang. Don’t try to take pictures. Do respect the rules since they're quite serious here.
- Long Son Pagoda, Thai Nguyen St. Free admission. Open 8AM-5PM. At this pagoda, you will see a 79 ft. tall white Buddha. The pagoda was established in 1963 to honour the monks and nuns who died demonstrating against the Diem government. Beware of cheaters claiming they are students studying in the temple demanding that you offer a donation to the school before going up the pagoda. These "students" have no affiliation to the school and entry to the pagoda absolutely is free. Also beware that parking for motorbikes and bicycles are absolutely free (signs posted in Vietnamese indicates free parking.) Do not pay the 5,000 dong parking fee to the scammers near the gate. Instead, drive directly in, past the vegetarian restaurant, and park where the security guards are. Be aware of scammers holding incense sticks, they will hand you three incense sticks as you approach the Buddha and will trail behind you slowly before telling you what to do with them and then charging you as you walk out for using the sticks.
- Po Nagar Cham Towers, 2 Thang 4 St. Open daily 7:30AM-5PM. These four brick towers were built by the Cham civilization between the 7th and 12th century to honor Yang Ino Po Ngar, mother of the kingdom, and the incense aroma emanating from within makes it clear that this remains a religious site for the local Buddhists of Nha Trang today. The longevity of these last vestiges of a once-dominant South East Asian civilisation should impress temple enthusiasts even if the insensitive restoration and surrounding mass of tourists don't. The small complex sits on a hill which enjoys views across Nha Trang's fishing village. It is a 20-25 minute walk (or short motorbike ride) from the main beach strip, however be prepared to wander through the 'real' Nha Trang, quite a shocking change from the showy built up beach side resort.
- Nha Trang Cathedral. Located a few minutes away from the train station, the cathedral shows the influence of French Catholicism. It's a Quaint, free and quick sight to see. The Nha Trang area still has a strong Catholic population. There are Catholic Shops located around the Cathedral.
- Thanh Dien Khanh Fortress. The Dien Khanh Citadel is situated on Dien Khanh Townlet, Dien Khanh District, Khanh Hoa Province. The Citadel was built by the French officer Olivier de Puymanel for Nguyễn Ánh in 1793 with an area of 36,000 square meters according to the Vauban military architecture which was popular in Western Europe in 17th - 18th centuries. The citadel's wall was in an inequilateral hexagon of 3.5m height. The outer face was vertically constructed while the inner was a little bit sloping by two terraces forming a favorable pavement. Inside the corners, there were large fields which were convenient for military resident. On the top of corners there stood fortresses of 2m high with canons above. On the roof of the citadel, there planted closet bamboo and other barricade trees. Surrounding the citadel were moats of 4 to 5 meters deep, 10 meters wide, flooded by water. At first the citadel had 6 gates but nowadays it remains only 4 ones which are East Gate, West Gate, Front Gate (to the South), Back Gate (to the North). There had been here royal palace, private residents of feudal mandarins, warehouses and jails... Dien Khanh is one of the oldest citadels in the south of Vietnam and it is one of the precious vestiges for studying ancient citadels.
- Monkey Island, (20km north of Nha Trang). Catch a ferry to Monkey Island, which is full of monkeys, has a 10AM circus and simple go-cart track. Two way ferry ticket is 120 000 dong as of January 2014. The place closes down at around 5 pm. It can be reached on local buses №1 and 2.
- Bai Duong Beach, (1.5 km north on Tran Phu street over the main bridge). Bai Duong beach is smaller than in the main tourist area. The beach has a gentler grade, and warmer waters, and is also calmer, cleaner, and ideal for swimming.
- [Yang Bay Waterfalls], (40 km west of Nha Trang). At the [Yang Bay waterfalls] the Vietnamese have built up a concrete beach. It used to be a lot nicer before they built it but it is still a very nice place to visit. You can swim there, and walk around in the area. Bringing your own food and drink is recommended.
- Ba Ho waterfalls, Near Ba Ho village (Approximately 20Kms North of Nha Trang - cross the bridge closest to the sea and stick to it for the safest and most scenic route). A series of three waterfalls and a quite fast flowing at (some points) river tucked away in the forest. Its a good one hour trip from Nha trang by moterbike through some rougher rural road tracks ( especially in the wet season ) If you get a flat tire it can be fixed by the locals for a small fee. The turn off from the main highway north of Nha Trang is hard to miss (there is now a blue Ba Ho sign and arrow). Most locals along the road should be able to point it out. from the turn off its a straight track to follow to the river, there are limited amenities there although you can buy food, like rice and chicken and cold beers or soft drinks are also for sale from locals who will guide ( Follow ) you up through the forest this is preferable to having to carry your own food and drink and the prices are reasonable a small premium for their trouble, the "guides " are pleasant enough showing you short cuts and footholds higher up the track. Taxis and motorbike guides are available in Nha Trang to take you there but its not too difficult to find yourself and in better weather, a pleasant drive, if you're confident on a motorbike. be warned though that going off road on hired bikes can incur damage which you will be liable for. edit
- Sailing – Get a group together and hire a captain for about US$40 for the best sailing experience. Call the Nha Trang Sailing Club, +84 58 826528 for more information.
- Surfing - Head out to The Shack for surf lessons. Run by Tippy, this bar/restaurant/surf club is a great palce to spend a day relaxing. The Shack is located in Bai Dai beach about 21.6 km south of Nha Trang. Visit their website for info. Since 2014, there's also a small hostel right at the beginning of Bai Dai beach, called the Surfer's Club Hostel. Accomodation is simple (1 dorm with a couple of beds), but very affordable and the Australian owner is great company and you can use his barbecue to grill some delicious self-made burgers and Australian sausages. Single Fin Surf School firstname.lastname@example.org or call +84 971 535910) also runs surf lessons daily in the surf season (from September to May). Students of the school enjoy complimentary transfers from Nha Trang City Centre to the surf spots out on Bai Dai Beach and Cam Ranh and back. They also do surfboard rentals and organise surf trips on request.
- Biking and Rafting Tour, 1/12 Tran Quang Khai St, Combination fast 30km downhill biking passing through minority village and meeting Raglai people. Then a 12km rafting trip down the Cai River.
- Relaxing – Thap Ba natural hotsprings: a must-have experience at an amazingly cheap price,(4$/pax) for the mineral pool and from 12.5/pax for the mudbath (incl.the mineral pool). More of you there are, the less it costs. Located on the outskirt of the city, this place provides the most relaxing services you can imagine ("hot" mud bath, mineral water bath and hot water pool and massages also available). "Hot" mud is really only tepid/warm, defeating the advertised health benefits. But still a unique experience.
- Swimming Pools. Obviously people come here to swim in the sea but there are also a number of swimming pools around. Louisiane Brewhouse has a good one and free to use but costs 25,000 dong to hire a soft sun-lounger. The Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang hotel coffee shop in Yersin Street has a small, shady pool for free use. A number of mid-range hotels also have pools some of which can be used by non-guests. Sea and Sun Hotel has a nice rooftop pool and costs 70,000 dong for non-guests. There is also an Olympic size outdoor swimming pool in Nha Trang that is hardly used but is used by many of the scuba diving companies for training purposes. It costs only 15,000 dong. Its a fair distance away from the main tourist area on the south side of the city, ask someone who works in a scuba diving shop for directions.
- Hiking. Hike up Co Tien (Fairy) Mountain for excellent views. You will see a dilapidated grey building next to a construction yard. Walk along the right side of the grey building, behind it you will see the start of the path up. Can be accomplished in 1.5-2 hours. Approximate height: 800m. Bai Duong Beach is close by.
- Mud bath:
Sitting in a tub of mud feels as odd as it sounds, but it has become a quintessential Nha Trang experience. The mud is purported to have all sorts of healthy, healing properties. There are four places to test out this theory, and the facilities include jacuzzis, mineral water swimming pools and other novelties for a full day hydrotherapy extravaganza. And for a laugh, how about an egg-themed park?
If you believe the marketing, the salty mineral water and mud baths will remove dead skin cells, deposit minerals into your body, strengthen bones, increase “dieresis”, reduce stress and fatigue, relieve aches, pains, rheumatism and trauma, make your skin smooth and fine, reduce blood sugar, “help balance reduction in chloride” and aid with urinary tract issues – keep that one in mind as you sit in a tub with strangers.
Thap Ba Hot Spring, six kilometres from downtown Nha Trang, is cheap and the most popular, which means it is usually crawling with people. A spot in a “collective” mineral mud bath (in other words, a shared tub of cold mud) is 150,000 VND. The reception will always try to upsell you on a private tub, 400,000 VND for one person, 600,000 VND for two
Thap Ba Hot Spring
15 Ngoc Son, Ngoc Hiep
T: (058) 383 5345
Open daily 07:00-19:00
Mud baths start at 150,000 VND
100 Egg Mud Bath (Tram Trung)
Nguyen Tat Thanh Blvd, Phuoc Dong
T: (058) 3711 733
19 Xuan Ngoc, Vinh Ngoc
T: (058) 3838 838
Open daily 07:00-20:00
Mud baths start at 230,000 VND per adult
Galina Hotel and Spa
5 Hung Vuong
T: (058) 383 9999
Open daily 08:00-21:00
Mud bath only, starts at 250,000 VND per adult