Nha Trang is one of Vietnam’s most popular beach destinations thanks to its long, sandy beach, fine accommodation and lively nightlife. It also provides a great base from which to explore natural attractions such as the Ba Ho Waterfalls together with historic places of interest like the Ponagar Towers which date back to the ancient Champa Kingdom. The resort has long been popular with Vietnamese tourists but now sees many overseas visitors arriving via the nearby international airport at Cam Ranh. Accommodation is plentiful ranging from budget hostels in the city centre to exclusive 5-star resorts on some of the nearby islands.
Tourist Attractions in Nha Trang
Ponagar Towers: Overlooking the estuary where the the Cai River enters Nha Trang to the north of Tran Phu Beach is the city’s main historic attraction. These four towers were built by the Cham people between 8th and 11th centuries and are still used by some local people as a place of worship.
Long Son Pagoda: Visitors who walk up the many steps to this Buddhist temple in the city centre are rewarded with tremendous views over Nha Trang. Other than the view the main attraction at the top is a large, white Buddha seated on a lotus blossom.
Nha Tho Nui Cathedral: The city’s Catholic Cathedral dates back to the late 19th century when it was built by French missionaries. Standing in the city centre near the railway station it is a fine example of French Gothic architecture and is one of Nha Trang’s main religious sites.
Vinpearl Land Nha Trang: Located on Hon Tre Island across the bay from Nha Trang this theme park provides a world of entertainment which includes water slides, an aquarium and a zoo. It can be reached by means of an amazing cable car ride from the mainland.
Best Day Excursions from Nha Trang
Ba Ho Waterfalls: Surrounded by rainforest some 35km north of Nha Trang these waterfalls are popular for cliff jumping and swimming. They are best reached as part of an organised excursion along the coast and through some breathtaking countryside. Such trips often include visits to Monkey Island, the Hon Khoi Salt Fields and the beautiful Doc Let Beach.
Thap Ba Mud Bath: This is a great escape from the city which lies just 6km north of downtown Nha Trang. Visitors can relax in the therapeutic mud baths, swimming pools, sauna and jacuzzi before dining at one of the centre’s restaurants.
Suoi Do Pagoda: Lying 15km inland from Nha Trang this secluded Buddhist temple stands on the top of a mountain from where visitors are treated to spectacular views over the surrounding countryside. It’s a difficult place to get to independently so an organised excursion is recommended.
Scuba Diving: Nha Trang Bay is a great place to learn to scuba dive with one of the PADI Dive Centres which ply their trade along this coast. More experienced divers can visit Octopus Rock which is home to a natural cave with underwater tunnels.
Arriving in Nha Trang
Getting There: Located some 435km north-east of Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang is one of the country’s most visited holiday resorts. It stands on the main coast road so is well served by tourist bus services and has a stop for the Reunification Express which is a train service running between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Many tourists arrive by air at the nearby Cam Ranh Airport. Nha Trang also attracts a number of cruise ships which dock at the Cau Da Port Pier just south of the main resort area.
Nha Trang Airport: With around 10 million annual passengers travelling through its terminals, Nha Trang’s Cam Ranh Airport is one of the busiest in the country. It is located 35km south of the city and welcomes mainly international arrivals from the likes of Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Hong Kong. It also has frequent domestic connections with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Airport Transfers: The cheapest way to get from Cam Ranh into Nha Trang is on one of the airport minibuses which run to the south of the resort’s main tourist area. Alternatively, you can take a fixed price taxi from outside the terminal or pre-book a private transfer from Nha Trang Airport On arrival your driver will transport you to any hotels in Nha Trang or the surrounding region.
Getting Around: Whilst most visitors will be able to see the centrally located attractions on foot, a fun way to get around is on a small group cycling tour which takes in some of the surrounding countryside. Regular taxis and mototaxis are also widely available. Local tour operators offer day excursions by land and sea which provide a great way to get out of the city and discover some of the natural attractions in the vicinity of Nha Trang.
Where to Stay in Nha Trang
There are three main areas to consider when booking accommodation is Nha Trang:
Downtown: This is the best choice for backpackers and other budget travellers. The area has plenty affordable accommodation within walking distance of the beach and most of the city’s main attractions.
Tran Phu Beach: This is the main beach area of Nha Trang which is home to a wide range of accommodation including mid-range hotels and luxury resorts. This busy area provides ready access to the beach as well as the best of the resort’s nightlife which includes many bars and restaurants. This is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a lively place to stay in the centre of the action.
Offshore Islands: Wealthier travellers will find a number of luxury resorts on the islands of Ninh Van Bay and Van Phong Bay. These upmarket destinations are great for relaxing family holidays in quiet locations which are well geared up to providing entertainment for children. There’s little on these islands in the way of nightlife.
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