Discover Nha Trang, Vietnam

attractions - Nha Trang: Nov. 1, 2013

Nha Trang Vietnam is known for its beaches and scuba diving sites and is a popular destination for both local and international tourists looking for a spot of relaxation or a splash of adventure. The city was known as Kauthara under the Champa and visitors can still see the famous Po Nagar Tower perched on a hilltop at the mouth of the river. The ancient Champa temple was restored by a local king in 784 AD after being ransacked by invaders who made off with its treasure.

While Nha Trang is a centre for marine science based at the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute, it is now better known for its fun-in-the-sun lifestyle. If you prefer your crustaceans cooked and plated, Nha Trang is the best place in Vietnam to have lobster. Tran Phu Street, one of Vietnam’s most scenic drives, runs along the ocean and is known as the Pacific Coast Highway of Vietnam. If you don’t have time for driving, fear not: your taxi will follow this road to the airport.

Nha Trang has perhaps the most beautiful but dangerous beach in Vietnam. The continental shelf in Nha Trang, unlike in Phan Thiet or Vung Tau, doesn’t fall gently but rather, drops suddenly. You can find yourself in two-metre deep water only three-metres from the shore. Add strong underwater riptides near shoreline, and it’s clear you must stay cautious. Heed the Danger Zone signs place along the beach, and you’ll be fine.

From the beach, you can see Hon Tre Island (Bamboo Island), a tropical paradise complete with a five-star resort and theme park. The world’s longest motorised cable car system links the resort to the theme park. The myriad of other islands in the bay, from Hon Tam, the setting of an extensive eco-resort, to Hon Lao, the home to troops of wild monkeys, will ensure that your stay is extraordinary.

If you’re looking for a quieter beach with less powerful waves and wind, try Cam Ranh, 45 km south of Nha Trang. The beaches there are not overburdened with tourists, so while the service can be lacking, the wilderness is well worth discovering.

Via bus, it will take 8 hours to reach Nha Trang from Mui Ne. The Vietnamese government is currently reviewing plans for upgrading the country’s rail system, including the construction of a high-speed route from HCMC to Nha Trang. This track would make the travel time equivalent to the current travel time from Saigon to Vung Tau (3 hours). Until then, your only alternative via rail will take 7 to 8 hours.