Nha Trang is a hot spot for luxury travelers, budget back-packers, ex-pats, and everyone in between. The southern Vietnamese city is known for its lively nightlife and flashy downtown area, however there’s more to Nha Trang than partying and shopping. Check out our list of the 6 coolest things you can do while visiting Nha Trang:
1. Lounge on the Beaches
There’s certainly no shortage of beaches in Nha Trang. The city is known for its sandy shorelines. The most accessible beach from the city center is Tran Phu Beach. The long strip of sand runs parallel to the Nha Trang’s famous waterfront promenade, Tran Phu Street. Pop by for a quick swim or rent a lounge chair and post up for the day at the city’s most popular beach.
Hon Chong Beach, separated from Tran Phu by a rocky peninsula, is a more chilled out version of the former. The sheltered cove hosts a few chilled-out coffee shops and seafood restaurants. Climb the rocks out into the sea and be rewarded with great views of Tran Phu and the other little bays nearby.
If you want to beat the crowds, head to Bai Dai Beach, 25 kilometers south of the city center. This beach is far less crowded and more secluded than the city beaches. There aren’t much in the way of amenities nearby, but this only adds to its laid-back vibes.
2. Go Scuba Diving or Snorkeling
Nha Trang’s coast is surrounded by 12,000 hectares of protected water known as Hon Mun Marine Protected Area. Snorkelers and scuba divers can feast their eyes on shallow coral reefs and many colorful tropical fish just off shore. If you’re already a certified diver, Nha Trang is a nice place to go for an easy fun dive. It’s also one of the cheapest places in the world to get a scuba license if you aren’t already a certified diver. The shallow water and abundance of marine life make Nha Trang a great place for new or inexperienced divers.
There are plenty of dive shops in Nha Trang and most of the prices for fun dives and courses are consistent with one another. It’s important to feel comfortable and safe with whichever dive school you choose, so shop around a little bit before settling on who to dive with.
The high season for diving is between April and October with the best water conditions in July and August.
3. Visit Po Nagar Cham Towers
A few kilometers north of the city center on the bank of the Cai River lies the ancient site of Po Nagar Cham Towers. The temple complex was constructed by the Cham people between the 8th and 11th centuries. The Cham, who presided over central Vietnam at the time, were renowned for their architectural skills throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. The striking red brick towers and 25-meter shrine were built to honor Po Nagar, the wife of Shiva and the Hindu goddess of agriculture and weaving.
There are also three other shrines within the complex honoring Shiva, Ganesh, and the fertility goddess, Cri Cambhu.
4. Trek to Ba Ho Waterfalls
The waterfall trek to Ba Ho, a triple cascading waterfall in northern Nha Trang, is a popular day trip from the city. The trailhead begins about 20 kilometers from the city and the entrance fee is less than $1. The first 30-minutes of the trail is easy walking to the first of the three waterfalls. After that, it’s a scramble over big boulders and through the stream to reach the second and third waterfall which are tucked within the dense jungle. Here you will be able to relax on the rocks and swim in the pool beneath the waterfalls.
5. Play at Vinpearl Land
Nha Trang’s amusement park island is the perfect place to spend a day away from the city. Just getting to the island is a thrill. The 3,320-meter long cable car whisks visitors over the sea and provides gorgeous views of Nha Trang and the bay left behind. Vinpearl Land features waterslides, a wave pool, a “lazy river”, aquarium, and a variety of other rides and games. The aquarium, which has a 300-meter long motorized walkway, is the largest of its kind in Vietnam. The Food Village overlooks the sea and is a favorite spot to grab a bite. There’s also a sandy beach within the park as well as a shopping center selling handicrafts, souvenirs, and brand name clothing.
6. Bathe in Mud
If you believe the health effects of soaking in mineral rich mud, then the Thap Ba Hot Springs should be on your must-do Nha Trang list. The city’s oldest spa is located 6km north of Nha Trang on the Cai River and is one of the most popular in the area. The locals believe that a trip to these mineral-rich hot springs detoxifies the body, soothes sore muscles, removes dead skin cells, and rejuvenates the skin. A basic package runs under $7 for a 15-minute mineral mud bath followed by a soak in steaming mineral water and topped off with a hydrotherapy session. Want to splurge? There are private VIP rooms, Jacuzzis, swimming pools, full-body massages, acupuncture, and other beauty services available – for a price.
As a relatively modern and built-up city, Nha Trang is a versatile destination that please most visitors. Whether you’re up for some excitement at Vinpearl, relaxation at a mud spa, or an adventure into the Vietnamese jungle, Nha Trang can cater to every traveler’s desires.