Things to do in Nha Trang

Friday, 17 October 2008 07:34
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Overview 

Nha Trang – a great-viewed sea city

Back to my home, Binh Dinh, to see Father
Then, Phu Yen, to see Mother, and Khanh Hoa, to my Sweet Honey
Khanh Hoa, an aloe wood region
Has high mount, has wide sea, and has our dearests back home!”
- Vietnamese Folk Song –

Khanh Hoa is a South Central Coastal province of Vietnam. It is well known by the attractive beauty of its own capital – Nha Trang. Among its 3 bays, Nha Trang ranks first thanks to 100% pristine beaches, excellent view, gorgeous islands, mountains, and rivers.
Nha Trang not only gets great natural advantages of its geography position, landscape, and climate, but inherits its rich background in culture and humanities as well. Although it is 1,280 km far away from Hanoi and 448 km from Ho Chi Minh city, it is easily accessible for tourists by all means of transport: by road, rail, air and waterway.


Nha Trang Tips

You don't have to move a muscle
It's like staying at a 5-star resort and being waited on hand and foot.

You would spend the whole day on the beach and find that there’s no need to leave. You can buy anything on the beach from fresh fruit for breakfast to freshly prepared crayfish and prawns for lunch, cold drinks, cigarettes, T-shirts, postcards and even English novels.

Nice people
Receiving a gift from someone who can at least afford it means so much. But you may experience this in here if you do something good to a poor person. People here are very nice and possessing very kind and polite gestures.

I want a house boat, don't you?
There are many house boats along the shores of Nha Trang. Many fishermen make their homes here. They take out smaller round boats to make their catch, then return back to these humble abodes.

Lunch
Crayfish from the vendors on the beach is worth trying for your lunch. Some tourists who might have got sick of seafood, but surprisingly do not when having this here. It’s delicious, and served with a very strange but very nice sauce to dip the meat in.

Booze Cruise
An alternative to scuba diving is a cruise around some of Nha Trang's nearby islands. Boats depart in the morning for full day on the ocean. Fare includes lunch, some cheap wine, and snorkeling equipment. You can sign up for a cruise at almost any hotel in Nha Trang. The fare is only around $10.

Lying on the Beach
If you're going to be travelling from North to South, or vice-versa, Nha Trang is a nice place to stop and relax. The beaches are empty during the day. Some locals may think dark complexions are unattractive, so they generally hide from the sun. You can avoid this though, by going to the Rainbow Bar. They offer free beach chairs in an area barred from sellers so you can rest in peace.

Scuba Diving
Whether you're a beginner or an expert, there are plenty of dive companies in Nha Trang to serve you. If you're an experienced diver, Nha Trang might be a bit boring as there isn't a whole lot of coral. Fishermen have destroyed a lot of it with dynamite fishing. However, you may still want to go for it to put another notch in your belt. Nha Trang is a great place to learn how to dive. It's much better than learning in a pool, but not so great that you feel like your missing out on something when you're busy doing drills. Most dive centers offer all levels of PADI certification.

Hot Sands & Bikinis
Sand particles in Nha Trang beach are quite big & they can be quite hot especially around 11:30-14:00. Remember to bring along water sport foot wear (like Nike ACG).

Books for sale
Somewhere people may disturb your lunch or supper trying to sell souvenirs, lottery tickets or plain and simple beg. The Nha Trang variant is selling books. The locals will go buy a range of books at the local bookstore, then selling them through to the tourists. In case you like reading, this will be a wonderful way to buy books. But don't panic: there will be a variation, because you'll also be able to buy candy, cigarettes and so on.

Mosquitos

Beware of mosquitos here, particularly at Sailing club. Even you are covered, you still probably be bit. So be prepared with anti-mosquito gel or the like before using this entertainment kind.

Beach antics
Be careful on the beach at night. Not that you are in much physical danger but as one party going Norwegian found out, if you pass out drunk on the beach, you are likely to wake up sans cash and wallet!

Train station taxis
As with any other city, don't take any taxis right at the train station. They will overcharge you as compared to the normal rate. Just walk down a few blocks and catch a taxi on the street. Don't negotiate any price, just point to the meter and tell them to turn it on.

Hot sun
Being at the sea of Nha Trang, you will feel relatively cool compared to other towns and cities in Vietnam. Make sure you put on lots of sunblock!

Beware of thieves!
Normal thieves, or stealing from prostitution, etc. sometimes appear in this city. So, if you are travelling alone, just be more careful!

Double check local mineral water
Don’t buy a bottle of mineral water from a street vendor, as you may receive some counterfeit. So be check what you have bought before you leave.


 

Accommodation

DIAMOND BAY RESORT & GOLF NHA TRANG4  Stars4  Stars4  Stars4  Stars
Offering a soothing retreat, the Diamond Bay Resort and Golf with its unsurpassed services and accommodation, will make your holiday a memorable and pleasurable one. Set in spacious tropical gardens overlooking Diamond Bay, this resort is placed at the South of Nha Trang City. This property is only a 10-minute drive from the city centre and is 20 minutes drive from the Cam Ranh Airport. Diamond Bay Resort features outstanding conference and banquet facilities for organising your meetings and events. In addition, this resort also offers a boutique of recreational facilities to enhance your physical and mental well being. 20 min drive to the Airport (Cam Ranh)

EVASON ANA MANDARA RESORT 5  Stars5  Stars5  Stars5  Stars5  Stars 
Tran Phu Blvd, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa
Tel: ++84 58 522222
Evason Ana Mandara means, beautiful home for the guests, and this beauty reflects in all the services and luxuries provided by the Ana Mandara Resort and Six Senses Spa Nha Trang. Located directly on the beach off the most famous thoroughfare, Tran Phu Boulevard, the resort rests comfortably on 26,000 square metres of private tropical gardens overlooking the sea. The Cham Room is available for casual seminars, meetings, cocktail receptions or private dinner parties. The Boardroom can be used for smaller and intimate meetings. The resort offers a beautiful swimming pool, a state of the art gymnasium and a spa to pamper you with healing massages and revitalizing beauty treatments.
- 2 km to the City Centre
- 3 km to the Train Station (Nha Trang)


Restaurants, bars

CASA ITALIA
72 Tran Phu St.,
Tel: 826528
An authentic Italian ristorante, serves( excellent pasta and fine wine. Fresh seafood menus can be found there.

RED STAR
14 Biet Thu St.,
Tel: 812790
Excellent seafood in a pleasant atmosphere.

CAFÉ DES AMIS
2D Biet Thu St.,
Tel: 813009
A popular spot with excellent vegetarian fare. The restaurant is decorated with many Vietnamese paintings.

JACK’S BAR
96A Tran Phu St.,
The bar boats a roof terrace overlooking Nha Trang bay, two pool tables, good music and cheap cold beer.

NHA TRANG SAILING CLUB
72 Tran Phu St.,
Tel: 826528
This is an open- air beach bar. It is best known for thumping music, wild dancing, flowing shots, pool and general mayhem. It also offers Vietnamese food.


Things to do in Nha Trang

1. Nha Trang's Attractions

Boat Tour
This is the epitome of tourist travel in Nha Trang. There're several different companies that do these boat tours, and there's ads for them all over town. For approximately $7 (US), you can spend all day aboard a boat. They provide lunch, snack, soft drinks, snorkel gear, and even wine during the floating bar portion of the trip.
Basically, you boat around, swim and snorkel, eat, booze, and visit several different islands off the coast of Nha Trang. One of these island had an aquarium, another had a beach resort where you could paraglide, kayak, windsurf, etc.
If you're looking for an activity in which you can relax, this is definitely it. not shipwrecked - just
enjoying the floating bar

Tran Phu Street
Address: Tran Phu Street, near Yersin crossroads
- the acknowledged most beautiful street in Vietnam.
Nha Trang have many coconut trees lining on the beach... This view is from Tran Phu Street, the most beautiful street in Vietnam.

Mud bath
Directions: Near Ponagar tower, there's a signal outside a little street (allley to be more exact, then you just follow through). Very easy to find.
Here in Nha Trang the mineral mud & geyser were recently found, & it's the beginning of a tourist hype to flood to this place, around 15 mins from the city center.
The mud was very fragrant cos they put mint and some kind of scent in it. It smells like marmalade to me... Heaven!
Remember to bring your swimsuit

Thap Ba Ponagar
Directions: North of Nha Trang, just across the Xom Bong Bridge
Nha Trang was the last stronghold of the Cham, and the Cham towers of Thap Ba Ponagar are some of the finest in Vietnam. They were constructed from the 7th to 12th centuries. Four of the original eight towers remain. Admission is 4,500 dong.
An added bonus is that they are on top of a hill from which you get some great views of Nha Trang.

Self touring in Nha Trang
By showing the driver the post cards, he knew exactly where to go and made language barriers disappear. Plus it was cheaper than organised tours. Cost about $5USD for most of the day. Entrance fees were on top of this but they are cheap enough.

Mama Hahns boat trip
Mama Hahns boat trips are world famous mostly because they used to include free marihuana. The police have stopped that now, but it's still a very nice boat trip along a very scenic coastline and very beautiful islands. the trip includes free food and snorkelling aswell. Vietnamse redwine is free too. The price for the trip is around 8 us dollars for the day, including food and wine.

Mineral waterfall
The best part is, with the newly-found geyser they even form a mineral waterfall... Such an amazing thing...!!!
For your information, everything including mud-bath, mineral shower, mineral waterfall, swimming pool, massage water rays, hot mineral bath tub comes as a package of VND 50,000 per person (around USD 3.5)... What a deal!

Nha Trang Beach
This is arguably the best beach in Vietnam: 5km of soft, golden sand. It is never overcrowded. I was there during the peak Tet season and although there were plenty of promenaders, the beach itself was still mostly empty. There are clusters of tourists under the umbrellas, where the sunbeds are for hire at a rate of 10,000 VND (60 cents) per day, and where you can order drinks. The sea is a little rough at times, but you can still swim in it.
The central section of the beach is the most popular. If you go to the northern section, especially in the morning, you will have a long stretch of beach all to yourself.
Most of the hotels and restaurants are along the beachfront on Tran Phu Boulevard, so you can walk across the road for a meal or a drink.

Dan Market
Dan Market is an interesting place to wander around. There is always something to catch the eye. I saw nuns gambling on a game that involved which number house a hamster would go into. I'm sure if you look hard enough, you'll be able to find something even more bizarre than that.
You can also get a meal here at one of the market stalls for 70 cents. The lady in the picture is preparing my lunch, which I ate on a stool. She washed my chopsticks by dipping them in the boiling soup.

2. Nightlife in Nha Trang

Nha Trang Sailing Club: party all night long
Theme: Nightclub
Address: 72 Tran Phu
Phone: (84-58) 826 528
Directions: right on the beach
Website: http://www.elephantguide.com/leisure/nhatrang/sailingclub.htm
Nha Trang Sailing Club is very popular with the tourists, and the only locals you'll really run into are the prostitutes.
However, it's still a great atmosphere. It is a covered outdoor venue, so it gets very hot on those humid summer days. Drinks are moderately priced, and they always have great specials. Music is generally Top 40, and once you've been here a few times you begin to recognize a pattern in the songs played.
This is the place to be, because it's the only place that's open thru the wee hours of the night. Once the other bars and clubs close, most people stumble over here. Casual, dress for hot weather. If you get too hot, you can always walk right down to the water and cool off. Hey I've done it.

Crazy Kim Bar: drink to a good cause
Theme: Eating and Drinking
Address: 19 Biet Thu Street
Tel: (84-58) 816 072
Directions: a few blocks away from the beach
Website: http://www.elephantguide.com/bars/nhatrang/crazykim.htm
This is one of my favorite bars in Nha Trang. Crazy Kim bar is a funky place decorated in a Mexican fashion. There's hammocks to lie in, gazebos, pool, sports on tv (they often broadcast international sports games), and a great variety of drinks and specials.
Kim, the bar owner, donates much of her profit to keeping young boys off the streets to guard them from pedophiles. So, you're drinking to a good cause. It’s very casual, anything goes

Sailing Club: Beach front bar
Address: at Tran Phu street, Nha Trang
This is one of the most popular spot for all expats in Nha Trang. The atmosphere of this place is amazing, friendly employees and friend patrons. People are just there ready to dance the night away, put themselves under the influence of alcolhol or just socialize, all just steps away from the beach. The music were great, from Hip-hop, Trance, Alternative Rock (they even played Linkin Park on my request..hahah) to 80s....I love the place to death...always have such a great time there, and the best part is meeting other great travellers from all over the world. The place can easily be found off Tran Phu st., a street that runs along the beach of Nha Trang.

Crazy Kim's
Theme: Eating and Drinking
Address: 19 Biet Thu Street, Nha Trang
Gotta love Kim. She runs a bar in Nha Trang where she promotes a "Keep the hands off the kids" campaign to fight the problem of pedophilia. She also hires a teacher for the street kids so that they can learn English and she feeds them lunch as well.
Kim is a fun person (that's why they call her "Crazy") and her place has a funky atmosphere. Give the place a visit and order one of the buckets.

Coconut Tree: Ice cream with a view
Address: On Tran Phu Street, right at the beach
It's right on the beach so you can enjoy the cool sea breeze and listen to Jazz mingling with sea waves licking the golden sand...
The floating ice cream in Vietnamese black coffee (ca phe kem) isn't to be missed.
For two consecutive nights in Nha Trang my friends took me to this spot... Hmmm, the novelty just wears off for me.
No dress code. Just look at us girls having a mini-class reunion here...

The best place for a great
Theme: Nightclub
Directions: 72 Duong Tran Phu, on the right side of the beach, right on the beach.
The best place for a great party is the Nha Trang Sailing Club. Cheap beer, great food! Fantastic place! Free shots! Free pool! Anything goes!

Guava: Great place
Address: Biet Thu Street (Next to Crazy Kim´s)
This new place is so great! You can come here to play some pool, have extremely good drinks at good prices, listening to great music and talk to other travelers. This was the single best place of its kind we found in all of Vietnam!
As ones said: The drinks are to die for. You simple MUST try their "Bellini" (a mix of rhum, white wine, frozen peach juice and grenadine) and their "Chocolate Bunny" (a mix of Bailey, Kahlua and Creme de Cacao). Both cost 45.000 VND. You cannot get it better anywhere else.

3. 24h in Nha Trang

8.00. Welcome to the first-to-select destination in Vietnam! Nha Trang will greet you with white sand, blue water and tropical climate. A little run down but worth-a-visit all the same, the National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam is essentially an aquarium facility with various ponds and tanks housing creatures harvested from the waters around Nha Trang and beyond from deeper ocean areas. Small tanks at the back of the museum house specimens such as puffer fish, lionfish, clownfish, reef sharks, turtles, sea anemones and sea horses. Giant turtles and crocodiles are also resident in outdoor areas. The main museum area features around 20,000 specimens of preserved sea-life including the skeletal remains of both a whale and a sea cow.

10.30. Continue to Long Son Pagoda which was founded in late 19th century. It is best known for the giant white Buddha statue that sits majestically on the hillside behind its main compound area. You may try to climb steps behind the pagoda to see an enormous 9-meter high status of Buddha & enjoy a spectacular view of Nha Trang bay… This famed icon is a hefty 24 metres high and can be seen from a good distance away, making it a symbol synonymous with the city. The main building also stands high and a walk to the top affords visitors some fantastic views. Yeah, it’s fascinating!

13.00. After lunch in a local restaurant, travel about 3.5km to Chong Promontory Rocks (Hon Chong), a small marble peninsula with massive rocks, laying on top one another. The first cluster is situated offshore and the other is located in sand dunes near Cu Lao fishing hamlet. The offshore cluster includes layers of rocks serving as natural wave breakers. The second part located in sand dunes, looks like the work of a giant putting together several massive rocks.

14.30. Afterwards, let’s drive back to the centre of Nha Trang to visit Po Nagar Temples, a sacred Hindu site dating back to the 7th century. Built in the period between the 8th and 13th centuries, the Cham towers of Thap Ba Ponagar are among the finest structures of this nature in the country. Of eight original towers, just four now remain; sitting atop a hill from which some great views over the city are possible.

15.30. For a real sense of the local culture and everyday life of the people of Nha Trang, take a trip to the Dam market. Nha Trang has a good selection of eateries with everything from street vendors to up-market restaurants meaning that it’s possible to eat a reasonable meal irrespective of your budget.
Market stalls and vendors across the city serve the highly popular Pho noodle soup dish while steamed spring rolls and dim sum are also commonly available. The same dishes can, of course, be found on the menus of quality restaurants, but you should expect to pay a lot more them and perhaps even sacrifice some degree of their authenticity. For international cuisine, the city has a variety of options including Indian at Omar’s and at the two branches of the Bombay Indian restaurant, French cuisine at La Louisiane, Mexican food at Tex Mex El Coyote and Korean food at the Nha Hang Hyundai restaurant. There are plenty of opportunities to buy souvenirs or gifts to take back to family and friends as well essentials such as branded toiletries and food items. Dam market is a good place to head to find a wide range of products including edible items and handmade craft products with distinct Vietnamese themes.

17.00. It’s impossible to come to Nha Trang without taking part in a variety of water based activities including jet skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking and sailing. Down at the beach to enjoy the cool water with the naughty waves…
20.00. Night clubs: the large hotels have their own discotheque attended by the tourists, especially Saturdays evening.
- Hotel Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang (Tran Phu Boulevard) : discotheque has top equipment with real good sound...and lightning system. Opened from 8 p.m. until 5 am
- GMC cafe has a discotheque, restaurant and cafe. Opened in 2008 
Why not bar?
- Coffee and bar until 22h, then bar in terrace and high volume on the track of dance
- Louisiane Brewery: located on the beach on Tran Phu (in front of the old airport). It is a cafe and a beach bar. Offers music live performances on week ends

4. Shopping in Nha Trang
Along with Hanoi, HCMC and Hoi An, Nha Trang has emerged as a reasonable place to look for art. Though actual galleries are scant, there are several local painters and photographers who display their work on the walls of Nha Trang's resorts, restaurants, cafes and bars.

Fashion shops

Bambou Company 
Add: 15 D Biet Thu St., Nha Trang
Tel: 910 774
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Run by a French expat, Bambou Company produces high-quality T-shirts (75,000d to 100,000d) featuring cool original designs.
Also worth checking out are the hand-painted T-shirts done by a friendly local painter named Kim Quang (Tel: 0913-416 513). Quang works every night from his wheelchair at the Nha Trang Sailing Club.

Arts & Handicrafts

XQ Nha Trang Arts & Crafts Centre

Add: 64 D Tran Phu St., Nha Trang
Tel: 826 879
Website: www.xqhandembroidery.com
Opened: 8am-8pm
You can watch the artisans at work at this embroidery workshop and gallery, where intricate embroidery 'paintings' are painstakingly worked by hand.

Hung Hara Photo Lab
Add: 2CD Biet Thu St, Nha Trang
Tel: 828 030
Bookshops in Nha Trang

Book shops 

Mr.Lang's Book Exchange
Add: Outdoors, near the War Memorial, Nha Trang
Stocks a good collection of used books in a variety of languages.

Shorty's Bar

Add: 45 Biet Thu street, Nha Trang
Tel: 810 985
Carries a great selection of mostly English-language books.


Travel around Nha Trang

Ninh Chu Beach
5 km south of Phan Rang, in Ninh Thuan province, Ninh Chu beach is considered one of the 9 nicest beaches in Vietnam. Ninh Thuan province prides itself in several beautiful beaches, among which is Ninh Chu Beach, with more than 10-km length and the shape of a nice crescent. Ninh Chu, located in Binh Son, Van Hai commune, Ninh Thuan province, is one of the top beaches of the Middle of Vietnam for every tourist, who comes here to explore an extremely different landscape.

Ca Na Beach – the “Sleeping Princess”
As one of the most beautiful and wildest beaches of Vietnam, Ca Na Beach, the “Sleeping Princess” of Ninh Thuan province, is warmly beckoning tourists. On the map of Vietnam tourism as well as the world’s, Ca Na is amongst the impressive names for a picturesque landscape of sea, mountain, forest, and even a Cham culture. It is this combination of natural beauty and cultural value that makes it a tourism heaven for any kind of visitors. Ca Na is fortunate to be granted such a favorable location, which is on the trans-Vietnam railway, right on the 1A Highway, and around 200km east of Ho Chi Minh City. It stretches as far as 10km with blue sky and purely green water. Ca Na is attractive to tourists not only for the mentioned charm, but also the ideally pure and cool weather all the year round. If staying here overnight, you will deeply feel the Ca Na night’s delicate harmony of with moonlight, hissing sea wind, and whistling waves. Do come and feel it yourself, no regret at all you would have!

Yok Don National Park
Yok Don Dak Lak province: Ea Bung and Chu M'Lanh communes- Ea Sup district, Krong Na commune- Buon Don District, and Ea Po Commune, Cu Jut District. The park is covers a flat plain that extends from eastern Cambodia into northern Dak Lak and southern Gia Lai provinces in Vietnam. 
The topography of the site is flat, at an elevation of 200m with lowland landscape dominated by dry forest studded with seasonal pools. Semi-evergreen forest can also be found, along watercourses. There are, however, several ranges of low hills within the national park; the highest is the eponymous Mount Yok Don at 482 m in the south-eastern range... Yok Don is bisected by the Srepok River, a major tributary of the Mekong River. During the dry season, the two largest streams at the site, the Dak Ken and Dak Na, are ramified to a series of interrupted pools.

Kon Ka Kinh National Park
With the biological diversity of the flora and fauna, Kon Ka Kinh plays an important role in upstream watershed protection for several large rivers that provide water for irrigation and domestic use for a number of districts in Gia Lai and Kon Tum provinces.