Nha Trang is the jewel of southern Vietnam. Located only a few hundred kilometers away from the bustling and busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang is like a different country. This humble provincial city delivers both modern and traditional experiences for travelers who visit from all over the world. Unlike other sleepy beach towns, Nha Trang also has a much more vibrant nightlife to keep you busy all hours of the day!
Is Nha Trang worth visiting?
Yes. Absolutely. This vibrant beachfront town is one of the cleanest and most spectacular tourist spots in Vietnam. With a huge range of activities and attractions in Nha Trang to choose from, it never feels too busy either. Here is just a taste of the top experiences you can enjoy:
- Discover ancient temples and the Nation Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam
- Climb through gorges at the Ba Ho waterfall
- Scuba dive in crystal clear ocean waters
- Enjoy seafood delicacies at the Vinpearl island resort
- Relax on any number of local pristine beaches
What is Nha Trang known for?
This coastal town, of course, has some of the best beaches in the world. However, the attractions in Nha Trang city itself are world-class too, from dazzling pagodas and ancient architecture to thrilling journeys through museums and water parks. Let's look at 5 of the top landmarks that Nha Trang has to offer.
1. Po Nagar Cham towers
Just slightly north of the city, the Po Nagar Cham Towers are a former relic of an ancient civilization that once inhabited southern Vietnam. The stone buildings here have a complex and ornamental design and date back to the 8th century. They were originally built as a tribute to ancient deities, but are still used for traditional worship by the Cham ethnic minority. Festivals occur here from the end of May to the beginning of April.
2. Long Son pagoda
First commissioned in 1886, this historical site is the home to a 24-meter high statue of a white Buddha. Awe-inspiring and grandiose, the white Buddha statue that sits on top of the hill can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Nha Trang, but for a closer look, you must first climb 152 steps that ascend from an old Buddhist temple below. As you climb up from Long Son pagoda, make sure to stop and enjoy the sweeping landscapes of Nha Trang, the mountains, and the vast sea below.
3. Museum of Oceanography
Heading south of the city, a spectacular six kilometers of coastline highway leads to the national oceanographic museum of Vietnam. The exhibition, which is housed in a colonial-era building with French architecture, includes a monstrous whale skeleton, aquariums with sharks, and specimens of other wondrous marine life. Numerous other conservation and research areas are yours to explore and the drive down here alone is worth the effort, especially if you plan to visit Hon Tre island. With the ferry station so close, it is convenient to do both!
4. Nha Trang cathedral
Nha Trang Cathedral, also know locally as Nhà thờ Núi Nha Trang, is a must-see-for-yourself attraction for people of any faith. First founded in 1886 as a simple parish and hub for colonial missionaries, a famous priest named Louis Vallet later began his life-long residency and redesigned the church in French gothic architecture. Extensive work was done to create stunning stained-glass windows that depict scenes from The Life of Jesus.
5. Alexandre Yersin museum
This French-Swiss scientist is credited with discovering the bacteria that causes plagues and other illnesses. Though far from his birthplace, he spent most of his exceptional career living right here in Nha Trang until his death in 1943. The Alexandre Yersin museum was founded in his name and is situated right inside his former home. Here, guests can wander around and discover relics of his research, his equipment, and a large collection of photographs he took when traveling Vietnam in the early 20th century.
Nha Trang has many clean and pristine beaches that are either walking distance from the city center, or just a short drive away. It is easy and inexpensive to take a trip to these attractions by motorbike or taxi. The islands have many beaches that are accessible by boat and therefore it's best to book a tour. This list only includes the locations that are on the mainland.
1. Tran Phu beach
Also known as Nha Trang beach for its location directly in front of the main tourist and business district, it stretches across the bay for around 6 beautiful kilometers. As Nha Trang's most accessible beach, it has large sections of promenade that regularly holds concerts and events. Many resorts, hotels, and restaurants are nearby and cater to all kinds of Vietnamese and foreign visitors. .
2. Long beach
Known locally as Bai Dai beach, it is situated further south from the main throb of the city center. Visitors to this beach can enjoy a more relaxed and exclusive atmosphere with far fewer tourists and an abundance of pristine white sand and clear waters. Many larger resorts are positioned on the waterfront for those tourists who enjoy 5-star service.
3. Hon Chong beach
Hon beach is a small splash of sand in the north that has great panoramic vistas and is a great stopping-off point when traversing the Nha Trang coastline. Local Vietnamese seafood restaurants and quaint coffee shops are at hand for refreshment.
4. Ninh Van
Much further north from the Nha Trang city center is the Ninh Van peninsula. The beaches here are rugged, quiet, and look like a scene from King Kong. This mountainous outcrop is also a great place for hiking and there are a number of waterfalls in the jungle for intrepid travelers to discover. It takes around 2 hours to drive from Nha Trang, but once here there are 5-star hotels, hostels, and boutique hotels to choose from, one of the most famous is Ninhvana Backpackers.
Amusement and adventure parks
Adventure and water parks are big attractions for both the domestic and international visitors of Nha Trang. Below are 3 of the top parks on offer:
1. VinWonders amusement park and cable car
Situated within the VinPearl resort on Hon Tre island, VinWonders offers a large water park, an exotic zoo, and extensive gardens. In addition, the resort has a number of theme park amusements such as a steel rollercoaster and a 4D cinema. A visit to Vinpearl involves a dizzying spin on the 3km cable car that connects the mainland to the VinPearl resort. The ride on the cable car spans across the ocean giving customers a lucrative look at the tropical terrain that Nha Trang is famous for.
2. 100 Eggs tourist area
This water park cross cultural gardens boasts several large mud baths and swimming pools in a beautiful forest setting. Accommodation is offered in decorative egg huts that are nestled in the mountainside. Visitors can also enjoy personal mud baths and spa treatments, delicious local dining experiences, and events that include campfires and traditional highland dancing making it one of the top attractions for families.
3. Ba Ho waterfall
If relaxing on a pristine beach gets a little tiring then Ba Ho waterfall is sure to ignite the adventurer in you. Though it is also operated and managed as a resort, day guests can transverse the extensive canyon network that connects three cascading waterfalls together. The banks of the river offer a serine location for picnics and playtime. Other activities include an Asian-style piñata, swan pedalo boats, and ample Instagram opportunities. Be sure to bring suitable footwear if you intend to climb through the gorge and seek the advice of the lifeguard attendants for the best cliff diving spots amongst the waterfalls!
4. Central Park
Situated in the southern end of the Nha Trang city bay area, Central Park offers day guests luxurious swimming pools with dreamy four-poster beds perched near the water. Restaurants offer poolside dining and the whole establishment overlooks the bay. This is a great place to retreat from the beach which is only steps away from the palm trees and sun loungers of Central Park.
A number of islands and archipelagoes litter the Nha Trang coastline and local travel companies offer a myriad of tours ranging from a single stop to multi-adventure tour tickets. For those keen on self-discovery, boats depart to the main islands from the harbor in the south near the national oceanographic museum. Here are some of the best places you can visit:
1. Hon Mun island
Hon Mun marine park is the most eastward in the island network. Vibrant coral attracts even more vibrant schools of fish making this location one of the best scuba diving spots in Vietnam. Tour companies offer diving, snorkeling, and lunch in affordable package deals.
2. Hon Tam island
Closer to the mainland is the volcanic island of Hon Tam. A day trip here offers bathing in natural hot springs, white sandy beaches, and undisturbed views of rugged mountains and thick jungles. Several luxury hotels also cater to guests who want to stay a little longer. Villas with private pools and hot springs are just some of the accommodation options on offer.
3. Hon Tre island and Vinpearl resort
As mentioned before, Hon Tre island is home to the VinWonder and VinPearl estates and can be accessed by a monstrous 3km cable car journey over the sea. Other areas of the island are home to local fishermen and serene mountain landscapes. Smaller hotels are nestled in the quiet coves that surround the island. Conservation and crystal clear waters mean that scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming are the best things you can do when you take a trip here.
4. Monkey Island tourist resort
Also known as Hon Lao, the Monkey Island tourist resort is situated in the north of Nha Trang, just below the Ninh Van peninsula. A tour to this destination will include both a live animal show and interactions with wild monkeys. Go-kart racing and scuba diving are just some of the games and activities on Monkey Island that cater to both families and thrill-seekers.
What is there to do in Nha Trang at night?
Nha Trang was a small colonial town until Vietnam started to open up to the international travel community in the late '80s. Now, it has grown to accommodate the appetites of a huge tourism industry with a variety of food & beverage experiences. Here are some of the bars and restaurants that put Nha Trang, Vietnam on the map.
1. Sailing Club - Best overall
Located along Tran Phu Beach in the southern end of town, the Sailing Club is a lively and luxurious beachfront property equipped with 3 kitchens and various dining areas, including beanbag lounges set on the seashore. Authentic Asian and international foods are part of an extensive menu. Lunch is served overlooking the vast East Sea. On Saturday nights, the Sailing Club switches gears and patrons are able to enjoy raves on the beach, with hip-hop dance displays and international DJs until 2 am.
2. Why Not Bar - Best party atmosphere
Set back just 10 minutes walk from Nha Trang beach, this hub of revelry offers a huge dancefloor, advanced club lighting systems, and last orders are at 3 am. Generous drink promotions last until 1 am, at which time, a small cover charge is also applied. While an eclectic mix of electro dance music plays to crowds of up to 200 people inside, an outside terrace offers comfortable chairs and tables for those keen on more of a sit-down celebration.
3. Skylight - Best rooftop bar
In the main tourist quarter of Nha Trang is Skylight, which prides itself on creating memories. Offering a diverse menu of Vietnamese and international cuisine, Skylight also has an upper deck with spectacular 360˚ views of the whole region, including Nha Trang bay and the mountains that encircle Nha Trang. Skylight throws huge parties with famous artists and hosts private events for up to 350 people.
4. Enjoy street food in the night market
One of the best things about Nha Trang is the abundance of street food. Further away from the tourist quarter, travelers will find the street teeming with local street food vendors and motorbikes equipped with portable BBQs. A traditional dish like Banh Trang Nuong is usually sold for less than a dollar.
If you are looking for more than just food, a centralized night market is located along the Nha Trang boulevard at 46 Tran Phu street, while a smaller market is found on Tue Tinh street and Tran Quang Khai Street. The Yasaka resort on Tran Phu street also manages a night market.
These night markets are a great place to go to pick up some tasty Vietnamese cuisine or to buy trinkets for friends back home. They are also a great opportunity to try your hand at a little bartering too!
Is Nha Trang expensive?
Relatively no. Though it is a town known for tourism, prices are comparable to Ho Chi Minh. Other, more rural areas of Vietnam are of course cheaper, but these places also don't have the services and infrastructure that make Nha Trang tourist-friendly.
When is the best time to visit Nha Trang?
As Nha Trang is in the southern part of tropical Vietnam it enjoys warm and humid weather for most of the year with average temperatures around 27°C. This number can reach up to 40°C in the daytime and drop to under 20°C at night so it's best to pack for both scenarios. The year is split into two distinct seasons, summer and the rainy season.
Summer extends from January to August and the weather is reliably quite pleasant making these months the busiest for the tourism sector. This is also the best time to go scuba diving as there is very little rainfall, marine life is thriving, and the waters are clear. On the downside, some smaller waterfalls may be quite dry during this time if there hasn't been any rainfall for a while.
Nha Trang's rainy season comes around September to December. Monsoons will often be accompanied by typhoons and large thunderstorms. This period of the year is low season for the tourism industry and prices are cheaper. Also, it is the best time of year to take a trip to the waterfalls and the scenery will be much greener and more vibrant.
Whether you're looking for marine life or nightlife, Nha Trang is the one-stop destination that will keep any savvy traveler occupied for days even weeks. Just a short 1-hour flight away from the busyness of Ho Chi Minh, and packed with amusement parks, temples, and top-notch diving spots, it's no wonder that Nha Trang is steadily becoming a world famous holiday destination. Before you go though, make sure you check out our in-depth listing of Nha Trang's attractions!