Traces of human settlement in Nha Trang date back to the Cham Empire, though in times of Vietnamese rule, there wasn't much more here than small fishing villages. The French recognised that this beautiful bay, with its islands and white sand beaches, made for a perfect bathing spot, and began the transformation into a resort town. American soldiers agreed, and Nha Trang became a favourite R&R stop during the war.
The monsoon season is from Oct to mid-Dec. Sea winds can be heavy, and sometimes the weather can get pretty chilly. Summer, naturally, brings many vacation goers into town and hotel rooms get somewhat more difficult to find.
Cam Ranh International Airport (CXR), built on the grounds of the old American airbase in 2004, is 30 km from the city and serves only domestic destinations and Russia. Taxi fare from the airport to downtown locations is a fixed rate of 380,000 dong, though many hotels have their own buses. Do not offer to go by the meter here as it is about 100,000 dong more expensive than the fixed rate.
A cheaper option is to take the airport bus at 70,000 dong to the old Nha Trang Airport. They sell the tickets for this minibus at a desk near the exit of the airport. The old airport terminal is in the city not far from most hotels and taxis can be found there. Most city hotels should be reached by taxi for 30,000 dong or less. Mini-hotel alley at 64 Tran Phu costs just 15,000 dong. From Nha Trang (Old Airport Terminal) to Cam Ranh Airport the shuttle bus leaves 2 hours before each scheduled flight for the same price.
Mai Linh taxis offer fixed price fares to and from the airport, starting at 180,000 dong for a small, 4-seat taxi. For the adventurous traveller, take a short taxi ride to a Phuong Trang bus stop in Cam Ranh, then catch the Phuong Trang bus, 40,000 dong to Nha Trang (about an hour). The bus stops and the buses are orange coloured.
Nha Trang is a stop on the main railway-line connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC or Saigon). The railway station is close to the cathedral in the north part of town. If you want a soft-sleeper (the highest class available on Vietnamese trains), book your train ticket directly at the train station as far in advance as you are able. Having a private travel agent book this ticket will quite often result in you paying the agent for a soft-sleeper — the agent will book a hard-sleeper and you will not know until you board the train and it is too late to make changes. This is one of the most common scams in Vietnam! Soft sleeper rooms are 4 berth, hard sleepers are 6 berth. You can sit comfortably on a lower bed in a 4 berth room but in a 6 berth you will have to be very short in order to sit up straight. SNT trains (meaning Saigon to Nha Trang) have similar quality cars, but are slower than the SE trains. The TN trains have the oldest and dirtiest cars and are the slowest so therefore are not recommended. Each of the SE, TN and SNT coded trains end with a number. If the number is odd it travels from north to south. If it is even, it travels from south to north.
The journey to Nha Trang from Ho Chi Minh City takes between 6-8 hours on SE trains (often delayed), so a sleeper is not really necessary, a cushioned seat in the air-con car costs 190,000 dong. Soft seats are 310,000 dong. The SNT trains take over 9 hours and travel overnight only. The SNT2 departs Ho Chi Minh City at 19:40 and arrives in Nha Trang at 06:00. The train station is about 1 km from the city centre, so you can easily walk.
Nearly all long distance sleeper buses stop in Nha Trang, including the open bus. This is the way most travelers arrive to Nha Trang from anywhere else in Vietnam. Buses to Nha Trang can be booked from any bus company or travel agent at quite low rates. Sleeper buses usually drop you off on the side of the street somewhat near the tourist areas. A short walk or $2 taxi or motorbike ride can get you to your hotel from the drop off point.
Private car rental with a driver are usually modern air-con cars and can be rented for about 1,000,000 dong per day. Car rental prices (as mostly anything in Vietnam) usually increase during holiday seasons especially around Tet (Vietnamese New Year). Make sure to avoid high prices by booking it beforehand with the car rental services.
You can also arrange private taxi transfer from to Mui Ne with Saigon2MuiNe. Book and pay on-line via PayPal. No hidden fee.
Today, most of the tourist infrastructure is in the southern part of town around Biet Thu, whereas most of the locals live around the Cho Dam in the northern half. Cho Dam Market is a popular destination for visitors as well, though.
Tran Phu is the backbone of the city, accompanied by a pleasant waterfront promenade, palm trees, and the nearly 6 km of beach.
Nha Trang has a reliable and easy-to-navigate public bus system, where the ticket fare does not exceed 3,000 dong for a ride on a modern, air-conditioned bus with Vietnamese music. You will find buses 2 and 3 the most useful, since they pass through the southern quarters. Alternatively, you'll find the usual selection of taxis, cyclos, and motorbikes.
There is no destination in downtown Nha Trang that justifies a fare higher than 20,000 dong/person. Taxis are a good option, but be sure they turn on the meter to get the cheapest price.
A wonderful option for seeing the sites is to hire a cyclo-driver for the day. This runs about USD15 plus tip. All the in-town highlights, the post office, and my choice of restaurants from 08:00-19:00. English skills may be basic. The driver will keep the touts away--a real bonus!
Its also easy to get around by bicycle. Nha Trang is quite flat and bicycles are easily found for hire, typically 20,000 dong for one day for a basic no-gears bike. Locals on bicycles are more commonly seen at night when its cooler and no sun to burn their skin.
The beach is the main draw here. But the beaches are littered and the water can also be polluted, so if you are going to Nha Trang specifically for the beach, and have been to other Asian destinations such as Thailand and the Philippines you are likely to be very disappointed. You will see many female vendors walking along the beach selling fruit and hot, steamed seafood.
Make sure that you visit in the right season. The beach can be disappointing when the weather is grey and the waves choppy. The experience is then one of murky sandy waters, a strip of standard brown sand with a multitude of empty beach chairs and no one to be seen.
- Alexandre Yersin Museum, 10 Tran Phu St, ☎ . M-Sa 08:00-11:00 and 14:00-16:30. This is a scientific museum of Swiss-born Dr. Alexandre Yersin (1863-1943), who arrived in Vietnam in 1891 to study infected animals. He then later on produced a serum from horses and buffaloes. In this museum, you will be able to view all of his work as well as his equipment. Yersin never went back to Switzerland and spent the rest of his life in Nha Trang. Don’t try to take pictures. Do respect the rules as they're quite serious here. USD2.
- Bao Dai Villas (Near the oceanographic institute). The villas are on top of a small hill. You have a beautiful view of the Nha Trang Bay from there. The wind is cool and it is a nice place to relax when it is too hot in the city.
- Fishing Village (Between the old and the new bridge). The fishing village is between the old and the new bridge. When the fishing boats are coming in or going out it is a beautiful sight.
- Long Son Pagoda, Thai Nguyen St. 08:00-17:00. At this pagoda, you will see a 24 m tall white Buddha. The pagoda was established in 1963 to honour the monks and nuns who died demonstrating against the Diem government. Beware of scammers claiming they are students studying in the temple, demanding that you offer a donation to the school before going up the pagoda. These students have no affiliation with the school and entry to the pagoda is free. Free.
- Monkey Island (20 km N of Nha Trang). Catch a ferry to Monkey Island, which is full of monkeys, has a 10:00 circus and simple go-cart track.
- National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam, 01 Cau Da (Left of the commercial port entrance), ☎ . 07:00-16:00. This is like an aquarium with popular and rare species of the sea. A good place to bring kids as they will get to see sharks, turtles, coral reefs, lion fish, sea horses, and many other creatures. 15,000 dong.
- Nha Trang Cathedral. On a hill overlooking the city, the cathedral shows the influence of French Catholicism. The Nha Trang area still has a strong Catholic population. There are Catholic shops around the cathedral.
- Po Nagar Cham Towers, 2 Thang 4 St. 07:30-17:00. These four brick towers were built by the Cham civilization between the 7th and 12th centuries to honour Yang Ino Po Ngar, mother of the kingdom, and the aroma of incense emanating from within makes it clear that this remains a religious site for the local Buddhists of Nha Trang today. The longevity of these last vestiges of a once-dominant SE Asian civilisation should impress temple enthusiasts even if the insensitive restoration and surrounding mass of tourists don't. The small complex sits on a hill which enjoys views across Nha Trang's fishing village. It is a 20-25 min walk (or short motorbike ride) from the main beach strip, however be prepared to wander through the real Nha Trang, quite an abrupt change from the showy built-up beach side resort. Public Bus 4 stops near the Cham Towers. 21,000 dong.
- Vinpearl Land (Take the cable car). From the harbour you can take the cable car over to the island where Vinpearl Resort and Vinpearl Land are located. They have a small tivoli and some restaurants, attractions here include Underwater World (aquarium), water park with water slides and wave pool, amusement park with roller coaster, pirate ship, bumper cars, cinema, arcade machines and a laser show at night time, usually 19:00. All included in the one price. 550,000 dong for Adult.
450,000 dong for children under 1.4 meters tall. 430,000 dong for elderly above 60. Free for children under 1 meter..
- Biking and Rafting Tour, 1/12 Tran Quang Khai St, ☎ . Combination fast 30 km downhill biking passing through an ethnic village and meeting Raglai people. Then a 12 km rafting trip down the Cai River. USD45+.
- Cinema. There are two multiplex cinemas in Nha Trang. One on the 3rd floor of the Nha Trang Center shopping and entertainment complex. The cinema has three movie theatres with an estimated 120 seats each. US films are in English with local subtitles. The second cinema is the Lotte Cinema, on the 5th floor of the Maximart Supermarket, near the train station. 70,000 dong.
- Gyms, 12 Thi Sach St (Off Tran Nhat Duat St), ☎ . There is a large gym in town called Nha Trang Body Building Club, part of a leisure complex that includes badminton and tennis courts, basketball area and football pitch. Daily pass 20,000 dong; Monthly pass, 200,000 dong.
Novotel also has gym memberships for non-guests, which provide access to the swimming pool, sauna and relaxation room. A daily pass costs 200,000 dong, one-month pass 1,400,000 dong, 3-month pass 2,700,000 dong. Monthly passes include one free massage; ask about this when purchasing. The Sheraton probably has the best gym in town with excellent views, but costs USD100 for one month, and this doesn't include use of the swimming pool.
- 10 pin Bowling. On the 3rd floor of the new Nha Trang Centre shopping and entertainment complex. Half-price games after 22:00 on Friday and Saturday nights only (happy hour).
- Vietnam Motorcycle Memory, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Day or multi-day tours around the area or through the central higlands and along Ho Chi Minh Trail to Hoi An. USD65 per day including accommodation.
- Boat Cruises. The going rate for a one-day multi-island tour is USD6, with snorkelling, fishing, and many other activities among the possibilities. Tours may provide lunch with drinks on board. Booking agents abound, so compare itineraries to find the best for you.
- Sailing Club, ☎ . Get a group together and rent out a captain for about USD40.
- Surfing Shack (on Bai Dai beach about 21.6 km south of Nha Trang). Bar, restaurant and surf club/school.
- Swimming Pools. Obviously people come here to swim in the sea, but there are also a number of swimming pools around. Louisiane Brewhouse has a good one and free to use but costs 40,000 dong to hire a soft chaise longue. The Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang Hotel coffee shop in Yersin St has a small, shady pool for free use. A number of mid-range hotels also have pools, some of which can be used by non-guests. Sea and Sun Hotel has a nice rooftop pool and costs 70,000 dong for non-guests. There is also an little-used Olympic-size outdoor swimming pool in Nha Trang. Some scuba diving companies use it for training purposes. It costs only 15,000 dong. It's a fair distance away from the main tourist area on the south side of the city. Ask someone who works in a scuba shop for directions. This is now closed the public ( I was told it is for clubs only use). There is another large public pool at Yersin st, opposite the hospital, for 30,000 dong. Another option is Central Park on Tran Phu, near Louisiane Brewhouse. Buy a deckchair for 60,000 or 120,000 and swim for free. Has a small diving board for kids, a lazy river, and a pool bar.
- Bai Doung Beach (1.5 km N on Tran Phu St over the main bridge). Bai Duong beach is smaller than in the main tourist area. The beach has a gentle pitch, warm water, and is also calm, clean and ideal for swimming.
- Doc Let Beach (Around 50 km N of Nha Trang). Doc Let Beach is more tranquil, cleaner and beautiful than the beach in Nha Trang. It is well-worth making a visit. Local fisher families sell and prepare seafood they will cook for you on the beach for a very reasonable price.
- Long Beach (Bai Dai beach) (On the road to Cam Ranh airport). 20 km south of Nha Trang, this place is not yet run over by tourist masses. Blue water and a nicer (less steep and better sand) beach than in town. Seafood is served at many shacks with deckchairs right on the beach. Walk a kilometre or so and you will find yourself alone on the beach. Probably best to go by motorcycle.
Diving & snorkelling
Close off-shore from Nha Trang sit a series of islands that offer decent diving and snorkelling, easily accessible by day trip. The city has about two dozen dive shops, making for fierce competition and great value. PADI open water courses with equipment rental are available for USD250. A two-dive boat trip with equipment rental and modest lunch can be had for USD45.
Coastal and undersea construction has stirred up a lot of sediment in the area, so under-water visibility is sometimes not great. The area is heavily fished, so fish life is also limited. You wouldn't cross the world just to dive at Nha Trang. But if you always dreamed of getting a scuba certification, Nha Trang is a good place to do it. The shops generally offer good-quality equipment and experienced, certified dive masters. Diving goes on year-round, but in the Oct-Dec windy season, the boat ride can be a bit rough and diving is limited to a few sites in the lee of the islands.
Organisation of the Nha Trang dive industry is sometimes complex. If you sign up for a trip with shop A, you might find yourself joined with a group and divemaster from shop B, which shares a boat with another group and divemaster from shop C, the boat itself being independently owned. Consolidation is especially active in the off-season, when few if any shops can fill a boat on their own. It's a good illustration of Vietnamese culture, which does not stand on ceremony, and loves a bargain, and is very skilled at making maximum use of resources. The local divemasters are mostly great, friendly guys with lots of stories to tell.
- Aloha Mark Scott's Diving Vietnam, 24/4 Hung Vuong, ☎ , e-mail: MarkBrianScott@gmail.com. 06:30-21:00. USD60 for two dives (with certification) and USD70 for two introductory dives. The boat has plenty of room for lounging and never rushed. American English spoken.
- Angel Dive, 1/33 Tran Quang Khai, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Expat-run, by a long time resident of Nha Trang. PADI, SSI, SDI and TDI Certified.
- Coco Dive Center, 2E Biet Thu, ☎ . A Vietnamese owned company. USD38 for one dive (with snorkelling) and USD55 for two dives. Their big boat offers a good comfort, even on windy days. Although, because of the size of the boat, they are unable to go to all the different dive sites. English, French, German, and Vietnamese fluently spoken.
- Jeremy Stein's Rainbow Divers, ☎ . European-owned operation with partially expat staff. A two-dive boat trip costs USD75 (including water and fruit, but not lunch), about double the best deals available in town. The operation is well-organised and very professional, catering to divers who aren't comfortable with the more low-key local shops.
- Octopus Diving, 29 Tran Phu (At Louisiane Brewhouse), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. PADI Five Star Dive Center offering a full range of PADI courses. Fun dives, nitrox, snorkelling and Discover Scuba Diving trips to Hon Mun Marine Protected Area everyday. International team of instructors and divemasters. Very small groups, maximum of 2 students on a course and only 2 divers with a divemaster, personal service.
- Sailing Club Divers, 72-74 Tran Phu, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. PADI five star dive centres offering a full range of PADI courses.
- Ba Ho Waterfalls (Near Ba Ho village, approximately 20 km N of Nha Trang). A series of three waterfalls and a fast flowing river tucked away in the forest. Its a good one hour trip from Nha Trang by motorbike through some rough, off-road tracks (especially in the wet season). If you decide to go without a guide its preferable that you travel with someone as a flat tyre out here can be a common occurrence, although these can be fixed in the village or most local houses for a small fee. The turn off from the main highway north of Nha Trang can be easy to miss (a stone pillar), but most locals along the road should be able to point it out. From the turn off it's a straight track to the river. There are limited amenities, although you can buy food like rice and chicken and cold beers and soft drinks are for sale from locals who will guide (follow) you up through the forest. This is preferable to having to carry your own food and drink and the prices are reasonable, with a small premium for their trouble. The "guides" are pleasant enough showing you short cuts and footholds higher up the track. Taxis and motorbike guides are available in Nha Trang to take you there, but its not too difficult to find yourself and with good weather it's a pleasant drive, if you are confident on a motorbike.
- Fairy Spring waterfalls (Suối Tiên), Suối Tiên, Diên Khánh District (About 20 km SW of Nha Trang. Go 10 km W of Nha Trang to Diên Khánh, go through the old citadel (Thành Cổ Diên Khánh) to Diên Phước village (5 km), turn left 4 km to Suoi Tien village, then right 1 km to the stream). Fairy Spring is a small, cool stream and swimming hole much visited by local kids on weekends. The swimming hole is at the end of a short jungle walk. It is a pleasant place to visit in summer. In winter the water is too cold to swim. The stream's source is the area of Hồn Bà, the highest peak in the province. Bottled and canned drinks are available, but no food is sold here yet. The area is slowly being developed and will eventually become a resort with a hotel, bungalows, and restaurant. 10,000 dong per person, 3,000 dong per motorbike.
- Thap Ba Hot Springs and Mud baths (Suối Nước Nóng Tháp Bà) (4 km NW of Nha Trang). Costs 50,000 dong for the hot swimming pool and waterfall, 100,000 dong for shared mud bath (if you are 5-8 people you will probably get put in the same tub), shower, hot/cold water jets, hot Jacuzzi, and the hot waterfalls and swimming pool. A massage by trained masseuses and entrance to the hot swimming pool costs 150,000 dong. There is also a package for 500,000 which included a massage among other extras. A VIP spa package will cost you USD100 or more. If you carry on a further 500 m past the mud baths you arrive at a railway bridge across the river that connects to a tunnel. Its a very scenic spot that's popular for wedding photo shoots. USD4 mineral pool, USD12.50 mudbath.
- Three Lakes (Ba Ho). About 20 km north of Nha Trang is a collection of 3 small lakes and scenic waterfalls. You may want to bring some sturdy shoes to climb across the rocks and swimming gear for a dip when you get there. Hire a taxi or take a motorcycle to get there. It will take about 45 minutes from the entrance of the tourist area to the lakes. There is an orphanage very close to the lakes (take a right turn when you get to a T-junction in the rice fields) that would really benefit from any gifts of vegetarian food (take milk, tofu, yogourt, etc.). Call Dieu An, the nun at +84 90 5823807. She speaks only Vietnamese. 10,000 dong.
- Yang Bay Waterfalls (40 km west of Nha Trang). At the Yang Bay waterfalls the Vietnamese have built up a concrete beach. It used to be a lot nicer before they built it, but it is still a very nice place to visit. You can swim there, and walk around in the area. Bringing your own food and drink is recommended.
- Travel to Teach. A project teaching English and computer use to the kids who sleep on the beach. Crazy Kim's Bar is project HQ. You pay USD910 to volunteer for two weeks.
- A-Mart, 27 Biet Thi St (Corner just beyond Crazy Kim's if walking away from the sea). There are a couple of well-stocked modern mini-supermarkets in the main tourist area called A-Mart. These are very much aimed at the tourist market and few locals will be seen shopping here.
- Bamboo, 15 Biet Thu St, ☎ . 08:00-21:30. Popular Vietnamese boutique chain T-shirt shop.
- Maximark Supermarket, 60 Thai Nguyen (Near the train station), ☎ . Large Western-style supermarket. It covers 4,000 m2 in area, in a four-storey building. The supermarket itself is on the 1st floor, a cinema on the 5th floor and a food court on the 4th floor that includes a Japanese restaurant called Sushi Sakura and a Jollibee fast food restaurant. There is also an arcade games area on the 4th floor, 2,000 dong per token.
- Nha Trang Center, ☎ 20 Tran Phu. New shopping and entertainment complex on the main beach road. On the 3rd floor is a multiplex cinema, 10 pin bowling alley, a games arcade, mini 5D cinema and a food court. On the 2nd floor is the Citimart supermarket. On the ground floor are KFC and Lotteria fast food restaurants.
- Shop Herman, 142 Ngo Gia Tu (Next to small market). Clothes from back home at half the cost.
- Sunsport Sportwear Stores, 97 56A Nguyen Thien Thuat St, ☎ . Major brands available: Nike, Adidas, North Face, Speedo, Greg Norman.
- Cyclo Cafe, 130 Nguyen Thien Thuat St (Corner of Tran Quang Khai St). 08:00-22:00. Great budget restaurant serving Western and Vietnamese food. Fruit shakes for 12,000 dong.
- Mocka Cafe, 74 Hung Vuong St, ☎ . Serve espressi, cappuccini, and cafe lattes. Happy hour everyday (30% off) from 15:00-18:00.
- Le Timo Bakery, 25 Nguyen Thiet Thuat, ☎ . This family-owned gourmet bakery offers a large selection of home-made and tropical flavoured cakes, pies, croissants, ice-cream and chocolates. Happy hour: After 18:00 (or 20:00 for some items): 30% off cakes/pies & buy 1 get 1 free cookies/croissants/rolls. Most items are around 60,000 dong.
- Checkpoint Restaurant and Bar, 27 Nguyen Thien Thuat St, ☎ . Good restaurant, night bar and-military museum with real old black & white photos devoted to the Soviet Pacific Fleet. Old soviet uniforms and weapons for photographs by visitors. European, Russian and Vietnamese kitchens. Russian head cook and staff, cold beer, and real Russian vodka. Children's corner, veranda, banquet room, disco-bar and BBQ.
- ChocoCiao Chocolatier, 48 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St, ☎ . 07:00-22:00. Delicious ganache, praline and truffle, with 45 flavours such as nutmeg, cinnamon, passion fruit, amaretto, whiskey, strawberry. Less than USD0.25 per piece.
- Le Dragon Rouge, 47 Nguyen Thien Thuat. 08:00-23:00. Western/French and Vietnamese cuisine. A very lively restaurant-bar with multilingual staff (French, Spanish, English. Russian) making it a hot spot for tourists from all around the globe. Run by a crew of French owners who know their food. The restaurant has two separates kitchens and an ice cream bar for desert. Offers a big range from sandwich to duck with apple and honey sauce. Reservations for bigger groups possible. Bar on first floor has big screen TV. Ice cream, waffles, and crepes. Beers, cocktails, soft drinks and fresh fruit juices. Air-con. Free Wi-Fi. USD1.50-14.
- Far East Rock Cafe, 86 Nguyen Thien Thuat. 08:00-midnight. Popular restaurant and bar with both tourists and expats in the main tourist area serving international food at great prices. Many drink deals also. Well managed and maintained, plays lots of rock videos, especially from the 80's.
- Hoa Hung Bakery, 39 Phan Boi Chau St and 72 Ly Thanh Ton St, ☎ . , Sponge cake less than USD1, pâté chaud, chocolate cupcake, sesame toffee. Founded in 1936.
- Hy Lap Greek Mini Restaurant, 1 Trang Quang Khai St (The end of the road), ☎ . Awesome small restaurant with simple but delicious Greek food. Great staff, including the two Greek owners. 40,000-80,000 dong.
- Lac Canh, 11 Hang Ca St, ☎ . 07:00-21:00. What’s different about this long established restaurant (25 years) is that you get to cook, yourself, and both locals and tourists seem to love it. It's famous for its thinly sliced beef, marinated in chilli source that you cook with your own mini tabletop BBQ. Large San Miguel bottled beers are served by San Miguel-attired servers for 18,000 dong. USD1-10.
- Lanterns Vietnamese Restaurant, 34/6 Nguyen Thien Thuat St, ☎ . 07:00-23:00. Local restaurant with authentic Vietnamese and also Western dishes. Relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff. The most well regarded restaurant in the tourist area, for good reason, high quality food served at budget prices: 100,000 dong for a speciality dish. Expect a large crowd there every night during dinner.They work closely with two local orphanages, where the children and their caretakers are invited to regularly dine at the restaurant. Restaurant offers a half-day introduction to Vietnamese cooking. Includes travelling to the local market in a cyclo, a guided tour of the marketplace, where you get involved in learning about local produce and buying the food you will subsequently cook. USD1-7.
- Thien Thanh, 386-388 Le Hong Phong (1 km from Nguyen Duc Canh/ Nguyen Tat Thanh St to the south, or 1.4 km from Van Don St to the north), ☎ , fax: 058-3880192, e-mail: email@example.com. 07:00-22:00. This modern restaurant not only serves Vietnamese traditional dishes but also provides excellent Western and Asian menu. Over 100 fresh seafood dishes. USD1-10.
- Truc Linh, 21 Biet Thu St, ☎ . 07:00-23:00. Both Asian and Western food. USD1-10.
- White House, 30B Nguyen Thien Thuat St, ☎ . Daily, 09:00-23:00. This place has a very innocent atmosphere and it is very relaxing. Main courses USD6-8.
- Buffalo Steak House, 1/18 Tran Quang Khai St. Good food, nice atmosphere, cocktail bar, run by a French couple. The 70,000 dong local beef tenderloin is recommended. 70,000-250,000 dong.
- Good Morning Vietnam, 19B Biet Thu St, ☎ . 10:00-23:00. Pasta as well as other Italian food. USD4-9.
- Louisiane Brewhouse, Lot 29, Tran Phu (S along Tran Phu from the Sailing Club), ☎ . 08:00-23:00. Microbrewery with locally brewed beers, restaurant with fresh cakes and tarts, sushi, quality pizzas, steaks, Vietnamese food and seafood. Pool table, live music and own loungers right at the beach or pool available. Chaises longues at either the pool or beach are 40,000 dong per day. Even if you get a chair on the beach, you still have pool access. They have a sampling tray of beer for 100,000 dong. 30,000-600,000 dong.
- Nha Trang Seafood, 46 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St, ☎ . 09:30-22:00. Serves fresh and scrumptious seafood. Inexpensive prices and good service. USD2-14.
- Pasta House, 34 Hung Vuong St, ☎ . Since 1999, offers also Indian food. 28,000-67,000 dong.
- Le Petit Bistro, 26D Tran Quang Khai St, ☎ . Traditional small French bistro, offers typical French cuisine. Big selection of wines. speciality of the house: Le maigret de canard. All you can eat BBQ Sundays from 11:00-16:00, 350,000 dong. 30,000-200,000 dong.
- Sailing Club, 72 Tran Phu St, ☎ . 07:00-23:00. This restaurant serves Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, and Italian food. Crowded at night, when it turns into bar. USD3-10.
- Salut (Formerly, Hello), 16 Tran Quang Khai St, ☎ . 06:00-23:00. Two storey corner restaurant serving Western and Vietnamese food.
- Texas BarBQ and Steaks, 26 Tran Quang Khai St, ☎ . 09:00-22:00. A taste of Texas in Vietnam. They import their steak, chicken and pork from the US. The ribs are smoked for 5 hours a day. Charcoal fired burgers and authentic Memphis and Texas BBQ. Nice waitress and staff, who speaks English well. 60,000-550,000 dong.
- Treffpunkt German Bar and Restaurant, 6A Tran Quang Khai St. 09:00-23:00. Homemade German sausages, brown bread and apple pie. Sausages start at 35,000 dong. 35,000-100,000 dong.
- Ana Pavilion, Tran Phu Blvd (In the Ana Mandara Resort), ☎ . 06:00-23:00. An Asian/continental restaurant, and it is excellent. USD7-20.
- Lac Viet Quan Chay, Huynh Thuc Khang St (SE of market, 1.5 blocks NW of To Hienh Thanh St). Vegetarian restaurant. Plate of mixed vegetable and tofu/veg meat dishes with rice or a bowl of noodle soup, less than USD1. A small, humble place, but a nice option for vegetarians and it is right next to the market.
- Restaurant at Long Son Pagoda (At the entrance to Long Son Pagoda). The restaurant serves vegetarian meals only. Great Vietnamese food.
- Altitude (28th floor, Sheraton Hotel). 16:00-22:00. For a great view of Nha Trang at night, perhaps visit the highest bar in Nha Trang. Heineken, 70,000 dong.
- Booze Cruise, 110 Nguyen Thien Thuat St. One of the more popular bars in town, though also one of the most expensive. They generally show most major sporting events on their large flat screen TV. They make great burgers and pizza as well as limitless different types of cocktails. They also organise booze cruises. 350,000 dong including all you can eat and drink.
- Crazy Kim Bar, 19 Biet Thu St, ☎ . Closes 01:00. If you are young and wild, this is the place to be.
- Flavours, 90B Hung Vuong St (Beside Rainbow Divers). Good food, cool music, warm atmosphere. 50,000-200,000 dong.
- Guava, 17 Biet Thu St. Closes 01:00. Music is great here, but it is more suitable for younger crowd. Expat bar with comfortable lounge seating and movies in the daytime. Featuring resident DJ's and the only vinyl decks in Nha Trang.
- Ha Van 'A' Rooftop Lounge & Restaurant, 3/2 Tran Quang Khai, 5th floor (On the 5th floor of the Flamingo Suites Ha Van Hotel), ☎ . 07:00-late. Offering the coldest beers, drinks and cocktails. Small, but very good menu of food. Great city views, and a favourite of expats. Internet stations and Wi-Fi free (good connection). 50-inch TV for movies and sport events. Live NHL ice hockey available in the morning. Football fans are welcome. Canadian-run & managed.
- House of Sweets, 22B Hung Vuong, ☎ . They sell ice cream, milkshakes, fruit shakes and cocktails as well as desserts.
- Ly Ly's Nudies, 81 Huong Vong St (Next to Bamboo). 18:00-22:00. A little outdoor smoothie shop that is the best value in town. 15,000 dong for every drink. Stop by and chat with Ly Ly, a very nice young woman who speaks good English and is very friendly. 15,000 dong.
- Patrick Wine, Tran Quang Khai St (Next to La Suisse Hotel), ☎ . 14:00-02:00. Offering a charming blend of romance and revelry. It offers hundreds of bottles of imported wine. After 18:00 there is a full bar and restaurant, featuring French and Vietnamese food. Crepes, pates, and local specialities, with the wine shop still open. Check the website for live music dates. USD2-6 for food.
- Red Apple Bar, Nguyen Thien Thuat (S of the intersection with Biet Thu). In front of Backpacker Hostel, this bar is easily identified by the neon red apple on the wall. Drinks range from cheap and massive to expensive and small, dependent on whether you are happy with no-name local brand spirits or would rather have a well-known brand from home. 45,000 dong will get you a "bucket" (approximately a pint of your chosen cocktail - quite strong), and the backpacker hosts who circulate through the bar will also often be giving away shots or other drinks to keep the mood flowing. Happy hour from 20:00-22:00 gets 2 for 1 on most mixed drinks. This is a common place to start the night at for many backpackers. Not a bad place to lose a night in Nha Trang.
- SinhTo20, 20 Hoang Hoa Tham St, ☎ . This place has a very good yoghurt and many kinds of cocktails. Prices are reasonable.
- Spicey Fingers (Formerly, Bar Oz)), 26b Tran Quang Khai St, ☎ . Small bar and restaurant in the main tourist area. Cheap beer, food not so cheap, but extensive menu.
- The Wave Bar and Restaurant (Formerly Club Blue Dragon), 126 Nguyen Thien Thuat, ☎ . This friendly spot has a pool table (free), dart board and TV. Clients are also encouraged to play DJ from the bar's iTunes selection. The owners are super friendly. You'll never feel lonely here.
- Why Not Bar, 24 Tran Quang Khai St, ☎ . By far the most popular late night bar for the young Western crowd in Nha Trang. Friendly staff and the most lively late night spot of Nha Trang, free shots on entrance. 35,000 dong buckets until midnight, dollar beers, cheap mixers and various drink specials throughout the rest of the night. Begins getting crowded between 22:00-24:00. Dance floor, pool tables, cheap drinks available until late. By midnight the entire backpacker crowd will be this bar and nearly the every other bar in the area will be deserted.
About 60km north of Nha Trang is a stretch of coastline about 20 km long that contains some of the best beaches in Vietnam. Soft power like white sand beaches with clear blue sea and gentle gradients, these beaches are more beautiful and easier for swimming than in Nha Trang. This is an ideal area to explore by motorbike, perhaps taking a night or two side trip from Nha Trang city. The turn off for Jungle Beach gets you off the busy highway for a more relaxing 20 km stretch of road to Jungle Beach Resort. Just after this turn off for Jungle Beach is the turn off for Doc Let Beach, which is another 13 km away and a similarly more relaxing and scenic road. There is an interconnecting road between Jungle and Doc Let so no need to go all the way back to the highway to get from one to the other.
- Doc Let Beach Resort (Sign-posted), ☎ . The best-known place and closest to the mainland. Though it started out as a traveller's secret, it quickly became a destination for domestic tourists, especially during weekends and holidays. If you take a Vietnamese partner, they won't let you stay in the same room unless you can prove you are married. 320,000-420,000 dong depending on how close to the beach they are.
- Jungle Beach Resort (64 km N of Nha Trang, 15 km S of Doc Let Beach), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Run by a Canadian-Vietnamese couple, all meals are included. If you are looking for a beautiful beach in a very remote and quiet location then this could be your paradise. Keep in mind that they don't have hot water here. This resort also charges USD20 for transportation each way. Extra drinks will cost from 15,000-20,000 dong. USD25 including meals for rooms with shared bath; USD35 including meals for rooms with a private bath.
- Paradise Resort, Nha Nhi Thien Duong (Heading N, follow the signs from Doc Let Resort through Dong Hai village), ☎ , fax: +84 58 670479, e-mail: email@example.com. Run by an elderly gentleman and his Vietnamese family. Vladimir is a very interesting, jovial guy and his family cooks up wonderful food. Beer is cheap, and you just mark a chit on a sheet on the refrigerator to keep track of your total. The beach in front is beautiful and usually deserted except for some village children. It is very easy to sleep a week away there in a hammock kissed by sea breezes. There is usually various travellers there to socialise with at meals and in the evenings. You can rent a motorbike in Nha Trang for the easy ride up to Doc Let. Any buses can also drop you on the main road for a 10 minute walk to Paradise. Vladimir will also drop you in Nha Trang on the back of his scooter if he's going into town. He usually drives his car into Nha Trang on Saturdays so could be a good day to arrive or leave and get a free trip in or out. Bungalows are USD45 for 2 people, USD25 for one. Meals included, and prices for drinks are reasonable. Water, fruits, coffee and tea are free..
- White Sands Resort, ☎ . Adjacent to Doc Let Resort is this more upmarket resort with private beach, large swimming pool, gym, spa, restaurant. USD100+.
There are plenty of budget hotels in Nha Trang costing less than USD20 per night and nearly all are en suite and have the usual air-con, cable TV, fridge, bedside table, wardrobe and night light. Most also have Wi-Fi, if not in rooms, at least in the reception area. "Mini-hotel alley" at 64 Tran Phu is a good place to head for as it has a dozen or so budget hotels located in a relatively quiet alley near the beach and the main tourist area. Hostel dorm beds are available for USD5-7 per night. Don't be surprised if you are followed by a motorbike rider, sometimes they can be helpful showing you where your hotel is but often they are just annoying but either way if you arrive at a hotel with one they will demand commission from the hotel, even if you have a booking.
- Alex Men Lodging (Guesthouse Nha Trang), 3K Hung Vuong St (At Khanh Tourist Office), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The guesthouse is a villa in traditional Vietnamese-style, private rooms with Asian ambience. USD10-30.
- Aloha Motel, 26A Tran Quang Khai St (5 min walk from the beach), ☎ . Air conditioning, a small flat screen, and a refrigerator in each room. A small hotel, but nice, clean rooms and nice staff. USD10-15.
- Blue House, 12/8 Hung Vuong St, ☎ . It is structured like a shore house run by a family. They are very friendly and will welcome you warmly. Breakfast is provided and it is home cooked. Though there are only a few running the place, the service is great. USD6-13.
- Blue Star Hotel. Terrific hotel close to the beach. Six floors with an elevator and Internet computers in the foyer. Wi-Fi for the rooms, some of which have ocean views. Booking in advance recommended. USD10-15.
- 53 Yersin Mini Hotel, 53 Yersin, e-mail: email@example.com. Neat, clean and nicely furnished, a bit outside of the noisy backpacker area. The owner speaks English and is very friendly. USD8.
- Ha Thu, 64/2 Tran Phu, ☎ . Rooms are clean and staff is friendly. There is free Wi-Fi and a computer with Internet in the lobby. The top floor room is huge, with a big, private, covered balcony with a view of the sea as the sun rises. USD6-12.
- Ha Tram Hotel, 64B/5 Tran Phu, ☎ . In mini hotel alley, close to beach and main tourist area in quiet and safe location. All rooms have air-con, en suite with hot water, cable TV, Wi-Fi and fridge. Hotel has 15 rooms on 6 floors and has an elevator. USD10-15.
- Ha Van Hotel, 3/2 Tran Quang Khai St, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. USD18-30 (breakfast included).
- Hông Hà, 28-30 Thai Nguyen St (Across from Nha Trang Railway Station). Six floors with elevator. Free and good Wi-Fi for the rooms. Staff sleeping in the lobby for 24/7 access. Sometimes issues with charges for damages to the room that are pre-existing. USD10-15.
- Nha Khach Thai Nguyen Guest House, 18D Yet Kieu, ☎ , e-mail: , email@example.com. Not far from the beach, the owner is a nice and friendly woman. While you stay there she will make you feel at home, if you want to share local life. Free coffee, free Wi-Fi and cable TV.
- Nha Trang Hotel, 127 Thong Nhat St, ☎ . USD10+.
- Nha Trang Inn & Suites, 15B Nguyen Chanh, ☎ . Elevator, free Wi-Fi, free HBO in every rooms. Conveniently close to the bus stations Phuong Nam and Phuong Trang so can transit easily to other city. The manager speaks English and Czech. USD10-15.
- Nice Hotel, dc 44 Hung vuong, ☎ 3-525680. A/C double rooms with cable TV and hot-water bathrooms. $12.
- Perfume Grass Inn, 4A Biet Thu St, ☎ . Family-run and accommodating to travelers' needs. USD15-25.
- Pho Bien Hotel, 64/1 Tran Phu, ☎ . Newly renovated (2014) mini hotel, all 19 private rooms have air-con, en suite, cable TV, fridge and Wi-Fi. This place is clean and has a terrific location. Room 503 (double) has a big balcony with fabulous sea views. The hotel has an elevator and 2 Internet computers for use in the lobby. They also have a brand new dorm room with 2 separate bathrooms and adjacent rooftop terrace with sea views. Buffet breakfast available for 50,000 dong. USD5-20.
- La Suisse Hotel, 34 Tran Quang Khai St, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. It has Internet access including Wi-Fi in all rooms and three computers in the reception area. They have an elevator. Free breakfast included in their rooftop lounge. Free pick up from train and bus stations with own minivan. USD20-40.
- Thanh Ngoc 2, 14 Tue Tinh, ☎ . All rooms equipped with TV, air-con and spacious beds. USD8+.
- Truong Giang hotel, 3/8 Tran Quang Khai, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A budget hotel with essential amenities and facilities, near the beach. Quiet and clean. USD8-20.
- Viet Hai Hotel, 13B2 Hoang Hoa Tham St, ☎ . All rooms have air-con, en suite bath, cable TV, fridge and Wi-Fi. USD6-12.
- Cozy Condos and Apartments, 6C Hem Tue Tinh, ☎ . For those who prefer a cosy home to a hotel room, this is the place to stay. Close to city centre and beach, quiet and safe location (near Military Hospital). Single rooms with large double beds, living room, kitchen and balcony. Fully equipped, including large refrigerator, oven, micro wave oven, kitchenware, in-room safe, washing machine with separate drying area. etc. Wi-Fi, domestic phone calls and international TV channels free of charge. 24-hour security, guarded parking lot, elevator, café bar on top of building. USD17.50-25.
- HQ Cafe and Apartments, 55/8 Nguyen Thien Thuat St, ☎ 84 58 6252524. Double rooms, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments in the centre of the nightlife and restaurant area. Rooms have free use of an in-room computer with Internet, fridge with minibar, satellite TV, LCD TV. There is a coffee shop that serves coffee and fruit juices in the foyer. USD22-49.
- Memento Resort, 15 Le Chan St (In the countryside around 15 km W of Nha Trang). In the middle of the rice fields you will find this little family-owned resort. If you like a traquil place and want to enjoy the countryside, then this is the place for you. They also have a swimming pool.
- Nha Trang Lodge Hotel, 40 Tran Phu St, ☎ 84 58 810500. Most rooms overlook the beach giving you an extraordinary sea views. Rooms are equipped with phones, satellite TV, a minibar, etc. Service is great. USD60-170.
- Que Huong Hotel, 60 Tran Phu Blvd, ☎ . Within walking distance of the beach. There is a nice restaurant accompanied by a pool hall and disco. Great amenities offered as well as the services. USD55-105.
- Starlet Hotel, 32-34 Tue Tinh (Down Tue Tinh, just before the Hospital on the left). Check-out: 12:00. This place has a bit of a business feel, but its very clean rooms have classy, attractive decor, if lacking a bit in character. Many of the rooms offer balconies with fantastic city and sea views, its location is great, and the included breakfast buffet is nothing to turn your nose up at. There is free Wi-Fi in the rooms, a good selection of reasonably priced room service, and it has a pool and gym. The staff is very friendly, and you can change foreign currency at the front desk at decent rates. USD40-50.
- Vien Dong Hotel, 1 Tran Hung Dao St, ☎ . Well-known and affordable, with all the basic amenities needed plus some live entertainment at night. USD35-45.
- Evason Ana Mandara & Six Senses Spa, Tran Phu Blvd, ☎ . If you don’t mind the price, this is the spot to go all out and get the once-in-a-lifetime royal treatment. USD210-450.
- Diamond Bay Resort & Spa Nha Trang, Diamond Bay, Song Lo, ☎ . This extremely spaciously laid-out resort hosted the 2008 Miss Universe pageant. Hotel rooms, suites and villas. Enormous pool (non-chlorinated) spa, fitness, several restaurants & bars, tennis, expatriate chef and expatriate GM. Two private beaches. USD125-600.
- Nha Trang Hilton Bed & Breakfast, ☎ . The Hilton Bed & Breakfast, not related to the Hilton Hotel, where you can participate in the daily life of a Vietnamese family while staying here.
- Novotel, 50 Tran Phu, ☎ . Luxury hotel. Awesome staff, food, room, Internet. Small pool, but the ocean is less than 100 m away. USD105.
- Sheraton Hotel, 26-28 Tran Phu. Luxury hotel with swimming pool, gym and open air bar on 28th floor with great views across Nha Trang beachfront.
- Six Senses Hideaway (By speed boat to Ninh Van Bay), ☎ . Private resort, suitable for whomever wants to get away from everything. USD405-1,255.
- Sunrise Beach Resort Nha Trang, 12 Tran Phu St, ☎ . This resort is all polished marble and white columns with 10 floors. It has a great view of ocean-side as well as the sky from its glass rooftop. USD140-500.
- Vinpearl Resort (On an island in Nha Trang Bay. You can get there by cable car). Luxury hotel with the biggest pool in Vietnam. Guests have unlimited access to the water park.
- Yasaka Saigon-NhaTrang Hotel, 18 Tran Phu St, ☎ . Japanese/Vietnamese hotel. Service here is very friendly, and it has all the amenities you would need. It is just walking distance to the beach. USD100-355.
Nha Trang generally has a low crime rate, though the risk of petty crime especially late at night is high compared to most other places in Asia. The most common crime is pick pocketing after midnight near the Sailing Club. During the day, it is relatively safe though bag snatching on the beach is no uncommon, so don't take any valuables to the beach. Staying cautious at all times is best. Do not wear too much jewellery, and keep an eye on your belongings. It would be smart to travel in groups when you are out roaming the streets at night. Also, people coming home from the clubs should take a taxi and not a motorbike taxi. Single males walking back to their hotels in the early hours from clubs and bars such as the Sailing Club and Why Not Bar, especially if a little drunk, should beware of ladies approaching, typically in twos or threes, but often with a couple of guys on motorbikes watching closely from a distance ready to be get-away drivers or to get involved if things get nasty. They come over all friendly and touchy-feely, first checking to see what valuables you have and where, then relieve you of them. Often the victim doesn't even know he's been robbed until he gets back to his room or after he wakes up. This is almost becoming a tourist attraction in the sense you can watch this spectacle almost nightly, perhaps helping out a fellow drunken tourist being robbed. Unbelievably, no police are seen, and no hotel or bar security gets involved.
Do not keep money in your passport. If you want your hotel to lock up your money, they will usually be happy to do so in their hotel safe and have procedures for doing that. Passports are kept separate from other valuables as they need access to these for reporting each day your stay to the government. Better than giving the passport to the hotel is handing over a photocopy (personal data page and visa). It is never a good idea to give your passport to anyone other than officials. Never store money in your passport. Keep some money in a different pocket to your wallet/money belt. No point in displaying it when paying for small purchases.
Drive-by motorcycle theft is fairly common in Nha Trang. Banknotes and wallets have been snatched from tourists' hands.
If hiring a motorbike, check what coverage your insurance company gives for riding motorbikes in Asia, and it is frequently none.
Do not argue with locals who try to hustle money from you. This includes tourist touts, moto taxis, etc. They can become violent and aggressive easily, often resorting to the use of rocks or even concealed weapons. Although they can be a bit harder to get rid of than in other places, it is best to avoid these people altogether.
Internet access can be found in many hotels and through cheap Internet cafes all over town. There are not that many Internet cafes around now as most hotels typically have about 3 Internet computers available for free use by guests. Most hotels and many restaurants and bars also provide free Wi-Fi.
When using the telephone at a hotel be sure to check what service provider they use. A Skype phone will cost a few US dollars for a lengthy phone call compared to USD1 per minute by landline.
Mobile SIM cards are readily available, mobifone seems the best option for tourists. Their SIM cards cost 50,000 dong or a little more depending where you buy it and come with about 100,000 dong credit for use in the first month. They also provide 3G Internet data packages, e.g., 1.5 Gb for one month costs 120,000 dong. Cellular Data info: APN: m-wap Username: mms Password: mms
If you're booking bus tickets via an agent, try to find out the bus company being used and avoid TM Brothers buses. They have a bad reputation, and some of the seats are broken and you can find cockroaches on the bus. However, their buses are usually a few dollars cheaper than other companies.
- Dalat 3-4 hr, 120,000 dong, hourly between 07:00-15:00 with Phuong Trang Co
- Hoi An 6 hrs
- Quy Nhon 228 km north: 6 hr, 115,000 dong, at 07:30, 08:30, 13:00 and 15:30
- Ha Linh 23 hr, 300,000 dong
- Mai Linh 28 hr, or 24 hr "express" bus, 300,000 dong
- Mui Ne 6 hr
- Ho Chi Minh City 10 hr. 200,000 dong. Both morning and overnight buses available, both the day and night bus are sleeper buses. Tickets can be booked from any travel agent or guesthouse. This is by far the cheapest way to Ho Chi Minh City.
A soft sleeper on the SNT1 or SE1, SE3, SE5 or SE7 trains from Nha Trang to Ho Chi Minh City costs 445,000 dong for lower bed T1 or 400,000 dong for upper bed T2. These are the prices if purchased from the Nha Trang train station, but will be higher from an agent. Hotels will typically be able to buy the ticket for you for an additional 30,000 dong. The scenery on this journey is not that great compared to further north, so you are not missing out too much by travelling overnight.
- The SE1 train departs Nha Trang at 20:26 and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City at 04:10.
- The SE3 train departs Nha Trang at 21:42 and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City at 04:30.
- The SE5 train departs Nha Trang at 12:39 and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City at 20:00.
- The SE7 train departs Nha Trang at 08:41 and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City at 16:48.
- The SNT1 train departs Nha Trang at 18:40 and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City at 05:20.
There are several other beaches in the vicinity of Nha Trang. About 30 km north of Nha Trang, just when past the village of Ninh Hoa, a peninsula juts out into the South China Sea, and on its northern coast is its tinier brother, Hon Khoi. Several resorts are on the eastern beach of Hon Khoi, where you find palm trees, white sand, and turquoise waters. To get there, follow the highway north past the turnoff to Dac Lac Province/Buon Ma Thuot. Then look out for a sign reading "Doc Let-Resort", close to a filling station. A taxi will take 2 persons for about 200,000 dong, while a xe om should not be more expensive than 100,000 dong. Or catch a through bus travelling Hwy 1 and get off at the turn off. There will always be some motorbike drivers waiting to take you. Whatever place you choose to go, be sure to reserve a bungalow in advance.