Nha Trang is the popular beach destination for people in Vietnam. White, sandy beaches are imposed against a dramatic backdrop of mountains, and with nineteen islands to choose from, it is no wonder that this is a popular place for tourists. This is the perfect spot to learn how to dive, while still keeping your budget in check. While the beaches are nice, keep in mind this place is very, very popular and can sometimes be a bit of a hassle or full of drunk backpackers.
Hostel Prices – Dorms start at $6 USD per night, while private rooms average $12-20 USD per night for a double.
Budget Hotel Prices – Expect to pay from $9-18 USD per night to stay in a budget hotel for a double room
Average Cost of Food – Street food starts at $0.75 USD. Local food in restaurants starts at $1.50 USD; Western food is more expensive at $3.50 USD and up.
Transportation Costs – A cyclo taxi is your best bet at only $1 USD per kilometer. Other taxis start at $1 USD per kilometer. Buses are crowded but rarely cost more than $0.50 USD. If you stay near the beach, however, you likely won’t need any transportation.
Money Saving Tips
Diving – There are quite a few dive shops in Nha Trang so it is possible to hunt around for the best price and bargain with the shop owners.
Street food – As in most of Vietnam, street food is the cheapest and most exciting local food you can find. You can usually get delicious pork meat sandwiches on the street for about $2 USD.
Top Things to See and Do
Snorkel – Snorkeling and diving are probably the most popular things to do at Nha Trang. Tread a little offshore and there are islands which offer both activities. It’s best to avoid the windy season (October and December) though. Nha Trang is a great location for seeing some underwater life, however it’s even better if you want to get a scuba certificate.
Set sail – There are plenty of places to go around here and plenty more boat companies who offer boat trips. It is an opportunity to see the different islands off of the mainland and a trip will usually will include snorkeling, a visit to an aquarium and fish farm plus plenty of boat grub and alcohol. These tours are generally aimed towards the 18 to 30 crowd. Shop around so you can find one boat trip that suits you best. This is ideal if you want to see more of Nha Trang than just the mainland.
Visit Po Nagar – Dedicated to Yan Po Nagar, the goddess of the country, the temple tower was founded sometime before 781 AD and therefore plays a big part in the history and archaeology of the country. With being up a mountain, you get a good view of the beautiful landscapes of Nha Trang.
Lounge on the beaches – If you want a change from the Nha Trang beach, Bai Dai beach or Long Beach is nearby and stretches for six miles of gorgeous white sand. It has a relaxed, breezy atmosphere with little cafes and restaurants gracing its shores and serving seafood. Watch your stuff when you go swimming as thieves are known to steal stuff.
See the Buddha at Long Son Pago – Long Son Pago, founded in the late 19th century, is home to a 79 ft tall, white Buddha. Seated atop the hill, the pagoda is an historical artifact built to honor monks and nuns who died protesting against the Diem government. The place also as sweeping views of Nha Trang City.
Check out the National Oceanographic Museum – At the far south end of Nha Trang is the National Oceanographic Museum. Great for those who do not like the idea of diving because here there are tanks of marine life and stuffed birds and sea mammals. Brilliant if you want to occupy a couple of hours on a not so pleasant day.
Head to Yang Bay – Yang Bay is a charming excursion from Nha Trang. Once you get here, you will find three different sets of falls; Yang Bay, Yang Khang and Ho Cho. However, once you get to Yang Bay it is a matter of climbing to discover all three of these waterfalls. Surrounded by dense forestation and mountainous terrain, it is slightly off the beaten track and a good area to visit when you want to leave the crowds of the beach.
Relax in the Hot Springs – Hot springs and mud bathing are popular in Nha Trang. A relaxing past-time, the mud claims to have somewhat healing powers with the mud formed from rocks and volcanic ash.
Shop in Cho Dam Market – For an authentic Nha Tran shopping experience, there is no better place than Cho Dam open air market. With vendors selling fresh produce, the catch of the day, and everything from fake designer gear to watches, I highly recommended that you put your bargaining hat on and see what kind of bargains you can find!
Visit the Alexandre Yersin Museum – For any zoologists or science geeks out there, this museum might be for you. Dr. Yersin was a Swiss scientist who came to Vietnam in the late 19th century to study sick animals. He eventually invented a serum from buffalo and horses. This museum showcases his life’s work and findings.
Hike to the Bao Dai Villas – These villas are perched on top of a small hill. From the top, you’ll get a great view of Nha Trang Bay.
Visit waterfalls – There are a number of swimming holes and waterfalls in the area that you can access, such as the Fairy Spring Waterfalls and the Ba Ho waterfalls. Some of these are best reached by a combination of motorbike and hiking. Check with locals ahead of time, and some of the holes are too cold for swimming in the winter.