Nha Trang is one of Vietnam's most pleasant beach resorts. Just a 45-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang is renowned for its pristine palm tree-lined beachfront. The gentle waters of Nha Trang Bay make for enjoyable swimming, and numerous islands nearby are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. Nha Trang has numerous other sights, not least an attractive city centre of French-colonial buildings and small shops. One of the most lasting images of Nha Trang is the brilliant oranges, reds, and purples of bougainvillea flowers that seem to cover everything in this charming city. Given its proximity to the sea, it is not surprising that Nha Trang's restaurants serve outstanding seafood. A number of restaurants along the seafront provide a pleasant outdoor setting for eating freshly caught fish, shrimp and squid.
Where to stay in Nha Trang?
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay sits on dramatic Ninh Van Bay, with its impressive rock formations overlooking the East Vietnam Sea, white sand beach and towering mountains behind, all adding to the sense of being luxuriously at one with nature. The exclusive property also presents the reality of the destination, with an architectural style reflecting the traditions of Vietnam. Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang reflects the image of an old Vietnamese village, with its warm hospitality, rich culture and unique tastes. The exclusive location of Evason Ana Mandara affords city-centre access to Nha Trang’s only beachfront resort. It is surrounded by private tropical gardens, offering simplicity, serenity and refinement together with spectacular views of Nha Trang Bay. An Lam Villas is a luxury hotel in Vietnam, set in a tropical forest in Ninh Van Bay, overlooking the South China Sea. An Lam Villas 35 luxury villas all feature private plunge pools, air conditioning and free WiFi, blending Vietnamese tradition with modern amenities. The Beachfront and Lagoon Villas have astonishing views over Ninh Van Bay and the lagoon, and the Rock Villas enjoy panoramic vistas of the glistening ocean through tropical trees. The Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa is centrally located in Tran Phu Street, overlooking the bay and just steps from some of the city's most popular attractions, shopping and night life. Whether you are looking for a resort style leisure destination or a sophisticated conference venue, you cannot go past Novotel Nha Trang. Looking out on to the sea and close to transport and the city centre, this stylish 4 star hotel is centrally located on the main street of the renowned resort city of Nha Trang.
Nha Trang – Attractions
Po Nagar Temple
Starting in the 8th century, the Cham people, an early Hindu empire in central Vietnam, built the Po Ngar Cham temple complex to honor Yang Ino Po Ngar, mother of the kingdom. Set on the site of an earlier wooden temple burned by the Japanese in A.D. 774, there were originally 10 structures here, of which just 3 remain. The main tower, or Po Ngar Kalan, is one of the tallest Cham structures anywhere, and its square tower and three-story cone roof are exemplary of Cham style. The towers of Po Ngar have retained structural integrity, giving you a good idea of how it might have looked in all its glory. Two pillars of carved epitaphs of Cham kings are in the vestibule, and two original carved doors are in the sanctuary. The statue inside is of the goddess Bharagati, aka Po Ngar, on her lotus throne. It was carved in A.D. 1050. The Po Ngar temples are still used by local Buddhists who have adopted the site as their own, and the altars and smoking incense add to the intrigue of the architecture. Detracting from the whole experience are kitsch stands and lots of hawkers. To get there, you cross an expansive bridge spanning the mouth of the Cai River as it flows to the sea. There's a small fish market along the river -- take a left to the riverside as you approach the temples a great place to visit in the early morning, when boats are just bringing in their catch. The wide river, with its many bright blue and red fishing boats, is a picture.
Established on September 14, 1922, the Oceanographic Center south of Nha Trang (at the foot of the outcrop where Bao Dai built his villa) is a fun visit for kids and popular with large groups of domestic tourists. The place is a bit run-down, with outdoor aquarium areas that could use a good scrub and a coat of paint. Despite some rather lackluster presentation the shark tank, for example, is a big cement pond that you look over from above and from one window on the side -- there is an exacting collection of the kinds of fish you would find in the sea near Nha Trang, and all are labeled in English. The best are the smaller aquariums in the back. Find reef sharks, turtles, living coral, anemones, puffers, lionfish, clownfish, sea horses, and a whole array of colorful reef species, some quite rare. The big turtles out back live in pretty cramped quarters, as do the crocs, but the kids delight at being close-up to these big boys, and particularly the aquarium area is a fun visit alongside the many Vietnamese tour groups who don't see too many Westerners in their day-to-day lives (you're as much on display as the fish). The museum area holds 20,000 specimens collected over its long history, some full skeletons and others preserved in formaldehyde solution. The institute sponsors ongoing research and community projects, ranging from monitoring aquatic life to developing captive breeding programs and encouraging preservation and regeneration of local coral reefs.
Long Son Pagoda
The main attraction at this pagoda (ca. 1930s) is the huge white Buddha on the hillside behind the main compound; the 24m-high (79-ft.) statue is an important symbol of Nha Trang. Around the base of the Buddha are portraits of monks who immolated themselves to protest against the corrupt Diem regime; each monk's portrait, carved in relief on a paneled side of the statue, is framed in flames. After climbing the numerous flights of stairs, you'll also be rewarded with a bird's-eye view of Nha Trang.
Here you can get an inkling of the work of one of Vietnam's greatest heroes. Swiss doctor Yersin founded Dalat, isolated an important plague-causing bacterium, and researched agricultural methods and meteorological forecasting, all to the great benefit of the Vietnamese. Yersin arrived in Nha Trang in 1891 and dedicated the better part of his life to scientific discovery from his busy laboratory here, until his passing in 1943. He founded the Pasteur Institute in 1895. On display are his desk, overflowing library, and scientific instruments.