Vietnam’s most popular beach destination Nha Trang, the capital of Khanh Hoa province, sits in the south of Vietnam around 450km north of Ho Chi Minh City — a train journey of as little as seven hours or 45 minutes by plane. The trip brings the weary traveller to the best city beach Vietnam has to offer. The town sits in a spectacular setting, surrounded by paddy fields which eventually yield to a semi circle of mountains that loom over this bustling coastal centre.
Most are attracted here for the same reasons — a beach perfect for a few days relaxation, where the sand stretches along the bay for 6km and for most of the year the sea is a brilliant turquoise colour. Ideal for backpackers, the city also has arguably the best nightlife in Vietnam outside of Saigon, with numerous bars catering to the budget and tourist market, and parties raging until late every night in the Sailing Club — the only post-midnight destination for the late crowd. It doesn’t look like Pattaya just yet, but the rapid transformation of seafront Tran Phu St shows the influx of 5 star resorts and high rise hotels is not going to slow — Nha Trang even has its own private island resort, Vin Pearl Land.
Many also come for the diving — Nha Trang will argue to be the best location for diving in Vietnam. Visibility can hit 30m, though usually more like 15-20m, and the marine life includes reef sharks and stingrays. More than eight dive shops work the thirty or so sites in the bay and beyond. Plenty resides above water in the ocean around Nha Trang, so diving is not essential as swimming and snorkelling are just as easily enjoyed — simply hop on one of the many boat trips that cruise the bay and its islands daily.
For those not interested in diving or sunbathing, other attractions in the city and surrounding area include, the Ba Ho waterfalls, the ‘mineral’ mud baths, the Cham Tower and Long Son pagoda. Further afield, Nha Trang is a perfect base to explore outlying places such as Whale Island, Jungle Beach and even the central highlands — Buon Ma Thuot is just a bumpy 205km away.
Nha Trang caters for all, from the 5 star high end family holiday to the backpackers budget rest-place, from the long sandy beach to the (sometimes) crystal seas, and not forgetting the lively bar scene in the evenings — and that’s without even leaving town limits. Don’t forget to try freshly caught BBQ lobster on the street, after all, seafood is one of Nha Trang’s many highlights!