Considered Vietnam’s most famous seaside resort-town, Nha Trang attracts foreign tourists for not only its stunningly pristine beaches but also the urban atmosphere of a young tourist city.
Location & History
According to historical records, Nha Trang was known as Kauthara under the Champa, as it is still home to the famous Po Nagar Tower built by the Champa. Until the French colonization, Nha Trang used to be no more than small fishing villages. The French recognized Nha Trang as a perfect place for bathing, so they invested in the transformation to turn Nha Trang into a resort town.
Nha Trang has consistently maintained its position as one of the most beautiful bays of the world. The town is about 450km north of Saigon and 1200km south of Hanoi. With the 4-km- long main strip of beaches, Nha Trang Bay covers the area of 405km2 including 19 large and small islands. As viewed from high above, the bay looks like the aquamarine stone sparkling in the sunshine, bounded by miles of smoothly golden sands.
By plane: Cam Ranh Airport (CXR), built on the grounds of an old American airbase in 2004, is located 30km from the city and serves domestic destinations as well as Russia and South Korea. Taxi fare from the airport to downtown locations is a fixed rate of 380,000 VND, though many hotels have their own buses. Do not offer to go by the meter here as it is about 100,000 VND more expensive than the fixed rate. Try to take a Mai Linh taxi as the Airport taxi drivers will quite often try to take advantage of you in some way.
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 quarters. 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 6km of beach. Careful when you cross the road - one of the most dangerous in Vietnam. Some taxis are homicidal.
Nha Trang has a reliable and easy to navigate public bus system, where the ticket fare does not exceed 7,000 Dong (October 2014)for a ride on a modern, air-conditioned bus with Vietnamese music. You will find buses nr. 4 and 6 the most useful, since they pass through the southern quarters. You can try ask local people about the bus route with the map for the sightseeing places. 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.
An option for seeing the sites is to hire a cyclo-driver for the day. Clarify the price. Many cyclos and motos are shysters who deliberately confuse 15 with 50, 16 with 60 etc. Beware of the ones who are just pimps who insist on taking you to local hookers and try to pickpocket you in the process.
It’s 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 there's no sun to burn their skin.
Vietnam Motorcycle memory, +84 90 511-6221 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Operate easy rider tours out of Nha Trang riding pillion on the motorbikes with a guide each. Day tours are available and they specialize in multi day tours of the central highlands and Ho Chi Minh Trail through to Hoi An. Multi day tours involve securely attaching luggage to the back of the bike and include accommodation. You get the guides for the day, sharing most meals with them and stopping regularly for rests and for visiting local attractions. Accommodation is usually the best hotel in town (Central highlands are cheap) and the drivers are very safe. A tour of the central highlands is one way to get off the tourist trail. USD65 per day including accommodation.