Nha Trang on Vietnam’s south central coast is arguably the country’s best beachside city. It’s modern and quite small in size, meaning that your hotel is unlikely to be far from the action. The main traveler-friendly streets around are all short walking distances from one another, and each is in turn just a stone’s throw from the beach.
Thanks to direct flights from Russia to Nha Trang airport, it’s become a popular sun, sea and sand getaway for Russian nationals, so don’t be surprised when you see shop fronts and menus in all of Vietnamese, Russian and English!
While the oceanfront has been modernized, the wilderness is easily accessed from Nha Trang, with spectacular oceanside drives to the north and south, while the hills and mountains of the south central highlands loom up behind the city In fact, the foggy, verdant mountain city of Da Lat is just over 100km away!
48 Hours in Nha Trang
8 am: Hit the streets, chow down and see Po Nagar Temple
As usual in Vietnam, we advise getting the walking done in the morning and evening before the heat escalates. The streets of Nha Trang are a great place to pad around and take in Vietnamese life in full flow. In and around the Bach Dang area is where the best action is to be seen. Pick up a simple banh mi breakfast from a street vendor to take with you as you go. You might notice that the banh mi, the ubiquitous sandwich of Vietnam, differs a little from region to region, and in Nha Trang the bread is a little denser and doughier than it’s crispy counterparts in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
If you feel like checking out some ancient history, catch a taxi, or indeed take a long walk over the Tran Phu bridge to the north side of town, where things have an altogether more ‘local’ and quaint feel. Po Nagar Tower is a lasting relic of the Cham Kingdom which survived in these parts from the 2nd to the 17th century. It’s yet another reminder that while Vietnam’s modern history is complex enough, her ancient history is perhaps even more so!
2pm: Nha Trang Beach
The main beachfront of nha trang offers up a 4 kilometre stretch of golden sands and crashing waves. It would be rude not to spend an afternoon lazing around here!
Some parts of the beach are leased by the hotels or restaurants opposite and offer sun loungers and parasols for a small fee, usually US$3-4 a day. It’s a worthy investment in truth -- you’ll have shade from the sizzling sun, a place to lay your head and snooze and read, and waitstaff to bring you snacks and drinks.
A small word to the wise though, some of the vendors along the beach can be quite territorial, having to hustle hard to make ends meet, so show some decorum when it comes to bringing your own food and drinks.
Meanwhile, keep a sharp eye on the ocean swell. Usually the waters of Nha Trang beach are temperate and calm, but on occasion they can get pretty rough and create dangerous rip currents. If no one else is swimming, it might be best to stick to the shallows.
6pm :Time to eat
Head back onto the streets to find yourself a good dinner. Nha Trang has loads of solid dining options along Tran Quang Khai and Nguyen Thien Thuat streets, but we’d recommend heading back into the Bach Dang area for the best food. We’ll leave it up to you to choose the specifics, but when it comes to Nha Trang street food, Banh Can is a must try: Mini rice flour pancakes cooked in clay “pots”, topped with shredded mango and dipped in sweet chili fish sauce.
If your after something a little more “western”, make a reservation at LIVINcollective. By day, it’s a cafe and creative co-working space, but by evening it becomes an American barbecue house, specializing in slow cooked ribs, pulled pork, local brewed craft beer and plenty of other delicious, smoky dishes.
One final dinner option we’ll suggest is sushi. Not just any old sushi, but Sushi Kiwami. You’ll likely need a reservation, as Sushi Kiwami is only hold around 30 people at best. Chef Shoji was the first Japanese sushi chef in Nha Trang, and his establishment is considered one of the best places to eat in the city. Take a seat at the counter and watch chef Shoji work his magic as you eat.
8 am: Get out of the city
Not far from Nha Trang in any given direction lie a choice of fantastic getaways. Unfortunately, you’ll only really have time to take in one in a day, but here’s what there is to offer:
Perfect if you’re travelling with kids. Vinpearl land is a resort and theme park on Hon Tre Island, visible from Nha Trang and accessible by boat or cable car. On the island there’s a waterpark, a floating bay, high end restaurants, an aquarium and plenty more fun, family friendly entertainment.
Nha Trang Island Hopping
A fun and easy way to spend day two is on the ocean, sailing between a series of small islands around Nha Trang bay, eating local seafood and maybe even being invited to do some karaoke. It’s not exactly high end travelling, but it’s a cookie, innocent way to see the beauty of the area.
Coastal Road Bike Tour
The ocean roads north and south of Nha Trang are peaceful and beautiful to look at, and thrilling to drive on. To the north, you can follow the coast along cliff faces and through small fishing villages until to reach Ba Ho Waterfalls, where after a trek through the jungle you can cool off with a refreshing plunge in the natural pools.
Meanwhile to the south lies one of Vietnam’s best roads. Head along the coast to Vinh Hy Bay, 2 - 3 hours south of Nha Trang. The road runs right alongside the ocean, with Nui Chua National Park on the other side. Tiny secluded beaches and sparkling water reveal themselves around almost every corner on this mesmerising coastal road.
Rent a bike yourself if you’re qualified to do so, or book a tour with a driver who knows best.
6pm: Beers back at the beach
After a long day out, you’ll be in severe need of a moment to wind down and relax as the waves roll in and the sun begins to drop. Louisiane Brewhouse and The Sailing Club are next door neighbours, and each makes a prime spot to sit with a view of the beach with a drink in hand. The food at both is top notch too! The former has its own brewery inhouse, and makes top quality European style beer, while the latter specialises in great cocktails. In the later hours of the evening, The Sailing Club turns into nightlife central, as revellers take to the dance floor and stay until the early hours of the morning.