Updated March 2018
A long curving white sand beach with turquoise waters is Nha Trang on Vietnam’s southern coast. This beach may be just the travel destination you need to visit to relax. And in between relaxing on the beach, you can go snorkelling in a marine park or take a visit to historical sites. Your five nights in Nha Trang is an experience when travelling in Vietnam.
How to Get to Nha Trang, Vietnam
While the younger travellers will opt for a bus or the train, we found flying with Vietnam Airlines the cheapest option when booked in advance.
Nha Trang airport now uses the former US air force base built and used during the American War. From the airport, it is a 40-minute drive to the beaches of Nha Trang.
But just a heads up, if you are flying from Ho Chi Minh city, there may be a delay.
We had booked a 12.20 pm flight only to find it was delayed by 45 minutes. We thought, that’s ok, and as the airline had given us a lunch voucher, we were happy.
The funny thing was when we went to the allocated airport restaurant, we found a dedicated sign. Was this delay a reoccurring nightmare for travellers?
Oh no, another flight update, the plane is now scheduled for 3.45pm only 3.5 hours behind schedule. We were starting to feel like Tom Hanks in the movie The Terminal where he ends up living in an airport terminal for a period of time
Anyway, we managed to scrounge another food voucher so we could get a coffee and cake to keep us sustained.
Finally, we boarded the plane only to sit on the tarmac with no air conditioning as the plane was now in a huge queue. Apparently, our original flight got bumped as the plane wasn’t full and was then rescheduled for the next flight.
So, six hours later we finally take off.
Where to Stay for Five Nights in Nha Trang Vietnam
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We chose Novotel Nha Trang on 50 Tran Phu Street as it was on the beach promenade and directly across from the beach. The hotel has their own deck chairs, towels, drinks and attendant to help. But there is a pool within the hotel if you prefer that to the sea.
Novotel Nha Trang room rates were reasonable, and the rooms were large and comfortable. We loved the breakfast that was included in the price as the food was delicious with a wide variety of choices.
Overall, the staff were great and the cocktails at happy hour delicious too.
When choosing accommodation for your stay, we have a few favourite sites.
Always a favourite of ours, and you can receive a 15% discount when you click here Booking.com.
But for us, we love the lower prices of Hotels.com where after your 10th-night booked, your next night is discounted by your average stay rate. Click here on Hotels.com to start your discounts.
When we are staying longer and need the use of a kitchen, we use Airbnb. If you are new to Airbnb, then click here on Airbnb to get a discount on your first booking.
Nightlife in Nha Trang
You will find there is no excuse to stay indoors when the Nha Trang nightlife has so much on offer. The beach and the waterfront boulevard comes alive with so much activity. With the beach paths having great lighting. it makes an evening walk so enjoyable, especially with a cooling ocean breeze.
You will find various bars and restaurants scattered amongst the palm trees, this is so idyllic. And perhaps you may just see a fashion show.
If the beach at night is not your thing then the main boulevard has some great restaurants. Some even offering unusual foods. But, you can always stick to just ordinary seafood.
And if you are wanting to pick up some souvenirs or bargains, then check out the Nha Trang Night Market.
Nha Trang Beaches
The beaches in Nha Trang won’t disappoint when the water temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius and a lot cooler than the hot waters of Thailand.
With hotels dotted along the beach promenade, many of the hotels have their own beach area for patrons. No need to worry if you are a casual visitor, as there is still plenty of beach space to be enjoyed.
We loved our daily swim at Tran Phu Beach, the largest and most popular beach of Nha Trang. But it is not the only option. You could try the beaches near Hon Chong Promontory or perhaps take a day trip from Nha Trang to Bai Dai Beach.
Experience the Culture of the Cham Dancers
The Nha Trang Cultural Centre on the beachfront boulevard was crammed with people one evening. Everyone was experiencing the beauty of watching Cham Dancers performing a traditional dance. The Cham People can be traced back to the 2nd century in south-east Asia.
Where to Eat in Nha Trang
Seafood is in abundance everywhere you look in Nha Trang. But buying a portion of seafood for your meal can be a negotiation with the restaurant. We decided to try our luck bargaining the price of some prawns and crab, including the cooking.
And we had a bit of fun and the seafood was delicious.
The only downside was we ate our meal a bit quicker than we intended. While we were sitting at the table, we spied a large cockroach scuttling along the floor of the open air restaurant.
It’s funny, if we were still in New Zealand we would have complained to management for a bug that size in a restaurant. But hey, even though we had being travelling only a couple of months, we were learning to go with the flow of the cultures we were experiencing.
So, we just sprayed our feet with additional insect repellent and carried on eating.
Hotel Seafood Buffet
Another option and one we did try, was the seafood buffet at the hotel, and not because it included unlimited beer. We were impressed with the quality of the food, but more so with the abundant varieties to try.
We could have stayed there all night trying all the different foods, enjoying the view from the window out to the beach promenade.
Five Things to Do in Nha Trang
Nha Trang can cater for everyone, from just relaxing at the beach, being rejuvenated in mud, shopping for bargains, exploring the cultural aspects, taking a dive or snorkelling excursion. Spending five nights in Nha Trang has it all covered.
1. Early Morning Exercise and a Swim
Waking at 6 am to get a start on the day before the heat became too intense, it was time for a swim. Taking a peek at the beach across the road, we found the beach packed with people. So, of course, we had to investigate.
The local Vietnamese were already up and exercising on the beach, swimming their lengths in the sea and chatting all along the beach as far as you could see. The noise of everyone was enthralling. Nobody was in the flash gym gear, just their everyday clothes, but they were all making the effort to stretch and prepare themselves for the day ahead.
We might as well join them.
2. Po Nagar Cham Towers
After a lovely breakfast at the Novotel Nha Trang, the staff organised a taxi for a few hours to visit some of the culture must-see places of Nha Trang.
You can make a booking to receive a 15% discount with Booking.com.
Our first stop was the Po Nagar Cham Towers built on Mount Cu Lau on the bank of River Cai. Of the ten temples dating to pre 781AD, only four are left. We were lucky enough to be here for the religious festival of Thap Ba held in April. We watched some traditional music and dancing, as families enjoyed a local festival.
The Cham People are now an ethnic minority but we learnt so much about their culture when visiting My Son Temples. You can read more about this day trip from Hoi An Ancient Town here – My Son Temple Day Trip from Hoi An Ancient Town
You can purchase a ticket at the Po Nagar Cham Towers entrance to explore the several temples dedicated to various gods.
3. Long Son Pagoda
One of the icons you may have seen when arriving into Nha Trang, is the large white Buddha of Long Son. To reach the Buddha on the original site of Long Son Pagoda you make a climb taking you past a 17 metre long reclining Buddha on the way.
When a hurricane struck Nha Trang in 1900, the Long Son Pagoda was destroyed and rebuilt lower down the Trại Thủy mountain. In its place, the Buddha of Long Son was erected at 14 metres high sitting on a 7 metre Lotus flower. The Buddha of Long Son at 24 metres tall is impressive.
While visiting, you will always get great views of Nha Trang.
4. Snorkelling Excursions
While the hotel did offer snorkelling excursions, we found a tour operator away from the main tourist area of the beach promenade. And this was mostly due to the cost, as we could barter for a better price.
The company we chose collected us from the hotel, transferred us to the wharf for the boat departure. Today we would be snorkelling at two nearby islands in the marine park, only 30 minutes from the wharf.
Our excursion package must have been good, as the boat was scheduled for a maximum of 25 people but 34 turned up. So, it was a little squashed on the trip to and from the marine park on a slow boat.
So how was the snorkelling?
The snorkelling was amazing, with the abundance of fish and so many varieties at the first snorkelling stop was spectacular. We loved watching the fish chasing each other with other fish just happy to swim around us. It was when we saw some rather large fish we had dinner on our mind.
Luckily for us, lunch was part of the snorkelling package and what a spread of local dishes the excursion provided.
Wow was all we could think of when we saw the abundance of yummy food to enjoy.
After a scrumptious lunch and time to do some sunbathing, it’s off to the next snorkelling spot not far away. And what a great spot it is. Here we can dive into the deep blue water, then a swim near the shore to find large caverns and rocks. It was a little spooky at first, what may be lurking there?
Surprise. It’s more colourful fish.
Our snorkelling excursion is still not over. Now for some fun and a chance to dry off on the top deck of the boat. Terry decided to have a couple of dives from here into the waters below.
Mud Bath and Mineral Waters at Thap Ba Hot Springs
Having a mud bath and experiencing mineral springs would have to be the highlight of any day. If you decide to stay five nights in Nha Trang, then we can highly recommend you experience the mud bath and mineral waters of Thap Ba Hot Springs.
We weren’t really sure what we were supposed to do, but the friendly staff showed us the process. After changing into swimwear, we were given a towel and directed to the mud hut area.
Now what? Is it time to get into an empty tub?
So, now we are in the tub and the mud is pumped in all around us. A feeling of warmth and thickness as the tub slowly fills. Wow, this is different. Each customer has a fresh tub of mud and it feels so good.
The staff were happy to encourage us to cover ourselves from head to foot. Terry needed no second invitation and started lathering Maura all over!
Now off to the jet showers to extract the mud from every part of us. The power of the jets is refreshing and a great way to try and extract the mud from our swimwear.
Next was an individual hot mineral salt bath in case there is still some mud lurking! And finally a warm mineral salt waterfall. The water caressing your body is so soft and refreshing. You just don’t want to leave.
What a fabulous experience.
Now it’s time to chill out for awhile with a refreshing fruit juice in the gardens.
Nha Trang attractions can be endless with so many beaches and islands to explore. The beaches of Nha Trang are a great way to relax and unwind when travelling in Vietnam. We can definitely recommend spending five nights in Nha Trang. It will not disappoint.
Check out more Vietnam travel destinations to learn and experience more of this amazing country.