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Nha Trang City

Nha Trang, the city of beatyful beaches

 

Nha Trang has a split personality. One takes the form of a smaller Danang – a bustling Viet namese city humming with commerce but blessed with access to a beautiful beach.

 

The other is a Western resort town encompassing several blocks of hotels, tourist shops, bars and international restaurants. Entering this sheltered enclave you could be anywhere in the world, if it weren’t for the constant hassling from xe om drivers, many of whom seem to moonlight as pimps and dealers.

 

The city is indisputably beautiful, bordered by mountains, with the beach tracing an impressive long swoop along a bay dotted with islands. Topiary and modern sculpture dot the immaculately manicured foreshore. The only blight on the horizon is the Hollywood-style sign for the Vinpearl complex – an ugly scar dominating nearby Hon Tre Island.

 

Nha Trang offers plenty to keep tourists occupied – from island-hopping boat trips and scuba diving, to mudbaths and historic sites. But the main attraction for most visitors is lounging around on deckchairs at a beachfront bar and drinking cocktails in comfort.

 

Nha Trang sights

 

 Nha Trang City has a few sights worth a look in, but outlying attractions are more likely to appeal. Considering the main draw here is the beautiful beach and the lifestyle that goes with it, even these may sometimes be overlooked.

 

Nha Trang's Cham Tower

 

Nha Trang’s Cham Tower is worth visiting. The Cham people ruled in this area from 243 AD until the 1600’s, and this is one of the last remnants of their civilisation. Once a whole complex of towers, some are now in ruins, but the North Tower still stands largely untouched.

 

Long Son Pagoda

 

Also within an easy bicycle ride of the beach is the Long Son pagoda, which houses an impressive sitting Buddha statue high in its gardens on the hillside, and which is visible for miles around. This is the biggest and most worthwhile pagoda to visit whilst in the city, and also the most convenient for its location — it’s right by the train station.

 

Thap Ba Hot Spring Centre


A few kilometres away at the bottom of a bumpy pot-holed road is the Thap Ba Hot Spring Centre. As the advertising billboards around town boast, ‘soaking in mineral mud is interesting‘. Not only is there the chance to take a mud bath, but also soaking in mineral water, steam bath and massage, and a warm mineral water swimming pool are available. The centre even has a VIP Spa service taking in all these highlights through the course of a very relaxing day. A mud soak in a single tub costs 180,000 dong, or 300,000 for a ‘double tub’. A swim in the pool costs 30,000 dong for an adult, kids are cheaper. Transportation is available from Nha Trang city and back for 30,000 dong per person.

 

The National Oceonographic Museum of Vietnam

 

The National Oceonographic Museum of Vietnam lives in Nha Trang, to the south of the town on the coast road. The museum is set in a huge colonial complex of buildings. Signs guide the way through the various exhibits which range from bored looking leopard sharks in tanks, to a plastercast model of a whale skeleton (or maybe it’s real as they say — you decide), to an entire ’sea cow’ or manatee preserved in a huge glass case. Preservation is a big thing here, but we’re talking about ‘in vinegar’ preservation — giant squids and small reef sharks, if it’s gruesome sights in glass jars you’re looking for, there’s a whole room full of them here. Other displays show Vietnam’s oceanographic history.

 

The Yersin Museum

 

Another museum, although a whole lot less interesting, is the Yersin Museum. Yersin was a prominent Frenchman who was loved by the Vietnamese for his work in the country. This may only interest those who want to learn more about the man and his contributions to shaping Vietnam during French colonial times. The museum features displays about Yersin’s life, book collections from his library and an enormous telescope.

 

Vin Pearl Land 


Some may cringe at the idea, but Vin Pearl Land, as well as a 5 star hotel, is also a day trip attraction in it’s own right. Once there, it’s possible to enjoy the facilities and take a guided tour, chill on the beach or take a swim. A visitors pass costs $20, for $50 lunch and swimming are included. Don’t underestimate the pool — at 5,700 sq metres it’s the largest in Southeast Asia.

 

A cable car is now operating from the harbour to the south of Nha Trang beach out to the Vin Pearl Resort. There is an amusement park there with rides that are a cut above what you might find elsewhere in the country — not all of them are just for the kiddies. The cable car costs 100,000 VND for a return trip, but you can buy a combined ticket that lets you ride all the rides twice for 200,000 VND. The cable car operates from 09:00 to 22:00 daily.

 

To get here, just head south on the beach road for 6km and stay along the water—the cable car looms in the distance, you can’t miss it.

 

  

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