Photo: salt fields of Hon Khoi, credit: Quangpraha
Nestled along the beautiful coast of the South China Sea, Nha Trang is one of Vietnam’s most-popular beach-destination and resort-retreats.
Whether you’re a frugal backpacker, a family looking for fun and relaxation, or an thrill-seeking adventurer, we’ll cover the top attractions and high-rated accomodations (both resorts and budget hotels). We scoured the hotel reviews so you don’t have to….
Overview: Key Things to Know About Nha Trang
Here is the 3-minute “need to know before you go” summary about Nha Trang:
- Nha Trang is a beach town in South-Central Vietnam, with white sandy beaches and dramatic mountain backdrops. It is known colloquially as the Riviera of Vietnam (or sometimes the Russian Riviera, given the prominence of Russian tourists).
- It is popular for beach-lounging and ocean-activities, such as snorkeling, diving and island-touring. For example, there is nearshore island archipelago includings islands Hòn Mieu, Hòn Tam, Hòn Một, Hòn Mun, and many more.
- Nha Trang is the #1 or #2 destination for resort-goers within Vietnam. Nha Trang is home to Vietnam’s first 5-star luxury resort, called “VinPearl”, which is family-friendly and Disney-esque. The VinPearl Resort kicked-off the career of Phạm Nhật Vượng, Vietnam’s first billionaire-entrepreneur.
- The city has a rich history, having been a French colonial administrative centre. It features an ancient Cham temples (Po Nagar), as well as other temples like the Long Son Pagoda.
- In addition to Nha Trang Beach, tourists love the nearby Bai Dai Beach (aka Long Beach) is a more relaxed option with quaint seafood restaurants and cafes.
- Other activities in Nha Trang include boating trips to visit nearby islands, visiting the local water park, visiting the Thap Ba hot spring, visiting the Hon Chong Promontory for rocky ocean-views, and much more (Read more below about things to see for budget-backpackers, family-travellers, and adventure-seekers).
- Nha Trang is known for its seafood, with local specialties including grilled squid, banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes), and nem nuong (grilled pork balls).
- The city has a vibrant nightlife, with bars, clubs, and rooftop bars offering views of the city skyline.
- It is best to visit Nha Trang in the dry season in November to April.
- Nha Trang was originally a wild and undeveloped land before being transformed into a town in 1924 by the French colonial government.
- During the French colonial period, Nha Trang was the capital of Khanh Hoa province and was home to various specialized administrative agencies of the colonial government.
- Nha Trang is now one of the top tourist destinations in Vietnam, particularly among Russians, and has been dubbed the “Vietnamese Riviera”
- Nha Trang is home to the Cham ethnic group. In the past, the Cham Empire rivaled the northern Viet/Kinh dynasties, but were eventually defeated in the 1800’s, and most definitively when South Vietnam fell to the Viet Cong in 1975.
When & How
When to go to Nha Trang:
- November to April is the best time to visit Nha Trang in order to avoid the rain and typhoons that can occur in the wet season. Along the more-exposed parts of the coast, there can be dangerously large wave when there are offshore monsoons, especially in September to October.
How to get to Nha Trang:
- You can take a cheap sleeper bus from Ho Chi Minh City ($25), which takes 8.5 hours, or from Hanoi, which takes 25 hours. See more bus options on the Vietnamese bus-booking website VeXeRe.com.
- By regional plane, you can take Bamboo Airlines or Jetstar Pacific from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, for usually less than $85 USD in the low-season, or $400 USD during holiday [Check discount flights on cheapoair.com]
- The local airport is called Cam Ranh International Airport (CXR) and costs approximately $13-15 USD for a taxi to the downtown. There is no public transit from CXR to Nha Trang.
Nha Trang Activities: Top To-Do’s for Backpackers vs. Families vs. Adventurers
Whether you are a hip backpacker, or travelling with a young family, or are seeking thrills, there are plenty of things to do for all.
We break-down the top to-dos in Nha Trang…
1) Top Attractions for Frugal Backpackers in Nha Trang
As a backpacking and frugal traveller in Nha Trang, here are the top things to do (links are to Google map locations):
- Visit Po Nagar temple to learn about the ancient Cham people. The temple has small admission fee of around 25,000 VND.
- Lounge on the beach, which is free to access.
- See the Buddha at Long Son Pagoda, which has free admission.
- Explore the local markets (such as the Chợ Đầm) and try the seafood specialties, which can be relatively inexpensive.
- Visit a nearby floating fishing villages to a unique culture and to eat locally caught fish:
- Visit the salt fields (e.g. Hon Khoi) to watch natural salt evaporation and extraction. These are visually spectacular and somewhat alien-looking.
- Other options for budget-friendly activities in Nha Trang include visiting the Nha Trang Oceanographic Institute, which has a small admission fee, and taking a bus or motorbike to the nearby Ba Ho waterfalls for a swim, which is also relatively inexpensive.
2) Top Attractions for Families
Here are five family-friendly activities to do in Nha Trang on a modest budget:
- Visit the VinPearl Land Amusement Park and VinPearl Zoo – This Disney-esque amusement park is located on Hon Tre Island and can be reached by a cable car from the mainland. It has a variety of rides, games, and performances for for kids, including a water park.
- Take a boat trip – Many companies offer boat trips to the nearby inshore archipelago, which can be a fun and affordable way to see the area. Look for options that include snorkeling or a visit to a local fishing village.
- Go to the beach – The beaches in Nha Trang are free to visit, and there are plenty of options to choose from. You can bring your own food and drinks or buy them at one of the many beachfront stalls and restaurants. Try the fresh coconuts.
- Visit a temple or pagoda – Nha Trang has several temples and pagodas that are free to visit (for very cheap <$1), including the Po Nagar Temple and Long Son Pagoda. These are interesting cultural sites that can provide a glimpse into the local religion and history. Learn about the Cham people and history of colonization by other Asian colutures.
- Check out the Night Market – The Nha Trang Night Market is a fun place to go in the evening. It’s a great place to find cheap local food and souvenirs, and there are usually street performers and other entertainment.
3) Adventure Tourism – Thrilling To-Do’s in Nha Trang
If you are like us and hate lazing around resorts, Nha Trang actually has some thrilling and fun to-do’s:
- Go bouldering: Nha Trang has several great bouldering and mini rock-climbing spots, including the Hon Chong Promontory and the Hon Gom Peninsula. There are several climbing routes suitable for people of all levels of experience, ranging from easy to very challenging.
- Diving – with plenty of bays and an inshore archipelago, there are lots and lots of diving opportunities. There are at least 3 well-regarded dive shops in Nha Trang including Vietnam Active.
- Take a boat trip: Nha Trang has several beautiful islands that can be visited by boat, including Hon Mun Island and Hon Tam Island. Many companies offer boat trips to these islands, which usually include snorkeling, swimming, and beach activities. This is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area and have some fun in the water.
- Take a bungee jump: The Vinpearl Land theme park in Nha Trang has a bungee jump that offers a thrilling 50-meter (164-foot) drop over the ocean.
- Go paragliding: Nha Trang is a great place for paragliding, with stunning views of the coastline and the surrounding mountains. There are several companies that offer tandem paragliding flights, which are suitable for people of all levels of experience.
- Go kitesurfing: Nha Trang has some great conditions for kitesurfing, with a long stretch of beach and consistent winds. There are several kitesurfing schools in the a
- Waterfall jumping at Ba Ho waterfalls.
Otherwise, our favourite adventure is simply to rent a motorcycle (~$5-$10 per day) and explore the coastal roads and bays. For example, try heading to one of the nearby fishing villages (60-100km away) — this be a good proximate destination to get you going and let serendipity work its magic.
Top-Rated Accomodations – Best Budget Hotels and Fabulous Resorts
I am always looking for a good deal — I can’t enjoy my trip without feeling like I got the best bang for my buck Below, we’ve scoured the customer-reviews and ratings on hotel-booking website to find you the best…
- Highest-rated budget hotels (<$40 USD) that won’t spoil your holiday while respecting your wallet.
- Highest-rated resorts (excluding the domineering VinPearl, of course)
Top-Rated Budget Hotels
We’ve summarized the customer-reivews of cheap & highest-rated hotels (so you don’t have to):
1) The Sweet Home
The Sweet Home has quiet, modern and comfortable rooms that are only a 1-minute ride away from the beach, while costing ~20 USD on the low end.
- good value for money
- quiet and cozy atmosphere
- 1-minute ride away from the beach
- the owner is described as very pleasant and helpful; the staff, particularly the receptionists, are described as very nice and helpful with bike rentals.
- rooms that are spacious, clean and fully equipped
- the owner has two adorable dogs which guests repeatedly write warmly about
- weak WiFi
- poor sound-proofing
- in-suite furniture and balcony need repair & upgrading
Overall, the Sweet Home appears to be well-liked by its guests for its cleanliness, comfort, and friendly staff.
2) The Happy Home Hotel
The Happy Home has a convenient location, with newly renovated premises, and very friendly staff. On the low end, it will cost you appproximately $27 USD for a basic room.
- quiet and peaceful, with a beautiful view from the attic on the roof
- convenient location
- newly renovated premises
- very friendly staff. The
- rooms are described as comfortable, clean, and well-equiped, with brand new bathrooms. The studio apartment has a washing machine.
- the location is close to the beach and walking distance to many restaurants.
- the owner is described as very welcoming and helpful, arranging transportation and providing a discount on spa reservations.
- many rooms do not have a window with a view, rather, the window just stares into another building.
Overall, the Happy Home appears to be highly recommended for its cleanliness, comfort, and attentive staff.
3) Mojzo Inn Boutique Hotel
The Mojzo Inn has clean and comfortable rooms, friendly and helpful staff, and a central location.
- staff are described as going above and beyond for their guests, providing recommendations for local activities and food and helping with bookings and transportation.
- close to the beach, with convenient airport transportation and a variety of shops and restaurants nearby.
- rooms are spacious, clean, and well-designed, with free drinking water provided.
- minor maintenance issues (shower doors that do not close fully)
- lack of a parking lot
- lack of rooftop terrace (even though it was listed as an amenity)
Overall, the Mojzo Inn appears to be well-liked by its guests for its excellent value, comfort, and service.
4) Nha Trang Moony Hotel
- $28-45 USD [check price on Agoda]
- Floor 34th, Block OC2A, Mường Thanh Viễn Triều, 5 Phạm Văn Đồng, Vĩnh Phước, Nha Trang [map]
The Moony Hotel has a convenient location near the beach, with many amenities such as restaurants and shops nearby, and an overall good atmosphere.
- good value for money and a pleasant atmosphere.
- near the beach and many amenities (shops, restaurants).
- clean rooms that are spacious and comfortable.
- great views of the ocean and the city.
- staff are described as friendly and helpful, with responsive service.
- slow elevator
- hard beds
Overall, the Moony hotel appears to be well-liked by its guests for its cleanliness, comfort, convenience, and overall good atmosphere.
5) Azura Gold Hotel & Apartment
Azura Gold is among the the higest-rated and most-reviewed hotels. The consensus is that it is great — But it is expensive (~80-150 USD per night).
However, they offer amazingly steep discounts (70%), making it very affordable if you book several months in advance.
Check now on Agoda.
These Nha Trang resorts aren’t necessarily cheap, but they are among the best-rated and battle-tested withwith lots of reviews…
1) Mia Resort Nha Trang
- highly rated as luxurious, beautiful, and relaxing.
- room size and facilities, the size of the resort, lovely reception area, and the staff’s overall kindness and approachability.
- Italian restaurant (Sandals) is highly praised.
- some appreciate the quietness and distance of resort from Nha Trang.
- food is a bit expensive
- some complain that the resort is too isolated from the town.
- the view of sea is was obstructed due to rocks on the sea front and that the bath tub was not comfortable.
- scheduling of shuttle bus is not great.
Overall, the Mia Resort was described as luxurious, beautiful, and relaxing, with many customers planning to return.
2) Amiana Resort Nha Trang
Amiana Resort is highly regarded for its quality of service, beautiful grounds and facilities, and excellent food.
- great quality of service
- beautiful resort-grounds and facilities.
- excellent food
- staff are described as welcoming and helpful.
- sustainability efforts
- construction on the site and the resort being busy and noisy at times,
- a few reviews mentioned the gym and spa facilities needing updating.
- excursions are overpriced
Overall, the Amiana received mostly positive reviews, with many customers expressing satisfaction with their stay — although some frills can be overpriced.
3) Diamond Bay Resort & Spa
The Diamond Bay Resort & Spa has received mostly positive feedback, with customers praising the pool, friendly and welcoming staff, spacious and comfortable rooms, beautiful gardens and facilities.
- peaceful, relaxing, with beautiful gardens and facilities.
- friendly staff
- spacious and comfortable rooms.
- notable praise for the pool.
- Banana Leaf Cafe has good food options, especially breakfast.
- beach is small and sometimes dirty.
- cold staff at Banana Leaf Cafe, with sometimes long wait times.
- a bit far from the Nha Trang town center.
- a lot of Russians
Nha Trang Alternatives – Better Beach Spots
While Nha Trang is undoubtedly one of the most fun, developed and well-resourced beach-towns in Vietnam, it may not be for everyone — Nha Trang is very touristy and can feel somewhat inauthentic.
For family-vacationers looking for a fun wholesome time, this is moot. But if you want to experience something a little more edgy and wild and rougher, we have two other beach-town favourites:
- Tuy Hòa – a small city in Phú Yên province with a pleasant vibe, vibrant local culture, and beautiful rugged landscape that is best explored by motorbike. We love the hammock cafes, spicy food, and all the surrounding fishing villages with their maze-like old towns — like stepping back in time to a Vietnam that is disappearing.
- Quy Nhơn – a beach town with a massive crescent beach, exquisite local street food (some of the best in Vietnam), a bustling night market, picturesque coastal scenery, and delightful small fishing towns. There are eco-parks that look like Hawaii and an interesting Leper colony that is full of history.
Read more about these two underrated and relatively unknown beach-town destinations — just down’ expect a VinPearl Resort.