Despite its rapid urbanization and development, Nha Trang still retains much of its relaxed seaside vibe. Considered Vietnam’s top beach destination, Nha Trang is a playground for sun dwellers. A 6 kilometer-long strip of golden sand is the main draw of the city, on one side lapped by the rolling waves of the East Sea and fringed, on the other, by towering hotels, modern apartment complexes, restaurants and cafes in some sort of Vietnamese-style Copacabana.
Tran Phu Beach is easy to walk to from almost anywhere in Nha Trang City, making it the most popular beach. Bordered by the iconic Tran Phu seaside promenade, it is also a popular meeting point for locals and visitors. Besides lounging on the beach and sipping coconut water, there are other activities available here such as surfing, snorkelling, bicycle tours and other water sports. Some highly recommended spots include The Sailing Club and Louisiane Brewhouse. Also, the Skylight Skydeck & Rooftop Beach Club on top of the Havana Hotel boasts incredible views of the city and its beach.
Separated only by a headland, Hon Chong is just north of Tran Phu Beach. The atmosphere here is more relaxed and more local. Seafood restaurants and cafes populate the strip while the highly instagrammable Hon Chong Promontory makes a great early morning excursion to watch the sunrise and admire the panoramic views of Nha Trang and Tran Phu beach.
Rapidly becoming the next big thing, pristine and secluded Bai Dai has seen several luxury resort complexes spring up on its vast dunes. The Cam Ranh International airport sits just off this beautiful beach, making it an quick and convenient stop in your itinerary or the perfect beach finale to your Vietnamese adventure.
Nha Trang isn’t only sea and sand. A handful of attractions worth exploring can be found within city limits, the most prominent of them being the Po Nagar Cham Towers. Built between the 7th and 12th centuries, the red-brick towers sit on a green hill north of Tran Phu beach. Today out of the estimated ten towers that once stood here only four remain. The site was erected by the people of the Champa Kingdom, who originally ruled over much of central and south Vietnam.
Long Son Pagoda, is situated on the foothill of Trai Thuy Mountain. Built in the 1930’s the pagoda features a large white Buddha image, which sits atop the mountain crest and can be seen from anywhere in town. Crafted in 1963 to symbolize the Buddhist struggle against the repressive Diem regime, the statue’s lotus shape pedestal has carved images of the monks and nuns who set fire to themselves in protest among them Tich Quang Duc.
Nha Trang is the most popular destination for scuba diving in Vietnam. Getting an open water or advanced certificate here is a great idea. Not only will it be easy on the wallet, but also a stress-free experience with interesting marine life to keep you entertained. Most diving around Nha Tran is done at Hon Mun Marine Park, 5 miles (8 kilometers) east of the city. Alternatively, Moray Beach, with its shallow sandy bottom, is great for training and, of course, for spotting moray eels. Another great spot is Whale Island, which offers some of the most diverse marine life in the area.