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Visit Nha Trang, Vietnam's little-known gem

Visit Nha Trang, Vietnam's little-known gem

Nha Trang City has become Vietnam’s most popular beach destination for both local and foreign tourists in the last few decades because of its pristine blue waters, stunning landscapes, and its rich historical background. Located in the southern coastal area just 434km from Ho Chi Minh City, this paradise can be reached by land, by air, and by water; which makes it accessible to all kinds of travelers.

For those individuals who like a do-it-yourself beach getaway this four days itinerary would be the perfect fit.

Day 1 in Vietnam

Arrive in the evening and check in the hotel to freshen up and get ready for a night out in Vietnam’s number one nightlife destination, Ho Chi Minh City.

Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is a massive metropolitan of 10 to 12 million people. Arriving in late afternoon or early evening gives you an idea of the motorbike craze that Vietnam is famous for. Even if you don’t book anything before your arrival, it should be easy to find a hotel as there are more than 1500 types of accommodations available, in addition to AirBnb. It’s usually more convenient to stay in the city center.

If you have time before dinner, you should have a walk around the center of District 1, which would be Ben Thanh Market. This is the busiest part of the city.

Dinner in Ho Chi Minh City

For dinner, you may head either to the internationally popular concept of dining blindfolded at Noir Dining which is owned by a powerhouse couple from Vietnam & Holland.

Noir is open daily from 1130 am – 230pm, 530pm – 11pm

Or head down to the best authentic Vietnamese restaurant chain in the city, Quan Bui, owned and managed by a young local entrepreneur who began his journey in the restaurant scene as a waiter himself.  For a perfect dinner go to Quan Bui on Ngo Van Nam. 

Quan Bui is open daily from 8am-11pm

Have a drink in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh is known for having an increasing amount of rooftop bars. Two we like are the Social Club Saigon, a brand owned by Hotel des Arts Saigon MGallery Collection from the Sofitel group, or Saigon’s favourite rooftop hangout place, Broma: Not a Bar, which is run by a team of local entrepreneurs.

Social Club Saigon is open daily from 530pm to 2am
Broma is open from Mon-Thu & Sun from 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat from 5pm -2am

Day 2 in Nha Trang

Arrival in Nha Trang

Wake up to the city’s hustle and bustle while having breakfast at your hotel of choice, head to Tan Son Nhat Airport for a 1 hour flight to Nha Trang, enjoy the scenic drive from Cam Ranh Intl. Airport and check in to your beach home in the next 3 days.

Same as in Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang has a plethora of hotel options for all kinds of travellers ranging from budget hostels to exclusive high-end resorts by the beach. For those who want to be near the beach with a comfortable stay for the weekend, Alana Nha Trang Beach is the best option.

Lunch in Nha Trang

Now it’s time to relax and find out why Nha Trang became Vietnam’s number one summer beach destination. Start off with a delicious lunch at the most successful foreign owned business in Nha Trang – Sailing Club Nha Trang.

Sailing Club Nha Trang opens daily from 730 am to 130am

Visit to Long Son Pagoda

From there, learn about Nha Trang’s history by visiting the Long Son Pagoda, which was originally erected in 1886 and moved to its current location in 1900.  This pagoda is a must visit because it’s the main place of worship for the people of Nha Trang.

Visit to the Po Nagar Towers

The next stop would be the Po Nagar Towers built by the Cham people in 781, who were the original settlers of Nha Trang, the same group that ruled the Khmer territories during that period. From the Sailing Club, you may take a taxi which will cost around 30.000VND (1.5USD) to get to both places and around 10.000VND-20.000VND (0.5USD-1USD) in between.

Chill out in Nha Trang

After the half-day city tour, head back to your hotel for some down time and prepare for your first night out in the city. You may choose to walk around between 5PM and 7PM before you head to Nha Trang’s favourite chill out place, the LIVINcollective, which serves home-made pork and chicken barbecue options fresh from the grill and ice cold beers in the evening for dinners.

LIVINcollective opens Mon-Sat from 8am – 10pm

Day 3 in Nha Trang

It’s advisable to wake up early on the second day so you get to enjoy as much beach time as possible or to see the locals rush to the 7km coast from as early as 5AM before the sun comes up. A lot of things get done during this period so it’s a great way to understand local life. Sundays are very special for the people of Nha Trang, and most of them spend their day by the beaches outside the city and get to have some quality time with their families. Of course, as a tourist, you would want to experience this as well.

Long Beach & Seafood in Nha Trang

Once you’re finished with your breakfast and your morning walk around town, you have the option to either hire a motorbike from your hotel or get a taxi to head to Long Beach (Bai Dai Beach) for some seafood lunch and a few hours of relaxing by the ocean.

To get the best out of Bai Dai and avoid the stress of haggling or the chances of getting ripped off, it is advised to go with The Shack Vietnam, which is both managed and run by friendly expats. They serve a good amount of refreshing drinks perfect for the beach weather and an array of both western and Vietnamese food. They are best known for their burgers though so might as well try it yourself.

The Shack Vietnam is open daily from 9am – 7pm

Depending on your preferred schedule, the best time to leave Bai Dai is at around 3PM to 4PM, which gives you enough time to go back to your hotel and get some rest before dinner.

Dinner in Nha Trang

Famous for its charitable efforts dedicated to giving jobs to orphan kids in Nha Trang, Lanterns Vietnamese Restaurant is a great stop for dinner. Book ahead.

Lanterns Vietnamese is open daily from 730 am to 930pm

Late night drinks in Nha Trang

Enjoy some after dinner drinks in Vietnam’s only 360° rooftop beach club, Skylight Nha Trang. This place has brought the whole beach experience to an unprecedented height and put Nha Trang back on the international map. Entrance fees vary from 150.000VND-200.000VND (6USD-10USD) depending on the season while drinks start from 100.000VND (5USD) and up. This is definitely the perfect ending for your last evening in the city.

Day 4 in Nha Trang

One Last Dip in Nha Trang

Make sure to set the alarm early enough to catch the sunrise by Tran Phu beach in the morning. Enjoy a few hours of having a dip at the beach, get your breakfast at the hotel and get ready to check out before heading to the airport for your transit back to Ho Chi Minh and then Singapore.

Places to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City

Budget – The Common Room Project

The Common Room Project is a great affordable option located just 7km away from the airport and close to other must-see locations in Ho Chi Minh. Guests can also enjoy free Wi-Fi in all rooms! A single bed in a dormitory starts at SGD$22, while a double room is SGD$69. Book here

Mid-range – Liberty Central Saigon Centre Point

Liberty Central is located in the heart of District 1, a district we recommend you exploring before heading off to Nha Trang and includes all the amenities one would expect from a decent hotel. Rates start at SGD$110 per night. Book here

Luxury – Hotel des Arts Saigon MGallery Collection

If you want to have a truly comfortable and luxurious one night in Ho Chi Minh, stay at the Hotel des Arts which has superior finishings and amenities and even includes a private infinity pool on the rooftop. Rates start at SGD$161 for a room with a city view. Book here.

Places to stay in Nha Trang

Budget – Carpe DM Hotel

Carpe DM is a well-reviewed budget option and is just a stone’s throw away from the Sailing Center Vietnam and the beautiful Nha Trang Beach. Nightly rates start at SGD$26 per night, saving you plenty of money for other activities. Book here.

Mid-range – Alana Nha Trang Beach Hotel

Alana Nha Trang is great for both leisure and for business travel, including all the basic services you would require from a mid-range hotel. Rooms come with a gorgeous sea view and everything is accessible. A deluxe room with an ocean view starts at SGD$92 per night. Book here.

Luxury – Evason Ana Mandara Resort

Lap in luxury at Nha Trang’s only beachfront resort with 74 semi-detached garden villas with gorgeous views, a sauna, swimming pool, gym, tennis courts and in-house tours! It’s an all-round experience for  SGD$429 per night. Book here.

Getting to Nha Trang

There are plenty of airlines that fly direct to Ho Chi Minh daily, including Tiger Air, that flies out at 7am in the morning, allowing you plenty of time to explore Ho Chi Minh and at 3:30pm in the afternoon. Airlines including Singapore Airlines, Jetstar, Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet also fly out daily. Visit their respective sites for more information!

From Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Airlines has 8 flights to/and from Saigon-Nha Trang daily from SGD$95 upwards. Check out the full flight schedules here.

Getting around Nha Trang

As it takes about 45mins drive from the airport to downtown Nha Trang, taxis usually charge around 250.000VND-300.000VND (12USD-15USD) for a 4-seat car. For those travelling on a budget, the best option is to get the local shuttle service available just before the exit coming from inside the airport, which is around 50.000VND (2USD) per person.

Local taxi services are available from Cam Ranh International Airport’s Arrival Hall to the city and usually costs 250.000VND upward. Alternatively, local shuttle bus transfers from Cam Ranh International Airport to the city are also available for around 50.000VND/pax

Motorbike rentals are available almost anywhere in the major tourist areas from around 80.000VND-150.000VND/day.

Important things to note

UBER it!

UBER & Grab transport apps are readily available for customer use 24/7 in Ho Chi Minh City for a fixed price instead of having to deal with some taxi companies that are sometimes known for cheating and overcharging foreign passengers

Must-bring items

Make sure to bring a lot of mosquito repellent during summertime and some long sleeves and trousers for entering the temples and pagodas

Weather woes

Having known as the paradise with 300 days of sun, the weather in Nha Trang is generally warm all-year long; best time to visit the city is from March to October when there’s less rain & winds.

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