Things to Do in Nha Trang
The towering spire of Stone Church—a cathedral that’s known by many names to locals—can be seen from almost anywhere in Nha Trang. Despite how it’s humbly known, this stunning stone structure is one of the most striking architectural wonders in this Vietnamese city and a nod to European influence in this land that’s otherwise filled with Hindu and Buddhist temples.
The church’s clock tower sits high above a beautiful archway with a circular window inlaid with stained glass. And while the exterior of this church is undeniably beautiful, it’s the towering interior that’s worth marveling at. Two separate paths lead visitors to the entrances of Stone Church and names of the dead are carved along the way in a call for prayers.
Though the name sounds old, XQ Historical Village was actually founded in the early 1990s by artists Vo Van Quan and Hoang Le Xuan as a way to showcase needlework and painting to travelers from overseas. More than 2,000 women work to create the intricate masterpieces that are put on display in this and other villages like it through Vietnam.
Quan and Xuan utilized age-old needlework traditions that hale from China and were once used to tell stories of the Orient, to instead tell the tales of Vietnam through brightly colored, handmade items. Visitors to this historically inspired village can witness craftswomen working in pairs over silk-draped tables creating some of the most colorful and intricate designs around. Travelers can purchase lavish wall hanging for their home or decorated scarves and greeting cards from the local shop. The picturesque tea garden offers the perfect place to check out more of the handmade works and relax in the natural beauty of XQ’s picturesque surroundings.
Constructed between the 8th and 12th centuries, the Po Nagar Cham Towers sit at the mouth of the Cai River in central Vietnam, on the outskirts of the beach town of Nha Trang. The towers were built to honor the region’s Cham rulers and incorporate Buddhist temples and shrines to the Hindu gods Shiva and Ganesh.
Founded in the 19th century, the Long Son Pagoda (Chùa Long Sơn) has been attracting travelers thanks to its stunning façade, traditional peaked roofs and ornately decorated mosaic dragons. Its peaceful interior pays homage to seven monks who lit themselves on fire during the 1960s in an act of protest. Travelers will find hand-carved busts of these men surrounding a massive white seated Buddha, who’s perched in a lotus blossom looking out at these martyrs.
Visitors can explore the grounds and make their way to the top of the hill and platform surrounding the massive Buddha, where incredible views of nearby towns and the Vietnamese countryside do not disappoint.
Sometimes called the beach capital of Vietnam, Nha Trang is known for its scenic shores and few are more delightful than the yellow sandy stretch of Nha Trang Beach. This 6-km destination is ideal for swimmers, sunbathers and snorkelers, who will likely find uninterrupted turquoise blue waters to explore on their own. While a slightly more social scene can be found at jumping beach joints like Sailing Club and the local brew house, deserted island vibes can be found further down towards the south side. A popular promenade offers a scenic place for an evening stroll and the nearby town comes alive with plenty of entertaining nightlife options once the sun goes down.
One of a cluster of islands that stud Nha Trang Bay, Hon Mun island is the epicenter of the Hon Mun Marine Protected Area. Spanning 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) of protected ocean, the zone is home to colorful coral and marine life. Visit to snorkel one of Vietnam’s favorite underwater spots.
Built in the early 1900s, this massive market is a hub for local life in Nha Trang City. Originally constructed on a seven hectare pond, Dam Market (Chợ Đầm) was damaged during the Vietnam War and later resurrected as a three-storey building that’s jam packed with souvenirs, meat and fish stalls. Locals make their way to the popular market in the earliest hours of the morning and comb through stalls manned by friendly men and women in search of the day’s freshest. Travelers will find just about everything inside this eclectic marketplace that’s ripe with all of the energy and excitement of Nha Trang City life.
Along the mountainous coastline north of Nha Trang, Hòn Chồng (Husband Rock) is made up of huge rock formations piled on top of each other that run from the land down into the sea.
The views are what people come here for, with a fantastic landscape of rocks, beach, ocean, and neighboring islands to feast your eyes on. Around 300 meters south of Hòn Chồng lies the tiny Hon Do (Red Island), which features its own Buddhist temple. To the northeast is Hon Rua (Tortoise Island), so called because of its tortoise shape, while the two islands of Hon Yen (Bird’s Nest Island) lie out to the east.
As the area is not particularly large and won’t take long to see, many visitors combine a trip here with a visit to the Po Nagar Cham Towers, which are around a five-minute taxi ride away.
Set amid the tropical greenery of Hon Tre Island, Vinpearl Land Nha Trang (sometimes called Vinpearl Amusement Park) transforms the beach resort of Nha Trang into a destination perfect for families and thrill seekers. The excitement begins before you even reach the entrance of the park, as you ride a record-breaking 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) cable car suspended above the South China Sea.
The National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam is located around five kilometers from Nha Trang’s city center in a grand old French-colonial building. It has a large collection of marine life and other items, including numerous jars of pickled specimens, stuffed birds and sea mammals, plus plenty of fishing related artefacts.
The displays are arranged across two floors. The ground floor is home to various sized tanks housing countless varieties of marine life, including reef sharks, turtles, anemones, pufferfish, lionfish, clownfish, seahorses, and a whole array of colorful coral. Upstairs is where to find the exhibiting specimens, local boats, and various fishing articles, not to mention an 18-meter-long skeleton of a whale.
Themed rooms chart the history, science, and technology associated with marine life, with exhibits focusing on things like algae and phytoplankton, as well as the history of fishing in Vietnam, plus natural disasters at sea and around the coast.
More Things to Do in Nha Trang
Around a half-hour boat ride from Cau Da Port in Nha Trang lies little Hon Mieu Island (Hòn Miễu in Vietnamese). Much of the island won’t be of particular interest to the average tourist, although there are a few pleasant beaches plus a sprinkling of seafood restaurants close to where the ferries come in.
The main attraction on Hon Mieu however is the Tri Nguyen Aquarium, a unique boat-shaped building that, along with its surrounding waters, houses a large variety of fish and other marine life, including giant shrimp, sharks, and turtles. Visitors can even climb to the ‘top deck’ to check out the views.
The Thap Ba Hot Springs are a destination for travelers who want to experience Vietnamese thermal mud baths as a reasonable rate. Travelers can choose from communal, individual or couple options and sit back and relax into the steaming hot mud of this ancient site. The relaxing oasis offers visitors access to several pools ideal for a quiet swim, as well as a nearby waterfall perfect for unwinding after a serious mineral soak. A couple of on-site restaurants, massage facilities and comfortable sun beds make Thap Ba Hot Springs the perfect place to spend an entire day. Travelers say the helpful staff knows little to no English, they’re still somehow able to always point visitors in the right direction.
Situated 60 kilometers from Nha Trang, the Hon Ba Nature Reserve (Khu Bảo Tồn Thiên Nhiên Hòn Bà) covers an area of almost 47,000 acres. This ancient forest region is awash with wild nature and was established in order to protect and preserve the unique biodiversity of the area, including resources, wildlife, and flora. The reserve is home to almost 600 different types of plants and 255 species of animals, including many endangered species.
A long and winding path leads through the mist to the peak of Hon Ba Mountain, which sits at an altitude of 1500 meters, allowing it to enjoy a cool yet humid client all year-round, contributing to the area’s rich biodiversity. From the top of the mountain, spectacular panoramic views of the region unfold, and there’s also the small wooden house of the French doctor, Alexandre Yersin, who established the path to the peak of the mountain a century ago.
This peaceful bay offers travelers picturesque views of crystal blue water and lush green landscapes. Clusters of islands dot the sea and hopping from one to another on a tour of Nha Phu Bay is perhaps the best way to experience this isolated bit of Vietnamese magic.
Whether it’s checking out the untouched sandy shores at the beach of Thi Islet, where travelers can tuck into tasty plates of fresh fish grilled tableside or taking a tour of Thi Island, where ecological diversity means easy access to plenty of indigenous plants and animals—there’s something for every sort of traveler at Nha Phu Bay.
Check out the orchid caves at Hoa Lan Spring, where brilliantly beautiful blooms hang from rocky interiors or sunbathe at An Binh Beach before heading to the nearby wildlife sanctuary where peacocks and deer roam on protected land. A day spent touring Nha Phu Bay will be a truly memorable outdoor experience.
The 100 Egg Theme Park (Khu Du Lịch Trăm Trứng) in Nha Trang is a unique place located up in the hills that allows guests to bask in egg-shaped pods filled with mud. Soaking in mineral mud like this has long been known to help relax and soothe the skin, and according to research, mud baths can also be used to alleviate the symptoms of conditions such as gout, arthritis and various skin ailments.
All kinds of mud-related treatments, wraps and scrubs are on offer at 100 Egg Theme Park, and there are plenty of pools of water to wash it all off with (which can also be filled with essential oils and the like).
As a large complex, there are also plenty of things here to keep visitors entertained that don't involve floating around in mud. Aside from regular events, visitors can enjoy a spot of shopping, or even some kayaking or rock climbing, with a man-made waterfall and lush green forest as a backdrop. There are also food outlets, including the Egg Restaurant, which serves everything imaginable containing eggs.
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