Things to Do in Nha Trang
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.
Nowhere sums up Nha Trang’s coastal allure like Nha Trang Beach, a golden stretch home to swaying palm trees and turquoise waters. Depending on the vibe you’re after, the beach offers lively bars or uninterrupted swathes of sand; its also backed by a promenade that comes to life at night.
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.
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 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.
Topped with a vast white Buddha seated on a lotus leaf, Long Son Pagoda (Chùa Long Sơn is one of Nha Trang’s signature sights. Stairs lead up the leafy hill past temples, a prayer hall, a Chinese-influenced mosaic dragon screen, and a reclining Buddha. It’s not unusual to hear monks and nuns chanting.
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.
Dating back to the early 20th century, Dam Market (Cho Dam is Nha Trang’s largest market and a hub for local life. Across three stories, eclectic stalls sell meat, fish, and souvenirs, while Vietnamese vendors create a lively atmosphere that lasts from the early morning until the evening.
A tumbling mass of granite slabs and boulders, the Hon Chong promontory juts into Nha Trang Bay, a little north of downtown. A traditional wooden house (rebuilt for tourism purposes and an ocean-view café add character, and the coastal and island views from the end of the rocks are spectacular.
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.
More Things to Do in Nha Trang
Housed in an old French colonial building outside Nha Trang’s city center, the National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam charts the history, science, and technology associated with marine life, with exhibits focusing on things like algae and phytoplankton, the history of fishing in Vietnam, and natural disasters at sea and around the coast.
Experience Nha Trang’s famous mud baths at a reasonable rate at Thap Ba Hot Springs, a relaxing spa that gives you the chance to soak in baths filled with mud with alleged healing properties. The site is also home to several mineral-water swimming pools, a sauna, and a waterfall.
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.
Located in the green hills that surround Nha Trang, 100 Egg Theme Park (Khu Du Lịch Trăm Trứng is a mud bath complex with a difference—everything in the complex is inspired by eggs. Bask in egg-shaped mud paths, eat egg-based dishes at the restaurant, or shop for egg-themed souvenirs.
The white sands of Nha Phu Bay make this an ideal destination for a relaxing beach vacation, while island-hopping between the many islands in the bay offers a bit more activity. Wildlife, animal parks, and orchid gardens can all be found around the bay, as well as beautiful beaches, water sports, and delicious seafood.