Nha Trang is a gorgeous beach town on the Vietnamese coast, about 7 hours north of Saigon. Nha Trang offers a wide variety of activities, including mud baths, spas, relaxing on the beach and scuba diving. We were most excited about the latter. After spending five days in the hectic city of HCMC, we were really excited to get some underwater time in. From doing a quick search through our counterfeit Lonely Planet guide book, bought from a lady selling them on the street, and perusing the world wide web, I discovered Rainbow Divers. Rainbow Divers in Nha Trang is the longest established and only PADI dive centres, CDC + IDCs around Vietnam. They have dive shops all throughout Vietnam, and have remained the top dive operator in the country for the last 17 years. Some of the staff have racked up around 25,000-30,000 dives in their careers. To say that they were experienced would be a massive understatement. This immediately attracted us – as it should to most divers out there. With experience comes safety, and with safety comes an all around relaxed dive. And that’s exactly what we got.
Upon arriving to Nha Trang, we immediately went over the Rainbow Divers shop in the center of town. We grabbed a beer with the owner, Jeremy Stein, to discuss when we wanted to dive, fill out the appropriate paper work, get our equipment sizes, etc. I was going to opt out of diving the first day because of some sinus problem I had experienced while diving in Koh Tao. With everything signed and sorted, we got ready for the big day.
The alarm clock buzzed out at 6 am, screaming at us to get up and get ready for a great day of diving and snorkeling. We went to the dive shop and ordered a delicious breakfast, before boarding their bus to get to the pier. The bus was super nice and air conditioned by the way. Something you don’t see too often around here. While in the bus, we got introduced to the instructors, dive masters and their very own National Geographic photographer, Colin, who would be snapping pics underwater. Once we arrived at the pier, we helped unload the bus onto their own boat. Since it was low season, there were only about 15 of us on the boat, which any diver can tell you is a good amount. The boat is spacious, comfortable, had tons of space on the second floor to lay out and relax.
Sam got assigned his own personal dive master, Quyen, because there wasn’t that many people on the boat. Quyen is a local Vietnamese diver who says he knows these reefs like the back of his hand. Sam was in for a treat for sure! Both dive sites were really great for snorkeling. I saw some new types of coral I hadn’t seen before, loads of starfish and small fish. I was really impressed by how great the visibility was for snorkeling. After that, I didn’t feel so bad about missing out on diving. I was experiencing some bad FOMO for not going diving that day! Sam came back from each dive with a big smile on his face. He dove through a swim through that had thousands of little fish inside, went into a cave and saw some of the most insane looking fish! To get my adrenaline pumping for the day, I jumped off the top deck of the boat, which is super fun.
When we got back to the dive shop after the first day, the ladies at the shop called a local ENT specialist to take a look at my ears and to (hopefully) give me the all clear to dive the next day. They set me up with an appointment and everything. 10 minutes, a camera probing my ear and 200,000 dong later, I was all clear to dive the next morning. It was super relieving to hear that nothing was majorly wrong, and that maybe it was all in my head. I couldn’t believe how much the Rainbow Divers team had cared about my experience, to even go so far as to set up an appointment for me.
So a day later, we were back up again at 6 am getting ready for another day of diving. I was pretty nervous to say the least because I didn’t want to feel what I had in Koh Tao, but the divemasters were super relaxed about it and made sure I knew I could always come back up. Our divemaster, Quyen, had everything set up for me, and all I had to do was slip into my wetsuit and my BCD, and he had the rest sorted. We descended super slowly, making sure I was doing alright with my ears. He was really attentive and made sure I was comfortable the whole way. It was an awesome 58 minute dive (my longest dive ever!) We saw heaps of frog fish, sea horses, nudibranches, shrimp and even the holy grail of all marine life (at least to me) an octopus!!! We hovered around the octopus for about 5 minutes and watched it come out of its hole. What an awesome experience. The second dive was just as exciting. Same types of marine life and really unique coral. Apparently, there’s more species of coral in Nha Trang than there is in the entire Great Barrier Reef! We came up to the surface smiling ear to ear, and I had such a confidence boost after those two dives.
Each day in between dives, there was a massive spread for lunch – better than I’ve ever seen on any dive boat. There were Vietnamese sandwiches, fresh fruits, muffins and donuts. They also had coffee, tea and water waiting for you after each dive. You definitely never went hungry on the boat! It was a great way to end each session. While transporting to and from the reefs and the pier, we got to know the dive masters, instructors and fellow divers. Each diver has a really unique story, and it was one of my favourite parts of each day just talking and sharing stories. You can really tell that the Rainbow Divers team truly cares about your experience and your dive. You can tell they have a great time together and work well together. The whole experience seemed seamless.
Lastly, Rainbow Divers is one of the more high-end dive operators when it comes to price. For a two-dive day on the boat, equipment and lunch, you’ll be looking at around $75 USD. Being a 5-Star PADI operator, they have high standards for safety and instruction. Their gear, level of instruction, safety procedures, meals provided and health of their boat is top notch. You can absolutely find a cheaper operator out there, but then why would want to risk ANYTHING when you’re underwater. When it comes to diving, you absolutely get what you pay for, and Rainbow Divers is worth every penny.
If you’re around Vietnam looking to dive, check out the Rainbow Divers website. They have shops all around the south of the country, and it’s definitely an experience worth having!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Rainbow Divers in exchange for this review. As always, I would never endorse or recommend a service or product that I didn’t honestly love