To be completely honest, I’d never heard of Nha Trang before coming to Vietnam. If it wasn’t for a good friend’s recommendation, we may have skipped this beautiful, laidback beach town altogether. The funny thing is, we loved it so much we decided to stay another few days. Nah Trang is situated about 7 hours north of Ho Chi Minh via train on the coast. It’s known for its scuba diving, famous mud baths and relaxing beaches. It’s also quickly becoming known as a party haven for backpackers.
On first arriving, you may be taken aback by the abundance of the Russian language on every street sign and menu. Before the ruble? Went downhill, there were on average 7 flights a day flying direct to Nha Trang from Russia. Therefore, many of the business owners in town hired Russian-speaking staff and changed their English signs to Russian. Now, there’s a massive decline in Russian travelers, though still prevalent, and these storefronts are left with signs that many of the travelers coming through today can’t read.
Aside from the clear favoritism to the Russians, we absolutely loved Nha Trang. We went diving for two days, hung out in a mud bath, drank .30 cent beers and relaxed on the beach. I even got to watch my beloved college football team play a game, all thanks to friendly locals. We’ve laid out our top favourite things – what we did, where we stayed, what we ate, and how to do it right in Nha Trang!
How Long Should You Stay In Nha Trang: We stayed for six days. If you’re not going to be spending most of your days scuba diving, then I would say 2-4 days would be enough. Diving takes up a large portion of your day (and your budget!)
How Much Should You Budget: We spent around $300 AUD together in 6 days. If you’re planning on diving, budget around $75 per day of diving – includes 2 dives and a great lunch. Accommodation was around $100 AUD total. We spent $33 on the mud baths (transport included.) Meals were on average $8-15 AUD, including an appetizer, two mains and a few beers. I got a massage for $9 AUD. We also paid for our train tickets from Nha Trang to Danag for $25 AUD each.
How To Get There: We took the train from Ho Chi Minh to Nha Trang for $30 AUD each. It took around 7 hours, but had a beautiful view of the countryside. There are also daily flights direct from Hanoi or Ho Chi Ming to Nha Trang.
Where We Stayed:
Azure Hotel: Right smack in the middle of all of the action, this brand new hotel had so much to offer. We were a stone’s throw away from the beach, in the middle of convenience stores, restaurants and bars, and just a few short steps from where our dive shop was located. The rooms were very nice, clean, and had strong Wifi and aircon. For its location and friendly service, I highly recommend it. Standard Double Room = $20 AUD/night.
Phuy Quc Residence: We decided to stay an extra night, but our hotel was booked, so we checked into this nice guesthouse for the night. It’s 8-10 minutes walking from the main area, but still a good location near the beach. The owner was super friendly and had lots of tours to offer. The room was very modern looking and had a great balcony area. Standard Double Room = $16 AUD/night.
What To Do:
Rainbow Divers: Nha Trang is known for its unique dive spots. We dove for two days with Rainbow Divers, the first PADI establishment in Vietnam, and they have totally deserved all of their bragging rights. Read the full review here. For $75, you’ll get equipment, a dive master, two dives and a great lunch spread. Even if you’re just snorkeling, each site is great. A day out with the Rainbow team is highly recommended.
Thap Ba Mud Baths: Being the original mud baths in the area, Thap Ba Mud Baths is entirely touristy, filled with Chinese tour groups. With that said, it was a really unqiue experience, and despite the tour busses, I still recommend it. First, you shower in mineral water. Then you soak yourself in a tub full of mud for about 20 minutes. After, you bake in the sun, wash off with mineral water and then relax in a hot tub. It’s super weird, but really fun! Basic entrance for the communal mud bath is $10 AUD. You can take a taxi from your hotel for around $6-8 AUD.
Beach Time: Looking for something to do for free? Nha Trang Beach is a beautiful, 6 km long beach, with long stretches of sand from end to end. You can relax all day in the sand for free, or rent a beach chair and umbrella for $7 AUD all day.
Yoga: I had been dying for some (affordable) yoga, and I was so happy to find it in Nha Trang. Victoria Yoga offers hatha & vinyasa classes from 8-9 am, 3-4 pm and 5:30-6:30 pm, Monday to Saturday. A class costs around $10 AUD, and the class will most likely be taught in Vietnamese. I didn’t mind though. In fact, I really enjoyed practicing yoga in a new language! The best part is they offer you a mat & towel to use for free and complimentary bottle of water at the end of class.
Where To Eat/Drink:
The Local: We were first attracted to The Local because of the sign that read 7,000 VND Beers, which means beers cost .50 cents. Not only is the beer cheap, but also the food is really nice. We ordered the Chicken Curry, Spring Rolls, Morning Glory and Noodles with Beef. Most meals cost around $2-6 AUD.
Crazy Kim Bar: It was here that I was able watch the Florida State University football win their second victory of the season. I was so shocked that they actually had the channel, but I wasn’t going to question it! We had a few cocktails and enjoyed watching the game! It’s more of a club vibe, but since it was low season, it was a bit more laidback than usual. Cocktails are $2-5 AUD each.
Orchid Restaurant: Orchid had to be my favourite restaurant of the whole trip. The owner always had a friendly smile on his face, and made us feel welcome. The food is absolutely delicious, with most meals costing between $1-6 AUD. We loved the spring rolls, morning glory, Pho with Chicken and Vietnamese Beef Stew. At the end, they give you complimentary local fruit to taste. They also have Saigon Beer for 50 cents as well. It’s located in a side alley off the main street of Hung Vuong, so be on the lookout.
Mokka Café: Finally, we spent about 6 hours on our last day here working. Mokka is the only indoor restaurant I could find in the area. If you’re working remotely and need a quiet place to hideaway for the day, this is it. They offer a wide selection of coffees and teas, and have some Western food to choose from. Most coffees and plates were priced between $1-6 AUD.
Have you been Nha Trang? What are your recommendations?