The Cham people used to rule the central and southern part of Vietnam from the 4th to the 15th century in a kingdom called Champa.
They were driven away by the viets who came from the north and most of them fled the country but a few remained and today you have around 90 000 Cham people in Vietnam.
Many of them live in the are aaround Nha Trang and you have a good chance of seeing them there especially if you go to the Po Nagar temple which is a Cham temple still in use.
They are of indian/sri lankan origin and darker than the viets and their culture is different aswell as they are mostly hindu or muslim (The cham people in Nha Trang are almost all hindu).
They are one of the 56 minority groups you have in vietnam and they have a very unique culture that is luckily still being preserved.
Even if Nha Trang increasingly makes a living from tourism then fishing is still a very active part of the community and you have fishing boats everwhere and the harbour in the northern part of town is very busy.
The fishing is both deep sea fishing and coastal fishing aswell as a multitude of fish farms along the coast and in the floating villages.
I personally think this really ads to the Charm of Nha Trang as some tourist towns become snothing but tourist trade and i really like to see when the old trades are still alive like you see with the fishing in Nha Trang.
Alexandre Yersin was a swiss born frenchman who lived a great deal of his life in Nha Trang and died there in 1943 aged 80 years old.
He was a well known medical scientist who found the cure for the bubonic plague and he is one of two frenchmen (the other Pasteur) who the vietnamese still celebrate.
In Nha Trang they are very proud that he lived in their town and any places are named after him aswell as one of the main streets.
If you are in need of a pharmacy in Nha Trang then there is a very big and good one at the corner of Yersin Boulevard and Quang Trung St.
It´s right across the road from the general hospital in Nha trang, so this is also where you have the medical emergency in case you need it.
To find a good legitimate massage in Nha Trang (and in Vietnam) follow these rules.
If you pay before the massage, the venue is likely to be illegitimate and offer additional services for sex tourists. Even if the venue is connected to a 5 star hotel. Good legitimate massage joints will ask you to pay at the end.
Don't let motorbike taxis take you for massage. They get commission and will take you for 'boom boom'
'Boom boom' means 'happy ending'
Inspect the room first. If the room is communal and full of locals, then the venue is legitimate. If private (even VIP suites) they will try and offer extra services and assume you are a sex tourist.
Remember to tip the masseur. 50,000 VND is reasonable.
My trip to Nha Trang will never be forgotten, people come here from all walks of life and all spend differently. I happen to be on a backpacking budget.
Here is what I spent daily. Hope this helps
Hotel with a sea view balcony and 2 double beds at the Quang Vinh Hotel. - 300,000.00 VND per night ($16.50) There are cheaper rooms available...
Motorbike Hire - 100,000 VND per day ($5.47)
Full Tank of petrol which lasted me for 4 days - 50,000 VND ($2.73)
1 half litre of Beer at the Sailing club (The most expensive bar in Nha Trang, where all back packers hang out) - 30,000 VND ($1.64)
Traditional Vietnamese barbecue pork chop and rice food from a street vendor - 25,000 VND ($1.36)
2 litre bottle of water for the morning after - 8,000 VND ($0.43)
20 Cigarettes - 25,000 VND ($1.36)
Traditional Foot Reflexology massage after a long day of lying on the beach - 120,000 VND + 50,000 VND tip ($9.29)
Hanging out with the locals and really getting to know the people - Free (but priceless)
Please note the conversion rate from VND to $ were accurate at the time. Please check xe dot com for up to date rates.
Fondest memory: The food, the people and the weather. Just an amazing place.
Did you know the Vietnamese flag only has 1 star? It should have 5 just because it's a 5 star country.
MONKEY ISLAND, and as the name suggests, its full of Monkeys. They are everywhere.
Probably if you have children they would like to feed them, you can buy food here.
If not , just enjoy watching everybody else feeding them or watch their antics.
Remember to keep hold of your camera, purse and anything loose, such as keys, they are quite good at thieving!
I came included on a tour, so for a quick look it was ok, wouldn't come here especially, and I wasn't keen on the way handlers interact with the Monkeys.
It probably is a "tourist trap" but if you haven't seen Monkeys on the loose, wandering around before, then maybe you would like it.
One of the things I liked about Nha Trang, was the lovely Restaurants and cafes dotted alongside the Beach.
This was a really nice spot to enjoy an evening meal, which I did
Another time, I enjoyed having my Icecream here, views overlooking the beach and the far islands, people watching and reading my book, this was the life!
Fondest memory: Have a look at the photos to see how nice they are!
This Island has nice sandy beaches, and plenty of sun lounges which you pay to use. They are all located in the shade of a shelter.
If you don't wish to pay for a sun lounge, then you are out of luck for seating, probably only one free chair on the island!
Toilets.....They cost money also!
RIDE AN OSTRICH......No, I didn't do it, but watched some others that were on tour with me, it was quite funny. There is a charge, and they do take your photo of you on the Ostrich.
PARASAILING.......At the beach, this is another paid activity that you can do here.
Thi Island I visited on my MONKEY ISLAND DAY TOUR
The stop here, was to feed the Ostrich and Deer. The Ostrich feeding was quite fun, their long necks, out stretched trying to get the food which was supplied for FREE!
It was funny watching the reactions of some of the people as well.
A short walk, and you could feed the Deer, and also hop on the back of a Buffalo for an excellent photo!
As everywhere else during our trip in SE Asia, also here in Nha Trang children proved to be eager to exchange some words with us, or at least smiles. Comparing to the children of Cambodia and Laos, it is obvious that Vietnamese kids have better lives and can afford much more than their peers from neighbouring countries. We didn't see any classrooms, but the school buildings look solid and even rich. Pupil's uniforms consist of navy blue trousers or skirts for girls and a white shirt with a red scarf. In some schools girls wear traditional ao dai.
Fondest memory: The two little boys in photo 2 and 3 followed us for quite a long time, repeating: "good morning, what's your name?", until we waved them off fearing they might walk too far from home or school. Despite carrying backpacks, they weren't dressed in school uniforms. Perhaps they attended kindergarten?
Favorite thing: Instead of doing a organized tour, hire a motorbike & driver who can speak English. Mine was very organized showed me where we would go and asked where else I would like to go. The price was 120,000dong plus entrance fees, great value. He drove slowly, and stopped whenever I asked for photos. He explained sights to me, altogether very helpful, so much, that I booked him to take me to the airport for my return flight. This cost 120,000dong
Nha Trang beach... a decent beach - but far from the hype of a perfect beach as people rave and rant... I found the city beach quite OK, just average, nothing too stunning, and for sure it lacked the promised white sand and turqoise waters. yet it's a convenient place for a swim, as it stretches all along town.
The water becomes deep after a few steps, so this beach is only suitable for good swimmers... it also tends to get a bit crowded. Watch out for your valuables while you are in the water... occasionally they seem to disappear.
Fondest memory: Finding a great beach outside nha trang, in the cham ra area... relaxed, laid back, and with better water and great waves (bah Yai beach)
Nha Trang, pronounced “Nia Tchain” was only on our list for an overnight stop - just enough to drop by and say helo to a "shared" friend... We did not expect much from a city that prides itself as a seaside resort... we ended up staying longer, not for the fine beaches (in town they are not as great as they say) and the waters of the China Sea, but for the places to visit and, in particular, new wonderful friends.
Fondest memory: Wonderful new friends - starting from the "shared" friend, Athos - now a real friend... who showed us around and fed us great home food, and his wide and little adorable daughter. And then again Charlie, the mad Basque who really knows how to enjoy life to the full... and not to forget sweet Phuong, whom we hope to meet again and take up her offer to go out to her village with her...
Favorite thing: Between the seafront boulevard of Tran Phu and the beach, there is a park. It is where most of the local people like to promenade, under the shade of the palm trees. it's nice to walk along there for half an hour in evening or to go jogging through early in the morning.