Nha Trang City is well known for nice restaurants with hundreds of types of specialties. The most popular of them should be steamed dishes with a long list in the menu. They can be steamed fish rolling with rice pancakes and vegetables, steamed crab with beer, steamed squid with fresh ginger, steamed clam with lemongrass or steamed shrimp in coconut juice. However, people in the city often prefer rural dishes to the seafood specialties.
The first dish that must be mentioned is banh can. It is made of rice flour with some other ingredients depending on the guests’ taste and the locale where they come from. Different from banh can in Phan Thiet City that is often made of sea food, pork, and beef, Nha Trang’s banh can is made of eggs only. It is always interesting to observe how the cake is being baked and then taste it with special fish sauce and chopped fresh mango.
Banh canh, a kind of white rice noodle soup, is the second rural dish that attracts many eaters. It is served with cha ca or fried fish, fish sauce with chili, onions and soup made of pork.
Banh uot (steamed rice pancake) is also a popular dish. Rice flour liquid is poured on a very thin piece of cloth cover spreading over a pot. When the cake is done, it will be taken out by a bamboo stick. Some fat and green beans are added in at the cake’s centre before being served on a plate. It is eaten with sweet and sour fish sauce. Thanh Town, about 10 km from Nha Trang, is said to be a good venue for the dish.
Tourists coming to Nha Trang should also try many kinds of steamed glutinous rice with different types of beans prepared by street vendors. Sticky rice will be served in green banana leaves.
Nha Trang also has many other pancake-like dishes, such as banh beo chen, a kind of rice cake made with spring onions and pork fat; and bun bo Hue, a beef noodle soup originated from Hue.
On a trip to Nha Trang City, after visiting stunning beaches, magnificent mountains and ancient pagodas, tourists should take time to taste local specialties, including rustic dishes to know more about the local food.
(My article in Saigon Times Daily)
In English http://english.thesaigontimes.vn/Home/travel/aroundcountry/11389/
In Vietnamese: http://www1.thesaigontimes.vn/Home/dulich/amthucnew/37374/Ve-Nha-Trang-an-mon-binh-dan.html
Nha Trang's beach has amazing potential- while visiting in March the water is calm enough to swim, it's a beautiful color and in parts, it's clear. However, I've been horrified at the relentless stream of trash all over the beach and throughout the water.
It's unsightly and dangerous. Not only are you getting caught up in plastic and bumping into nasty styrofoam, but there is glass and dangerous waste (including florescent light bulb cylinders) littering even the well-maintained areas of the beach. This town needs to get its act together and deal with its waste problems, not just for tourists but for the local fishing economy, which I'm sure is being contaminated by the tons of trash being dumped into the water here.
If you see trash on your visit, mention it to your hotel managers. Nha Trang is a great town that needs its tourists and if they don't put the pressure on it will only become a bigger problem.
Nha Trang has a lovely beach if you just want to spend some time relaxing. The beach is quite busy all day long but because of the size it never really feels that packed.
There are many vendors on the beach trying to sell their wares but a polite no thank you and you will be left alone. If you don't wish to sit/lie on the sand, there are plenty of areas where you can hire a sunbed with or without an umbrella.
Tip: Avoid the concession right next to the Novotel beds - they charge 50,000 dong for a sunbed as opposed to everywhere else where the charge is 30,000 dong.
I chose to dive with Rainbow Divers because they have an excellent set up. You can just dive for a day or there are a choice of packages if you are going to dive for longer. I chose a 10 dive VIP package that would have also allowed me the flexibility of diving with one of their other outlets in Vietnam if I had so wished. This is a good consideration if you are travelling around Vietnam as the package is valid for a year so you don't have to try and cram all of your diving into a short time frame. You also can upgrade to the speedboat and go out and dive at Electric Nose - an absolute must if you are certified as a PADI Advanced diver or above.
I have all of my own gear but I noticed that the rental equipment was in good condition and well maintained.
The boat is large and well equipped and there is a nice sun deck to relax on between dives or plenty of shade if you wish to stay out of the sun. The crew were very friendly and knowledgable and nothing seemed to be too much trouble.
I dived with Anh, one of the Vietnamese guides who was absolutely fantastic at spotting all of the "small stuff". Rainbow divers are careful to pair up divers of similar abilities so if other divers are honest about their air consumption you do not experience the frustration of having your dive cut short by someone else who uses their air much quicker than you do.
As a dive instructor myself, I would highly recommend these guys if you are looking for any scuba diving experience whilst in Vietnam.
The boat tours used to be a highlight of things to do in Vietnam and Nha Trang.
The boats look run down, the tour operators have become even more shady, the added costs have risen.
We had been on a number of these tours over the years. Good and bad. Seven years ago, they were great fun, not over crowded, food was good....but as the years went I can see a definate change.
This year, we found out that operators are combining tours to load up a boat. When we booked the tour the day before, there were 10 others, we would make 12. We were assued that they would not get many more people.
As we got on the packed bus...we had to stop so the operator could talk to another full bus. By the time we got to the dock, there were three busses from other companies and guess what...they were ALL getting on the same boat.
This is a scam plain and simple.
The operator we used was Bien Dao Tours. Not only are they part of the scam, but they lied to us repeatedly. These are NOT decent people, but scam artists out to get the tourist dollar at any cost.
In 1993 i took a boat tour with this lady and recently i heard she is still around. Why not take a trip with the original lady who started the tours all those years ago. She was fun and always joking, it used to cost $5 and the boat was hardly big enough or her seafood buffet. COPY these fotos for her!!! Back in those days she was dishing out ice cold beers and other stuff to make you happy!! It was also rumoured she was a mamasan during the Vietnam war!
Nha Trang has one of the biggest and nicest beaches in Vietnam.
It´s several kilometers long and has a really nice beach promenade running along it.
It´s a big city beach and therefor a quite busy beach with lot´s of action.
On top of the usual sunseekers you also have lot´s of people doing sports, getting massages, children playing, etc.
Some people might prefer a more quiet beach but i personally really like this kinda beach with lot´s of action on the white sand.
About 25 km from Nha Trang, you'll find Ba Ho Falls. The turn off is to the left, marked only by stone pillars. The road to the falls leads through the small village of Ba Ho, and then along a bumpy road to the parking area and the start of the walk. The falls are more a group of rapids running down through a valley littered with boulders.
We walked, swimmed and jumped our way up the many small falls. And had a splash at the natural boble-pool, before we walked back down.
Nha Trang Beach is not only beautiful with white sandy beaches and its mountain views, but the active local communities and business around the area making it more fun to be there. You can seat in one of those outdoor decks relaxing and looking out to the stunning views with drink. It is quite a local scenes to experience. People sell book on a bike, sell foods and drink on the street, and etc. The boys play footballs on the beach during sunset.
We enjoyed our moment there after dinner and waited our bus for the next destination.
Thap Ba Hot Spring Center is a famous tourist for mud spa in Nha Trang. It is believed to make your skin smoother and healthier after the mud bath. We took the taxi there at around 4:40pm which was our last attraction to visit in Nha Trang which was near Po Nagar Tower. After we paid the fee (I have forgotten how much), we went to the locker area which is open air, and got change in the shower room. We experienced the mud bath, which was fun and had the massage pool which near the bath area was great after the mud bath. We also went to the swimming pool area swam in warm mineral water.
They also have private VIP mud baths, flower and medicinal herb bath, and private massages & therapeutic services.
If you want to relax after walking all day to attractions, this would be an ideal place to come in the late afternoon.
XQ Historical Village is a cultural and art center for hand embroidery, tea house and art gallery. It is easily located near the beach front area with the Chinese architecture walls. You will not miss this beautiful place if you walk along the busy beach front area together with shops and restaurants.
Po Nagar Tower are a complex of temples located near the Cai River, and at the mountain of Cu Lao. This site reflected the history of the Cham had ruled Vietnam in the pass, and connected with the existence of Angkok Wat. This temple was dedicated to Yan Po Nagar, the goddess of the country, who believed to find the Hindu goddesses of Bhagavati and Mahishasuramardini.
It was quiet amazed to me to see this Hindu temple located at Nha Trang, Vietnam. We always thought Vietnam was more like a french colonial with churches, and the Chinese influences with Buddhist temples. The remnant of this Hindu Temple has really showed how long was the history of civilization of different human races in this country.
Don't miss this place if you visit Nha Trang!!
Long Son Pagoda is a Buddhist Temple with a giant white concrete status of Gautama Buddha. It is quite visible of the Buddha status when you enter Nha Trang through the highway, or trains. This temple is the headquarter of the Buddhist Studies Association for Khanh Hoa Province.
When we arrived in this temple by foot, we realized that it was quite a distant from the town area. Most of the visitors here come with taxi or hired a local guide. We enjoyed the scenery around the temple especially overlook at the Buddha with Nha Trang mountain view.
On our 2nd day, we walked on Thanh Ton road and saw this french architecture church on the hill side front of a roundabout. We walked in through the back on the church. We passed by father's house, and rolls of cemetery of previous fathers. This church is built on the hill side, so the views from the church look out to local houses, shops, and mountains. The Gothic architecture gave you a feeling of being in any western countries. We also visited their local community hall seeing students studying inside the hall.
Tram Huong Tower is located on the central beach road, Tran Phu. When you walk on the beach road, you will not miss it, an orange color lotus-shape building. This building gave Nha Trang beach an unique indentity. This beauty building comes together with stunning beach views along with mountains and islands, across the street there were colonial style buildings with restaurants, hotels, and an exhibition hall.
When I was there, this building was used as a Vinpearl Land (Island Theme Park) sale ticket office.