The heat was so oppresive nearly all the time I was here.To alleviate it sometimes I would go to the beach. The beaches here are rather clean as was the water most of the time. I did find though that when swimming you are on your own. We all know that swimming is not without its dangers, Unlike Australia these beaches are not patrolled by lifesavers . There also no safety flags and I noticed the strong rip in one place I swam..so, really be careful here when swimming. Also there was no one in the water either..!!! I guess that should have told me something!!! There are wonderful grass thatched umberella type shades that you can rent cheaply to escape the heat of the sun. There is like a really long esplanade that runs by this long beach which has many different outlets for ice cream drinks and cocktails along with many restaurants some good seafood ones too..
Here in South Vietnam especially in places like Nha Trang it is a must to enjoy the great beaches on offer to the visitor. The beautiful days make it easy to want to spend the day at the beach and in the water swimming. Be extremely careful of the intense heat of the sun here...The sun in South East asia I found to be extremly strong ,hot and unforgiving.
When you are exposed in the sun make sure that you use a strong sunscreen of at least 15+. The most important places to cover are your nose and tops of your ears as these are the most places suceptible to skin cancer. Snorkelling is the most dangerous water activity for sunburn as swimmers don't realise they are getting badly sunburnt as they are in the cool water.
Also, make sure that you have sufficient fresh drinking water for the day..
A wide brimmed hat and a good pair of sunglasses are a must.
I was in Nha Trang at Christmas and New Year's for the past two years.
I love swimming and snorkeling and qualified as a scuba diver many years ago.
However, when swimming in Nha Trang at this time of year, you have to be very carefull of the undertow. The incline of the beach is very steep and when the heavy waves come in they curl downwards against the incline, creating a strong undertow.
Unless you are used to dealing with heavy surf, you must choose to swim only when, and if, it is calm. There was talk about a frenchwoman who had gone missing when swimming - her body was washed back in 10 kilometres from Nha Trang this year.
I found it was possible to swim there (carefully)the year before last - but remember I am an experienced swimmer. However swimming was out of the question for ordinary swimmers between 20/12 and 10/1 this year. A few, very fit, Aussie surfers went in - but everyone else sunbathed and watched!
While trying to decide whether to go in or not I observed the lifeguards at their station and came to the conclusion that they were paying little attention to the sea, with the promenade (and its temptations) between them and the beach!
There is a small pool in a beachside bar and some of the hotels allow day visitors to their pools for a small fee, I strongly recommend that you use these if the sea is anyway rough.
I understand that the sea is fine at other times of the year - but you should always be very carefull as the locals have no incentive to publicise the dangers of swimming there.
My friend bought a bottle of mineral water from a street vendor near Blue Star hotel but the owner used a plastic bag and did a swop of another cheaper mineral water brand.
My friend only realised it when she was back in the hotel room.
Lesson learnt: please check what you have bought before you leave.
Pretty much within the first 2 hours of arriving in Nha Trang, my partner and I hired a scooter & rode down to the big white buddha. Once we got there, we werent sure where we could park and to our relief (or at least we thought at the time), we were immediately approached by a young lady who was very welcoming and came across like she wanted to help - showing us where to park etc. She walked alongside of me as we walked towards the buddha- general chit chat about where i was from. I'm an aussie-born vietnamese and can speak fluent viet and didnt at all sense any kind of dodgy behaviour. I should have known cuz as we got closer to the entrance, another young lady and man wearing the same blue shirt followed us. They told me they were orphans & have lived & volunteer at the temple since they were young & therefore have no income. They do not charge an admission to see the buddha but asked if i would buy a set of postcards later instead- i did ask them how much they were but they brushed it off and I figured how much could postcards possibly be..? . they walked us up the stairs.. literally a 2min walk & not even the whole way up .. took some photos of us, then proceeded to ask us to buy the postcards & quoted VND200,000 EACH (just under AUD $20). I told them i wldnt use the postcards so wanted to give them a donation instead- they said that as buddhists, their religion does not allow them to accept donations. Yes- this is obsurd but it didnt register for me at the time. I agreed to buy one set of postcards between the two of us- they didnt seem pleased by this but relented. I was pretty happy with myself- thinking i had "bargained" successfully... then i realised that other tourists were making their way to the big buddha unescorted. THen i realised we had been taken for a ride.
Not a HUGE thing .. but thought i will let others know about it. Given it happened when i just got there... it did dampen the rest of my trip and I trusted NO1 after this- which was a shame cuz i loved everything else about nha trang.
After this experience.. i found it best to just pretend i did not speak ANY vietnamese & allowed my non-viet-speaking partner to do all the bargaining in english etc ... this worked a treat when the cyclo drivers were speaking to each other in vietnamese about how to rip us off. THen i revealed i understood everything- had a few laughs and they agreed at the 'local' price. sneaky i know.. but it worked for us
You are never more than 7 feet away from a Rat. (it depends what you define as a Rat)
But as for the small mammals, they come out where it is dark. The locals think nothing of them and some even barbecue them.
But as a tourist, I was shocked to see Rats on the beach and running around in top quality restaurants. To avoid Rats, eat at well lit restaurants and stay away from the beach when it is not lit by floodlights.
Nha Trang along the Beach front, is clean and has a lovely esplanade of manicured Trees. The Beach is kept clean and the Cafes are very nice. There are plenty of choices for eating here!
A shock to the system maybe to find, quite a few men decide to relieve themselves anywhere, no matter who is around!
As you get back inland, Nha Trang changes, and you see the Nha Trang that I guess a lot of tourists don't want to see,
Just don't venture too far inland from the Beach and the tourist sights, its entirely different outlook!
At the pagoda, school girls will befriend you.
As I had previously read about these girls, I immediately said I wasn't interested.
There reply was ....they were not tour guides. Well, maybe not, but worse!
After linking arms with me, and I thought, enjoying our time together, came the hard sell. They wanted me to buy silk paintings for 200,000dong each. In Hue, I paid 32,000dong for 3 of these silk paintings, very overpriced. When I wouldn't buy, not even at the reduced price of 50,000 each, (I didn't want anymore) the scene changed, and the "nice" girls were not nice anymore!
The friendlinest went, evidently a put on. I offered a donation, which finally, was ungraciously accepted.
THIS IS A PERSISTENT SCAM! .............
THE GIRLS LOOK OFFICIAL AS THEY HAVE PRE-PRINTED BADGES. ....
THEY DID NOT DO THIS TO ME, BUT I HEARD THEY CLAIM TO WORK FOR THE MONKS, WHICH THEY DO NOT! ....
AT THE END OF YOUR VISIT THEY DEMAND MONEY.....
The best course of action is to firmly let them know you don't require their services when they first appear. If they persist, tell them that you know they don't work for the monks and you're not about to give them any money
When doing a tour on a boat, you may find that there is more than one Boat at the Wharf or Jetty.
To get onto "your" boat, you have to climb and clamber across all the other Boats.
If you are not agile or elderly, this may be a problem!
I have been to Nam 5 times and have seen most of the intresting places yet none have I enjoyed more than Nha Trang. First you must know in Vietnam no matter if your Vietnamese or from overseas, you are a target if you display any thing of value and if your visiting Nam w/o the help of a Vietnamese to do all the dealing for you, you will be way overcharged. My wife Huong does all the deals for us as I stay out of site till the deal is completed for if they see me, not even she can get a fair price. My wife is sharp and always finds the best places for us to go so if possible make a local friend online and he/she should be a great help in Nha Trang. I plan to buy land soon on or very near the sea as it's going quick and the projections show the city will nearly double in the next 15 - 20 years so I want to insure myself a nice place when we are ready to stop working and spend our days in this beautiful city. H.C.M. is so fun and much to do but the noise and dust is too much for me to take for more than a few years. Hue' is also very nice but I prefer to be on a beach so Nha Trang it is.
I find Nha Trang is not a very save place to stay. I heard nasty stories from robberies to belongings going missing from hotel rooms and prostitution. In general, the crime rate in this town is also quite high. If you are travelling alone, just be more careful when are you in this place.
We wanted to go from Nha Trang to Mui Ne then Mui Ne to Ho Chi Minh. All the agencies told us that it is cheaper to buy the two tickets together, rather than just buying the Nha Trang to Mui Ne ticket then buying the ticket to Ho Chi Minh in Mui Ne. Just from our travel experience we didn't trust this to be true so we only bought just the one ticket to Mui Ne ($5 US). I wasn't surprised when we got to Mui Ne that the ticket to Ho Chi Minh was cheaper! Only 60,000 dong to Ho Chi Minh instead of the 96,000 dong ticket they tried to sell us in Nha Trang. Don't believe their lies that buying two tickets together will be cheaper. They'll say anything to make a sale.
As with any other city, don't take any taxis right at the train station. They will overcharge you 5 times the normal rate. Just walk down a few blocks and catch a taxi on the street. Don't negotiate any price, just point to the meter and tell them to turn it on. From my experience, the meters that sit at the top of the dashboard (as opposed to down low in the middle where the radio is) tend to be legit. From the train station to our hotel in the centre (Green Hotel), it only cost 14,000 dong.
Do never deal with this agency. Commissions are very high and will be charged even if the service does not correspond to your needs. The personnel are not honest. They just want to make money on you. They will put you in a bad position where you have no choice to pay it. My air ticket was booked and confirmed and when I came to pick up, the air ticket became a train ticket which cost the same. I had no choice to take it because they will not reimburse my deposit (50% of deposit is required to print the ticket) and the hotels were fully booked. It’s better to deal with your hotel travel agent or Saigontourist located at the Yasaka hotel.
Being by the sea Nha Trang feels relatively cool compared to other towns and cities in Vietnam. Make sure you put on lots of sunblock!
I got burnt on the first day and had to spend a few days laying by the pool covered in a sarong!