Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most famous seaside resort-town. It’s more lively and urban in character than other beach destinations like Mui Ne and Phu Quoc. It’s also the scuba diving center of Vietnam.
Traces of human settlement in Nha Trang date back to the Cham Empire, though in times of Vietnamese rule, there wasn’t much more than small fishing villages. The French recognized that this beautiful bay, with its islands and white sand beaches, made for a perfect bathing spot, and began the transformation into a resort town. American soldiers agreed, and Nha Trang became a favorite vacation stop during the war.
The monsoon season is from October to mid-December. Sea winds can be heavy, and sometimes the weather can get pretty chilly. Summer, naturally, brings many vacation goers into town and hotel rooms get somewhat more difficult to find.
How to get in Nha Trang ?
Cam Ranh Airport (CXR), built on the grounds of an old American airbase in 2004, is located 30km from the city and serves domestic destinations as well as Russia and South Korea. Taxi fare from the airport to downtown locations is a fixed rate of 380,000 VND, though many hotels have their own buses. Do not offer to go by the meter here as it is about 100,000 VND more expensive than the fixed rate. Try to take a Mai Linh taxi as the Airport taxi drivers will quite often try to take advantage of you in some way.
Nha Trang is a stop on the main railway-line connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC or Saigon). The railway station is close to the cathedral in the northern part of town. If you want a soft-sleeper (the highest class available on Vietnamese trains), book your train ticket directly at the train station as far in advance as you are able. Having a private travel agent book this ticket will quite often result in you paying the agent for a soft-sleeper — the agent will book a hard-sleeper and you will not know until you board the train and it is too late to make changes. This is one of the most common scams in Vietnam! Soft sleeper rooms are 4 berth, hard sleepers are 6 berth. You can sit comfortably on a lower bed in a 4 berth room but in a 6 berth you will have to be very short in order to sit up straight. SNT trains (meaning Saigon to Nha Trang) have similar quality cars but are slower than the SE trains. The TN trains have the oldest and dirtiest cars and are the slowest so therefore are not recommended. Each of the SE, TN and SNT coded trains end with a number. If the number is odd it travels from North to South. If it is even, it travels from South to North.
Most open tour buses arrive from Ho Chi Minh City in the south (10-12 hours) and Hoi An to the north (16 hours). They drop their passengers in the main tourist area around Biet Thu, while the public bus station is at 58, 23 Thang 10, about a 10 minute walk west of the center. North to Qui Nhon 6 hours on Mai Linh Express(115,000 dong) departures at 7.30,8.30,13.00 and 15.30 or 28 hours by TM Brothers bus (400,000 dong). Phuong Trang has several buses per day to Da Lat (hourly between 7am and 3pm, 3 to 4 hours, 120,000 dong as of July 2012).
From Nha trang to Da nang bus route is approximately 557 km in length. On average, there are about 14 bus schedules on this route and bus travel time may take from 1h00 to 5h30 by 3 bus companies: Quang Hanh bus, Hoang Long bus, Thuy Duong bus operators. Duration is about 12 hours.
Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa – Ho Chi Minh bus route is approximately 448 km in length. On average, there are about 48 bus schedules on this route and bus travel time may take from 6h00 to 6h00 by 12 bus companies: Viet Nhat bus, Tra Lan Vien bus, Hanh Cafe bus, TheSinhTourist, Huynh Gia bus, Ha Linh bus, Quang Hanh bus, Lien Hung bus, Phuong Nam bus, Tam Hanh bus, Nam Phuong bus, Xe Nha bus operators. Duration is about 10 hours. In case passengers, especially foreign travelers, visit Nha Trang for the first time, Vexere is a useful web service that lists fares and facilitates online booking for these local bus companies. The system shows schedules, price and seat options (depending on bus operators, some offers seat options, some don’t and you need to call the hotline for further instructions) for passengers to choose.
Private car rental with a driver is usually modern air-con cars and can be rented for ~1,000,000 VND per day. Check price with Website specializes in all kinds of transfers in Vietnam.
Car rental prices (as most anything in Vietnam) usually increase during holiday seasons especially around Tet (Vietnamese’s New Year). Make sure to avoid high prices by booking it beforehand with the car rental services.
You can also arrange a private taxi transfer to Mui Ne. Book and pay online via PayPal. No hidden fee.