Travel Notes > Vietnam > Nha Trang Travel Guide
Nha Trang is a coastal city on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. The appeal of Nha Trang for me is it’s a “proper” city on beach, as opposed to a beach resort town.
The city has been experiencing rapid growth in the last few years, especially since the airport has moved from the city. The original airport was in the city next to the beach. This was originally an American Air Force base that was then turned into a commercial airport. With the airport in the city there were height restrictions on surrounding buildings.
The airport has now moved to Cam Ranh, another former US Air Force airport, 30km south of the city. With height restrictions removed the seafront is now building up, and there are plans to convert the old airport space into a massive new development.
In addition to the airport redevelopment there are also plans for a beachfront development, which is hard to tell if this is a good thing or not.
There a collection of islands in the bay with many diving and snorkelling trips on offer. From the beach you can see Vinpearl Land, which is a theme park on an island that is connected by the world’s longest oversea cable car.
Nha Trang is a popular destination for Russian tourists, and there a few blocks on the beach where the streets are lined with restaurants and travel shops catering for Russians.
I sometimes hear backpackers exclaim that “Nha Trang is full of Russians!” To say that though is to admit that you didn’t venture beyond the few touristy streets in which they are enclaved. Walk a few streets back away from the beach and Nha Trang is a regular Vietnamese city with interesting markets and great street food.
A good market to visit is Cho Xom Moi.
Another good market to visit is Dam Market, which is remarkable for its central roundhouse structure.
Nomadic Notes Blog Posts
Notes on Nha Trang – stopover edition
Where to stay in Nha Trang
The beach is the obvious draw of Nha Trang, so anywhere near the beach is going to be popular. South of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai there are many hotels along Hung Vuong and Nguyen Thien Thuat. This area feels the most touristy and there are many Russian shops around here.
North of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai there are lots of guesthouses and feels more like a city than a beach resort. I stayed at the Binh An Hotel, which is a good example of what a decent budget hotel looks like in Vietnam.
Search for more cheap hotels in Nha Trang.
Blu-One Hotel and Residences and the Majestic Star Hotel are well-rated 3-star.
Luxury 5-star Hotels
Most of the luxury beach front hotels in Nha Trang are separated from the beach by Tran Phu Road. The Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang Resort is one of the few hotels in the city that is on the beach.
Forget Me Not Hotel
Kim Ngan Hotel
Binh An Hotel
Nha Trang Inn
What to eat in Nha Trang
Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa is a specialty of Ninh Hoa. The easiest place to find this is on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, west of Nguyen Thien Thuat, where there are some Nem Nuong emporiums.
[Quan Nem Ninh Hoa Nha Trang at 39 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai.]
Bun Ca (fish noodles) is another famous soup that Nha Trang does well. I never thought I would like fish soup, but the fish is not overpowering and the broth is always good.
I had the Banh Canh Cha Ca at Nguyen Loan (123 Ngo Gia Tu). I went for breakfast and the place was packed.
[Banh Canh Cha Ca at Nguyen Loan, 123 Ngo Gia Tu.]
Banh Can are mini rice flour pancakes with different topping, such as egg, meat, and seafood.
[Banh Can at 24 To Hien Thanh.]
Another regional specialty that can be found in Nha Trang is Bun Sua (Jelly Fish Noodle) which unfortunately I did not try.
For Banh Xeo visit Banh Xeo Chao 85 at 85 To Hien Thanh.
American-style BBQ at Livin Collective is a fresh alternative to the western cafes by the beach.
[Livin Collective at 77 Bach Dang.]
Cafes in Nha Trang
Garden cafes are a popular concept in Vietnam, and Nha Trang has an abundance of them. A garden cafe is usually a large property set in a garden setting, either in a real garden or inside a cafe with a recreated garden environment. They usually have a water feature like a pond or waterfall on the wall. They are a great place to relax and have a Ca Phe Sua Da (Vietnamese Iced Coffee).
Venice Cafe on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai is a typical garden cafe.
[Venice Cafe at 43 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai.]
Coconut Coffee is on the road behind the old airport is a good option.
[Coconut Coffee at 15 Hoang Dieu.]
For espresso and Vietnamese-style coffee check out Iced Coffee on Hang Vuong and Nguyen Thien Thuat.
[Iced Coffee at 146 Hang Vuong.]
FA Cafe at 87C Ngo Gia Tu is in an interesting old building and has been decked out with funky art work.
Bali Coffee on the corner of Tran Binh Trong and Le Dai Hanh worth a look as well.
How to get to Nha Trang
When you search for flights the airlines advertise the flights as Nha Trang, even though the airport is Cam Ranh. There are flights to Cam Ranh from all over Vietnam, and most of the international flights are servicing Russia.
The airport bus costs 50,000 VND and takes 45 minutes. It stops on the beach front (near the old airport) and close to the main hotels area.
Nha Trang is on the main north-south railway lines and there are trains to Saigon and Hanoi.
The trains leave at random times throughout the day and night, which are not random but specially timed to fit the north and south trains on the single railway track.
It’s best to book trains tickets in advance to get a good seat class and preferred time of day. I use 12go which offers train and bus ticket bookings.
The trackpad on my Macbook Air died while I was in Nha Trang, so I opted to get it fixed there rather than waiting to get back to Saigon. I went to Mac Nha Trang who got the part sent to them and waited until 10.30 at night for it to arrive so they could fix it before I left.
Discover Nha Trang – News and information for everything related to Nha Trang and its surrounding areas.
Lonely Planet Vietnam (Travel Guide)
Nha Trang photo gallery – Photos of my visits to Nha Trang.
Would you recommend it? We have three weeks left of Vietnam visa, but may be called to a contract in a week or so. So far we’ve only been to Saigon (and a few of the fab cafe’s you recommended) where would you go in Vietnam if you were us?!
James Clark says
If you are pressed for time I would go to Hoi An and Hue instead. If you are really itching for a beach I’m told the beaches are decent near Danang, which is near Hoi An.
No, we got our beach fix in Cambodia thanks 🙂
Have heard good things about Hoi An, will check it out, thank you.
Nick Rutten says
Hoi An is definitely an amazing place! I found Nha Trang incredibly disgusting to be honest 🙂 I’ve seen around 15 rats in the day-and-a-half I was there, and I’m not even going to get started on the old Russians with prostitutes. That said, great picture!
I found Hoi An one of the most relaxed, nicest places I’ve visited in Vietnam. Nice restaurants, not to busy. The Ang Bahn beach is nice, and there are some beachside restaurants with wifi, which makes for a great spot to work!
James Clark says
I lucked out in Nha Trang. I booked a place online which turned out to be far away from the tourist ghetto. As for rats, I live in Saigon at the moment so rats are an every day thing here 🙂
I went to Hoi An in 2005 and I will be going back again this month. I enjoyed my last visit there and I look forward to seeing what it is like now.
We’re thinking of heading to Hoi An tomorrow or the day after depending on what transport we can get (really want a train!).
If we’re still around when you come up would you fancy meeting up? Would love to meet someone who’s been doing this as long as you have!
James Clark says
Hi Lewis, that would be great to meet up. I’m currently in Saigon though, so not sure if that is in your plan. I will be here until the 20th then heading up to Hoi An for a short trip. Let me know if we can cross paths.
Chris Schwarz says
I actually had a plane ticket booked to spend a month in Nha Trang about this time last year, but completely bailed 6 hours before my flight and flew to Hong Kong instead.
The food looks amazing!
Nha Trang is cool, and I loved the Nem Nuong too!
Wow nice travel guide, keep rocking.