Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most famous and traditional seaside-resort-town.
Traces of human settlement date back to the Cham-Empire, though in times of Vietnamese rule there hasn’t been much more than small fishing villages. The French recognized quickly that this beautiful bay on the south central coast with its islands and white sand beaches makes up for perfect bathing and developed. The famous franco-swiss physician Alexandre Yersin spent most of his life here, too.
Today, Nha Trang is a buzzing modern city with high quality tourist facilities and the place to go if you want to do some scuba diving or snorkelling. Most of the tourist infrastructure is in the southern part of town around Bien Thu, whereas the life of the inhabitant is centered around the Cho Dam in the northern quarters. The corniche of Tran Phu is the backbone of the city, being accompanied by a beautiful promenade and the pristine beach.
The place is, unfortunetly, far more tawdy than other beach towns- it's beautiful, but if getting drunk with backpackers every night isn't your scene, you might want to look elsewhere.
The new airport is located some 20 km south of the city and serves only domestic destinations.
Nha Trang is a stop on the main railway-line connecting Hanoi and Saigon. The Railway station is close to the cathedral in the northern part of town.
Open Tour-buses usually drop you in the main tourist area around Bien Thu, while the public bus station is at 58, 23 Thang 10, about 10min walk west of the center.
Nha Trang has a reliable and easy to navigate public bus system, where the ticket fare does not exceed VND 2000 for a ride on a modern, air-conditioned bus with Vietnamese music. You will find buses nr. 3 and 2 the most useful, since they pass through the southern quarters. Alternatively you'll find the usual selection of taxis, cyclos and Xe Om. There is no place in Nha Trang that justifies a fare higher than VND 20.000 per Person.
Sure Prices in Vietnam for diving are cheap but please do not look just for the best price, make sure you dive with a dive operator who has all the proper saftey equipment and insurances. You can also pay top dollar for your diving in Nha Trang through some of the more respecable operations,
If you are in for some night-life, most clubs are on Bien Thu.
Accommodation is abundant in Nah Trang, and they are still building... Most hotels catering for foreigners are in the area around Bien Thu, but be sure to walk into the side lanes if you want to cut down on prices and avoid the noisy traffic. You should be able to find a decent room with fan for ~USD 6, with air-con ~USD 8.
Bao Dai Villa. The Bao Dai Villa was the private villa of Vietnam's last emperor, Bao Dai. The villa is a little way from "downtown" Nha Trang and is somewhat secluded. Regular rooms go for about 30 USD and large suites go for 75 USD. Enjoy one of the best views and best food from the Bao Dai Restaurant which overlooks the ocean.
Tour operators offer boat tours to the surrounding islands, that usually include such funny things as a on-board fruit buffet or the "swimming bar", where you float in a circular swimming aid and try your hardest to get drunk. There are more serious approaches to it, so shop around for the flavour you want it to have.
About 30 km north of Nha Trang, just when you passed through the village of Ninh Hoa, a peninsula juts out into the South Chinese Sea, and on its northern coast rides its tinier brother, Hon Khoi. Several resorts are located on the eastern beach of Hon Khoi, where you find palmtrees, white sand and turquoise waters. To get there follow the highway north past the turnoff to Dac Lac Province/Buon Ma Thuot. Then look out for a sign reading Doc Let-Resort, close to a filling station. A taxi will take 2 persons for about VND 200.000, while a Xe Om should not be more expensive than VND 100.000. Or catch a through-bus plying highway Nr.1 and jump off at the turn off. There will always be some motorbike-drivers waiting to take you. Whatever place you choose to go, be sure to reserve a bungalow in advance.