It’s easy to get around Nha Trang (again, options!). You can rent a bicycle or motorbike. Walking around the downtown core is doable as the city is flat, major streets have footpaths and there is a beautiful promenade along the beach – though any form of exercise can be very uncomfortable in the midday heat (which is why you find most locals napping during this time). Xe om (motorbike taxis) hang out in every corner. Taxis are also plentiful. You can go by meter but most locals we spoke to recommended agreeing on a fixed fare upfront or risk being driven around in circles. Or if you’re not in a rush, cyclos (three-wheel bicycle taxis) are a classic, fun way to tour the city in the evening.
Our favourite is the cheap, air-conditioned city bus that costs only 7,000 VND per ride. There are six routes in total but bus #4 (Hon Xen – Vinpearl) is the most helpful to visitors as it runs north-south straight through the tourist centre and it gets you to within walking distance of the major sights Vinpearl, Cho Dam market, Po Nagar Cham Towers, Chong Rocks and the excellent oceanview seafood restaurants just south of the rocks. Read more about the bus in our transport section.
The pay-by-weight fresh seafood is a must try in Nha Trang, as are some of the delicious local eats found outside of the tourist bubble. Nha Trang is famous for its nem nuong Ninh Hoa, grilled pork meatballs that you make into wraps with fresh lettuce, herbs, rice paper and sweet-spicy peanut dipping sauce. Another local specialty is bun ca, a simple noodle soup with rice vermicelli, fish broth and fish paste meatballs. Tired of local food? You can find every kind of international food imaginable, and a lot of Russian fare.
The elephant in the room is Nha Trang’s reputation for attracting a lopsided amount of Russian tourists. Russia-based Pegas Touristik has a near monopoly on the Russian market and they have built an empire bringing in tourists by the plane full. According to Thanh Nien News, in 2013 there were 730 charter flights carrying Russian travellers and Pegas was responsible for 720 of them. Another one of their mega-resorts is currently under construction just north of Cam Ranh airport. Many of these visitors are on all-inclusive packaged tours and they don’t stray from the behemoth hotels specifically catering to them. But many do — wander around the tourist centre, look at the signs and menus, and you may wonder if you really are in Vietnam travel. There are also a number of independent travellers from Russia, there to have a fun, safe time just like everyone else.
If lying on a beach and eating fresh seafood gets too boring, again, there are plenty of options for sightseeing around Nha Trang, though some are better than others. Ask any Vietnamese outside of Nha Trang what you should do in the city and they will enthusiastically declare “Vinpearl Land!” Located on Hon Tre Island, Vinpearl Land is the Disneyland of Vietnam. Get there via the world’s longest oversea cable car (3,320 metres) — the ride over is included in the general admission. Look to the cable car towers lit up at night and you’ll notice they are mini Eiffel Towers. There are rides of the up and down or round and round variety, as well as an aquarium, waterpark with slides, beach with watercrafts, shows and a massive resort. It’s quite well run and a rubbish-free place to have fun and stretch your legs without having to worry about being hit by a motorbike. One local told us the whole Vinpearl operation had more than 2,000 employees, and we believe him.
See more: Tips for visiting Sapa Vietnam in this winter