Nha Trang seems to not have a good reputation among foreigners. This is also not a very much visited city by backpackers. I’ve heard that the place is too crowded and full of Russians and that is not worth a visit, but I decided to see it for myself.
From Ho Chi Minh to Nha Trang
I went from Ho Chi Minh to Nha Trang by bus, on a long journey that took all day. The bus takes about 9 hours and I decided to do this trip during the day because I like to see the views while on buses. The bus is a sleeper bus and very comfy. The views are great! I really liked this bus journey. There is this one-of-a-kind landscape that we come across and sometimes we are traveling next to the train. I was the only foreigner on board.
Once at Nha Trang bus station, I ordered a Grab bike, not before being harassed by other Grab drivers, or probably not. Be aware that sometimes there are men on motorbikes wearing Grab merchandise but they don’t work for the company. They might be scammers so bear this in mind. He asked me to cancel my booking at Grab App and go with him instead, but I didn’t. I have been in Vietnam for long enough to know how things work. I ultimately got rid of this guy and hopped on the Grab motorbike I booked through the app.
The following day, when I was leaving the hostel to explore the city, I met this nice German girl that was also alone and we spent the day together. Unfortunately, it was her last day in Nha Trang.
Hon Chong Promontory and beach
Nha Trang is a known beach destination in Vietnam, but there is more to do in the city than spend the day at the beach. I and my German friend visited other things that were actually pretty cool. Our first destination was Hon Chong Promontory and we went there by public bus. Very cheap and easy to hop on as it goes through the city center.
There is a wide and very empty beach: Hon Chong Beach. Seems like the crowds gather at the same place: Tran Phu Beach, which is the nearest to the city center and gets chaotic at dusk.
Anyway, I wasn’t expecting Hon Chong Promontory to be so beautiful with clear water and a great view of the surroundings.
To get to the rocky point that meets the water, you need to go through a temple and an entrance fee is required. This area is very prepared for tourism and has many people visiting it. There was this group of Vietnamese people playing this amazing music that still nowadays I remember. It was the perfect music for that place with that amazing view and windy breeze. The melody was so soft and gentile… a true wonder for the ears. I would stay there listening to that music for a long time if I didn’t have a companion. The group is playing it for the visitors that can seat around them and enjoy the enchanting melody.
We went to the very tip of the rock and appreciated the place.
Our next destination was the Ponagar Tower, a set of ancient Cham temples very similar to the ones I have seen before near Hanoi. But, I love the architecture of this kind of temple and must have to visit. To get here we walked from Hon Chong Promontory because it was not so far and we didn’t feel like waiting for the bus.
There was a waiting line to buy a ticket in. This place was very crowded!!
The view from here is also pretty cool and as we don’t have a guide, I know nothing about these towers despite the fact that they look very cool and well preserved. The area is not so big so we actually didn’t spend much time here. We actually spent more time at Hon Chong Promontory. Still, it is a cool place to visit.
We had lunch nearby as there are some food stalls but we actually had a hard time choosing a place cause there was a lot of seafood offer and that was expensive… After eating we headed to the bus station and hopped on the bus back to Nha Trang city center. We left at the nearest bus station to Long Son Pagoda and then walked there.
Long Son pagoda
Long Son pagoda is not as crowded as the other attractions we have visited before. The temple is actually pretty quiet and chilled. It was so hot that day that we stopped for some fresh sugarcane juice near the entrance. It was hard to walk like that…
The temple is beautiful and has a very wide view of the town. We climbed many steps to reach the Big white Buddha statue that stands very tall and offers a beautiful place to rest and enjoy the wind and surroundings. We stopped here for a long time. I think Long Son is a very beautiful temple to visit in Nha Trang and away from the crowds.
When we had enough of this place, we called some Grab bikes to take us to town. We were already tired and feeling like walking no more due to the heat although the day was almost finished and the weather much nicer.
Tran Phu Beach
We still had time to go to Tran Phu Beach before sunset and jump into that refreshing water. At that time the beach was already in the shade because the sun sets on the other side, not on the beach. Nha Trang is definitely touristic and it is clear as I see people in a bikini at the beach. That was a sight I didn’t have for months… Another touristy thing going on was the speakers at the beach telling beach rules in many languages. Rules in Vietnam?? haha Clearly not a place very influenced by Vietnamese culture…
This beach is in fact super crowded and loud, but I actually liked it. At night, I was always going there and laying on the sand. The beach has near lights and some music playing and is a great spot to relax and watch the sky. There are always people at the beach, even during the night, and I did not feel unsafe. I enjoyed very much spending my nights there. You can buy some street food and eat it on the beach too.
Far away you see the lights of Vinpearl Water Park, an island where you will find some kind of small “Disneyland” with attractions and lots of entertainment. It’s good to look at it while it shines in the dark. This beach is beautiful as it is surrounded by mountains. Try to avoid the areas where everybody gathers and you will be fine. However, Tran Phu beach is clearly not the best to relax.