The Sights, Sounds and Tastes of Nha Trang, Vietnam.
Nha Trang Bay has been acknowledged as one of 29 most beautiful bays in the world. The setting is stunning, with towering mountains looming up behind the city and the sweeping beach stretching into the distance, the turquoise waters are dotted with many small islands.
The population is officially around 400,000 people although during events like the bi-annual Beach Festival, TET Lunar New Year and other celebrations (and there are many), both local and international, the populations swells enormously. With the ever increasing number of residential developments, shopping complexes, cinemas and entertainment venues, developers and planners certainly have plans to turn Nha Trang into a tourist mecca like Phuket in Thailand or even the Gold Coast in Australia. Of course, at IMEA we have concerns about the environmental impact of such rapid development.
The 7km long white sandy beach of Nha Trang, with its sculptured gardens spreading along the shorefront is known as Vietnam’s Mediterranean coast. It is sunny nearly all year round, with an average temperature of 23 °C. The magnificent coral seabed in Nha Trang makes it ideal for scuba diving and snorkelling.
Over recent years the city has developed a reputation for its night life and cosmopolitan atmosphere with restaurants serving an array of culinary delights and bars catering for every taste. International luxury 5 Star hotels on the beachfront and elsewhere have added to the mix of cuisine and entertainment.
The city and surrounding area have many natural and historical attractions including lazy island tours, luxurious 'mineral' mud baths and spas, ancient Cham towers and magnificent pagodas. Nha Trang is a perfect base to explore outlying places such as the Vietnamese rural countryside, lush rice fields, rivers and spectacular mountain waterfalls. The beautiful Doc Let area, just 50km to the north has beautiful pristine tropical beaches and remote resorts to get away from it all. To the west are the central highlands with the famously romantic hillside resort of Da Lat and Buon Ma Thuot with ethnic tribes, scenic lakes and elephants. We at IMEA thoroughly recommend many of these day trips (although best to stay a few nights) because the potential of these areas remains untapped with the beautiful natural environment still intact.
PONAGAR CHAM TOWERS: Eight Po Nagar Cham Towers were built on Cu Lao Marble Hill, 2 km north of Nha Trang, between the eighth and 13th centuries. The largest of the four remaining towers was built in honour of Po Nagar, also known as Lady Thien Y-ana or the Goddess Mother; she spent part of her life teaching weaving and agricultural techniques. Standing on the top of the hill, one can admire the beautiful landscapes of both the coastal and mountainous landscape of Nha Trang. By the way, the Cham Towers in Nha Trang are regarded as some of the best remaining examples of Cham architecture in Vietnam.
DOC LET BEACH: If you’re truly looking to get away from it all, head 45 kilometres north to the charming Doc Let Beach. Doc Let, or Doc Lech, literally means “a hill one needs to crawl over.” Indeed, white sand dunes line the 10 kilometres of largely undeveloped beach. While most parts of Doc Let are free from tourist traps, a small stretch has been developed into the Doc Let Tourist Park. Fresh seafood stalls serve crabs, snails, clams, fish and squid under the shade of the casuarina trees dotting the beach.
[More information about attractions to follow]