Nha Trang is a coastal city and capital of Vietnam's Khình Hòa province. Well known for its pristine beaches and excellent scuba diving, it is fast becoming a destination for international tourists. Large numbers of backpackers on the South-east Asia circuit head there for sun and salt water. But locals have been on to it for years.
Flanked by almost 10km of prime beach and warm water year round, it's not surprising people love going there. Its average temperature is 26ºC and it has Vietnam's lowest level of humidity.
The town's population is around 300,000 and they enjoy a small town atmosphere. Unlike most places in Vietnam, locals ride bicycles rather than noisy motorbikes and that helps towards its tranquility and lack of pollution.
From Ho Chi Minh City it's a nine- to 10-hour bumpy ride, but once you're there it's worth the bit of discomfort. You pass through two small but major cities Phan Rang and Phan Thiet. You will also pass many pretty orchards growing green dragon fruit which has become popular for local consumption and export in recent years.
At 5am each day, the beach is filled with locals enjoying the breeze, socialising, playing soccer and badminton, swimming, exercising and practicing tai chi. They also hear the daily news broadcast from loudspeakers. They get everything over before the sun is too hot. At 8am the beach is emptied of the hustle and bustle of activities and once again becomes silent and serene.
And once you've had enough of the sun, sand and surf, you might fancy a bit of local culture.
Long Son Pagoda at the foot of Mount Trai Thuy was built in 1886. In 1900 it was storm damaged and rebuilt down the mountain. It has a meditative and peaceful ambience. The Khanh Hoa Buddhist Studies Foundation began there in 1936, and there is a naturally lit image of Buddha on display.
A total of 152 stone steps take you to a 14m high figure of Buddha seated on a lotus blossom. It is visible from all over the city. If you take a left turn on the way up you will find an entrance to another impressive hall of the pagoda which is worth visiting.
There are some wonderful characters frozen in time meditating marble monks seated in a circle and mosaic dragons in the pagoda hall. There is intricate ceramic tiling, glass decorations along roof edges and murals relating stories of local legends.
Sunrise Beach Resort on Nha Trang's tree-lined esplanade is a terrific place to stay. Overlooking the bay, it's a stone's throw from the beach and close to everything the area has to offer. The boutique hotel has 121 air-conditioned rooms and suites. Each has a balcony with views of golden sandy beaches, luxurious bathrooms, safe, satellite cable television and mini-bar. One floor has connecting rooms for families and other is solely for female guests.
Creative Holidays has accommodation at the Sunrise Beach Resort starting at $99 per person a night twin-share. Full buffet breakfast is included. Valid for travel until September 30, 2007. Make bookings through your travel agent.
Vietnam Airlines has three to four flights a day to Nha Trang.
- Adelaide, $1455
- Melbourne, $1457
- Sydney, $1465
- Brisbane, $1466
Valid for sale until March 2008 and subject to availability. Book with your travel agent for great specials on Vietnam Airlines and combine with a land package. Prices quoted valid at 28.06.2007
For further information
Thap Ba Hot Springs
25 Ngoc Son, Ngoc Hiep
Kanh Hoa Province
Ph: 84 58 835335 84 58 834939
Fax: 84 58 835287
Sunrise Beach Resort
12-14 Tran Phu Street
Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province,
Ph: 84 58 820999
Fax: 84 58 822866
Long Son Pagoda
Situated at the foot of Mount Trai Thuy, northwest of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam
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