Nha Trang is a coastal city and capital of Vietnam's Khánh 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. Locals have been on to it for years.
Flanked by almost 10kms of prime beach and warm water year round, it's not surprising people love going there. Its average temperature is 26°C and it has Vietnam's lowest level of humidity.
From Ho Chi Minh City, it's a 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. As they have a dislike of being tanned, 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.
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 Khánh Hòa Buddhist Studies Foundation began there in 1936, and there is a naturally-lit image of Buddha on display.
The 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 another is solely for female guests.
Nha Trang in the south-east of Vietnam.
Creative Holidays has accommodation at the five star Sunrise Beach Resort. Superior rooms start at $81 per person a night and Deluxe Rooms start at $88 per person a night. Breakfast is included and these rates are available until September 30, 2008.
Prices correct at July 17, 2008.
For further information
Thap Ba Hot Springs
25 Ngoc Son, Ngoc Hiep
Khánh Hòa Province
Ph: +84 58 835 335 or 84 58 834 939
Fax: 84 58 835 287
Sunrise Beach Resort
12-14 Tran Phu Street
Khánh Hòa Province
Ph: +84 58 820 999
Fax: +84 58 822 866
Long Son Pagoda
Situated at the foot of Mount Trai Thuy, north-west of Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa Province, Vietnam
It is recommended travellers to Vietnam see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information visit www.welltogo.com.au.
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