Things to do in Nha Trang
- Water Puppet Theater, . Water puppetry is a Vietnamese original folk art that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. Today's Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition.
- Cinema. There are two multiplex cinemas. One on the 3rd floor of the Nha Trang Center shopping and entertainment complex has three movie theatres with an estimated 120 seats each. US films are in English with local subtitles. The second cinema is the Lotte Cinema, on the 5th floor of the Maximart Supermarket, near the train station. 70,000 dong.
- Boat cruises. The going rate for a one-day multi-island tour is USD 6, with snorkelling, fishing, and many other activities among the possibilities. Tours may provide lunch with drinks on board. Booking agents abound, so compare itineraries to find the best for you.
- Swimming pools. Obviously people come here to swim in the sea, but there are also a number of swimming pools. Louisiane Brewhouse has a good one that is free to use. Hiring a soft chaise longue costs 40,000 dong. The Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang Hotel coffee shop in Yersin St has a small shady pool for free use. A number of mid-range hotels also have pools, some of which can be used by non-guests. Sea and Sun Hotel has a nice rooftop pool and costs 70,000 dong for non-guests. There is also an little-used Olympic-size outdoor swimming pool in Nha Trang. Some scuba diving companies use it for training purposes. It costs only 15,000 dong. It's a fair distance away from the main tourist area on the south side of the city. Ask someone who works in a scuba shop for directions. This is now closed the public (I was told it is for clubs only use). There is another large public pool at Yersin st, opposite the hospital, for 30,000 dong. Another option is Central Park on Tran Phu, near Louisiane Brewhouse. Buy a deckchair for 60,000 or 120,000 and swim for free. Has a small diving board for kids, a lazy river, and a pool bar.
- Gyms, 12 Thi Sach St (off Tran Nhat Duat St), . There is a large gym in town called Nha Trang Body Building Club, part of a leisure complex that includes badminton and tennis courts, basketball area and football pitch. Daily pass 20,000 dong; monthly pass, 200,000 dong. Besides, Novotel Hotel also has gym memberships for non-guests, which provide access to the swimming pool, sauna and relaxation room. A daily pass costs 200,000 dong, one-month pass 1,400,000 dong, 3-month pass 2,700,000 dong. Monthly passes include one free massage; ask about this when purchasing. The Sheraton Hotel probably has the best gym in town with excellent views, but costs USD100 for one month, and this doesn't include use of the swimming pool.
- 10 pin bowling. On the 3rd floor of the new Nha Trang Centre shopping and entertainment complex. Half-price games after 22:00 on Friday and Saturday nights only (happy hour).
Amusement and mud bath parks
- Vinpearl Amusement Park (Take the cable car). From the harbour you can take the cable car over to the island where Vinpearl Resort and Vinpearl Land are located. They have a small tivoli and some restaurants, attractions here include Underwater World (aquarium), water park with water slides and wave pool, amusement park with roller coaster, pirate ship, bumper cars, cinema, arcade machines and a laser show at night time, usually 19:00. All included in the one price. 600,000 dong for Adult, 450,000 dong for children under 1.4 meters tall, 430,000 dong for elderly above 60, free for children under 1 m.
- 100 Egg Mud Bath, Nguyen Tat Thanh Blvd., .Amuzement park featuring mud baths, pools, hydrotherapy showers, jacuzzi and a big garden.
- I-Resort, To 19 - Xuan Ngoc - Vinh Ngoc. Offers mud and mineral baths, waterfalls and a lot of pools.
- Thap Ba Hot Springs and Mud baths (Suối Nước Nóng Tháp Bà) (4 km NW of Nha Trang). Costs 50,000 dong for the hot swimming pool and waterfall, 100,000 dong for shared mud bath (if you are 5-8 people you will probably get put in the same tub), shower, hot/cold water jets, hot Jacuzzi, and the hot waterfalls and swimming pool. A massage by trained masseuses and entrance to the hot swimming pool costs 150,000 dong. There is also a package for 500,000 which included a massage among other extras. A VIP spa package will cost you USD100 or more. If you carry on a further 500 m past the mud baths you arrive at a railway bridge across the river that connects to a tunnel. It's a very scenic spot that's popular for wedding photo shoots. USD4 mineral pool, USD12.50 mudbath.
- Waterland Thach Lam Stream Amusement Park, 14 Cuu Long Street, Phuoc Hoa Ward (20 km S of Nha Trang), . Offers simple rafting, grass sliding. A fair amount of people are dissatisfied with the park, claiming it isn't worth the money, and that the canoe rides are too easy. 130 000 dong.
- Yang Bay tourist park (40 km west of Nha Trang), .7:30 - 17:00. At the Yang Bay waterfalls the Vietnamese have built up a concrete beach, as well as sort of eco park with a zoo. It used to be a lot nicer before they built it, but it is still a very nice place to visit. You can swim there, and walk around in the area. Just to mention, tourist park receives a lot of negative reviews. 100 000 dongs adult, 70 000 - child.
Diving & snorkelling
Close off-shore from Nha Trang sit a series of islands that offer decent diving and snorkelling, easily accessible by day trip. The city has about two dozen dive shops, making for fierce competition and great value. PADI open water courses with equipment rental are available for USD250. A two-dive boat trip with equipment rental and modest lunch can be had for USD45.
Coastal and undersea construction has stirred up a lot of sediment in the area, so underwater visibility is sometimes not great. The area is heavily fished, so fish life is also limited. You wouldn't cross the world just to dive at Nha Trang. But if you always dreamed of getting a scuba certification, Nha Trang is a good place to do it. The shops generally offer good quality equipment and experienced, certified dive masters. Diving goes on year round, but in the Oct-Dec windy season, the boat ride can be a bit rough and diving is limited to a few sites in the lee of the islands.
Organisation of the Nha Trang dive industry is sometimes complex. If you sign up for a trip with shop A, you might find yourself joined with a group and divemaster from shop B, which shares a boat with another group and divemaster from shop C, the boat itself being independently owned. Consolidation is especially active in the off-season, when few if any shops can fill a boat on their own. It's a good illustration of Vietnamese culture, which does not stand on ceremony, and loves a bargain, and is very skilled at making maximum use of resources. The local divemasters are mostly great, friendly guys with lots of stories to tell.
- Aloha Mark Scott's Diving Vietnam, 24/4 Hung Vuong, , e-mail: [email protected]. 06:30-21:00. USD60 for two dives (with certification) and USD70 for two introductory dives. The boat has plenty of room for lounging and never rushed. American English spoken.
- Angel Dive, 1/33 Tran Quang Khai, , e-mail:[email protected]. Expat-run, by a long time resident of Nha Trang. PADI, SSI, SDI and TDI Certified.
- Jeremy Stein's Rainbow Divers, . European-owned operation with partially expat staff. A two-dive boat trip costs USD75 (including water and fruit, but not lunch), about double the best deals available in town. The operation is well-organised and very professional, catering to divers who aren't comfortable with the more low-key local shops.
- Octopus Diving, 29 Tran Phu (At Louisiane Brewhouse), , e-mail: [email protected]. PADI Five Star Dive Center offering a full range of PADI courses. Fun dives, nitrox, snorkelling and Discover Scuba Diving trips to Hon Mun Marine Protected Area everyday. International team of instructors and divemasters. Very small groups, maximum of 2 students on a course and only 2 divers with a divemaster, personal service.
- Biking and Rafting Tour, 1/12 Tran Quang Khai St, .Combination fast 30 km downhill biking passing through an ethnic village and meeting Raglai people. Then a 12 km rafting trip down the Cai River.USD45+.
- Surfing Shack, Nguyễn Tất Thành, Khánh Hòa (on Bai Dai beach about 21.6 km south of Nha Trang). Bar, restaurant and surf club/school.