Transportation - Get In
There are lots of domestic flights from Ho Chi Minh City, Vinh, Da Nang,Hanoi, Haiphong, with prices starting at 250,000 dong. Internationally city is connected to Seoul, South Korea and to a decent amount cities in China.
Cam Ranh International Airport , Cam Ranh town (30 km S from Nha Trang). Built on the grounds of the old American airbase in 2004.
Taxi fixed rate from the airport to downtown locations is 250,000 dong, if going by the meter it will be about 100,000 dong more expensive.
A cheaper option is to take the airport bus which goes directly to the city center. There are a few companies operating on this route, which buses can be found in front of the airport entrance. 50 000 dong, 30 mins ride (2016). In the opposite direction the shuttle bus leaves 2 hours before each scheduled flight.
Besides, some midrange and upscale hotels organise airport transfers, often for free.
For the adventurous traveller, take a short taxi ride to a bus stop in nearby town of Cam Ranh, then catch the bus to Nha Trang (40,000 dong, about an hour). Bus stops and buses itself are orange coloured.
Nha Trang is a stop on the main railway-line connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. If you want a soft-sleeper (the highest class available on Vietnamese trains), book your train ticket directly at the train station as far in advance as you are able. Having a private travel agent book this ticket will quite often result in you paying the agent for a soft-sleeper — the agent will book a hard-sleeper and you will not know until you board the train and it is too late to make changes. This is one of the most common scams in Vietnam. Soft sleeper rooms are 4 berth, hard sleepers are 6 berth. You can sit comfortably on a lower bed in a 4 berth room but in a 6 berth you will have to be very short in order to sit up straight. SNT trains (meaning Saigon to Nha Trang) have similar quality cars, but are slower than the SE trains. The TN trains have the oldest and dirtiest cars and are the slowest so therefore are not recommended.
The journey to Nha Trang from Ho Chi Minh City takes between 6-8 hours on SE trains (often delayed), so a sleeper is not really necessary, a cushioned seat in the air-con car costs 190,000 dong, soft seats are 310,000 dong, soft sleeper about 500,000 dong (2012). There are 2 overnight and 2 daily SE trains. The SNT trains take over 9 hours and travel overnight only, departs Ho Chi Minh City at 19:40 and arrives in Nha Trang at 05:20, 535,000 dong (2012). The scenery on this journey is not that great compared to further north, so you are not missing out too much by travelling overnight.
Train station (1 km north from the city centre).
Nearly all long distance sleeper buses stop in Nha Trang. They come from Ho Chi Minh City (10-12 hours, 200,000 dong, both morning and overnight buses available, both are sleeper buses), Hoi An (12 hours). Sleeper buses usually drop off passengers on the side of the street somewhat near the tourist areas. From where it's only a short walk or $2 taxi ride to the required hotel.
Besides, there are hourly buses from Da Lat (3-4 hrs, 120,000 dong, hourly between 07:00-15:00) and a couple ones from Qui Nhon (6 hrs, 115,000 dong, at 07:30, 08:30, 13:00 and 15:30), Mui Ne (6 hr).
Bus station (10 minute walk west of the center).
Private car rental with a driver are usually modern air-con cars and can be rented for about 1,000,000 dong per day. Car rental prices (as mostly anything in Vietnam) usually increase during holiday seasons especially around Tet (Vietnamese New Year). Make sure to avoid high prices by booking it beforehand with the car rental services.
Transportation - Get Around
Nha Trang has two main beaches: a larger one south of the Cai river, and a smaller one on the north. The southern beach, lined by the Trần Phú avenue, is by far the most popular among the visitors. Tourism infrastructure catering to foreign tourists, including diving schools, tour agencies, western-style bars and international restaurants and cafes, is mostly concentrated in the southern part of the beach, between Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai and the old airport. In the central part of the beach, lie the upmarket, international chain hotels such as Sheraton, Novotel and InterContinental. The rest of the beachfront, as well as the northern beach, has infrastructure mostly aimed at Vietnamese tourists. A few blocks far from the beach, Nha Trang is a normal, bustling Vietnamese city.
In Nha Trang, as in the rest of Vietnam, motorcycles are the least safe but most convenient way of going around, especially to go to the beaches and sightseeing spots outside of the city. See the general advice for riding a motorcycle in Vietnam.
Nha Trang's city bus system is surprisingly useful for travellers that have more time than money. Buses are white and blue in color, have air conditioning, Vietnamese music, and are very cheap, typically costing less than US$ 0.50. While there is very few information available, online or otherwise, about city buses, there are not many bus routes such that it is relatively easy to understand them. In addition, buses are rarely crowded except on peak hours. On the negative side, buses are often infrequent and with limited working hours, drivers and fare collectors seldom speak English, and bus stops are often quite far from each other. Therefore, make sure that you have enough time and patience before going somewhere by bus.
Bus #4 is probably the most useful for visitors, as it passes through the main tourist area (between Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai and the old airport) as well as many points of interest, including the Vinpearl cable car entrance, the Hòn Chồng promontory, the Po Nagar towers and Nha Trang Cathedral, as well as nearby the Cho Dam Market. Visitors staying in the main tourist area can take the bus at Nguyễn Thiện Thuật.
Bus #3 also passes through the main tourist area, and can be used to go to Doc Let beach. While this would take at least 90 minutes, it is one of the few ways to go to Doc Let for travellers which do not have their own transportation.
Buses are always paid with cash. Fare collectors can provide you change, but avoid using large bills. As in other cities in Vietnam, buses often do not completely stop to allow people to board, and even when they stop, they will often start moving as soon as the first person climbs the stairs of the bus. Therefore, do not stop or try to pay the fare as soon as you board the bus; instead, find a place to sit or stay and the bus fare collector will walk towards you.
Although not as treacherous as in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, walking in Nha Trang is certainly no walk in the park. Zebra crossings are almost meaningless as no vehicle will ever stop for pedestrians crossing the street, and the few traffic lights in the city are systematically ignored. Pavements are often unusable for walking, as they are almost entirely occupied with parked motorcycles, kiosks and restaurant tables, such that pedestrians are expected to walk mostly in the road. See the general advice for crossing the road in Vietnam.
One of the few pleasant places to walk in Nha Trang is the walking path along the beach, which is quite well-maintained and lined with nice gardens, monuments and public places, although sometimes interrupted by motorcycle parking lots.
Tourists are advised to take Mai Linh (preferably) or Vinasun taxis, where the drivers usually use the meter and do not attempt to cheat on tourists. A ride inside the city of Nha Trang should never cost more than a few dozen thousand dong. On the other hand, going to places outside of Nha Trang by taxi can cost hundreds of thousand dong, and possibly much more if you would like the driver to wait for you to bring you back to the city.
A wonderful option for seeing the sites is to hire a cyclo-driver for the day. This runs about USD15 plus tip. All the in-town highlights, the post office, and my choice of restaurants from 08:00-19:00. English skills may be basic. The driver will keep the touts away--a real bonus!
Nha Trang is quite flat and bicycles are easily found for hire, typically 20,000 dong for one day for a basic no-gears bike. Locals on bicycles are more commonly seen at night when its cooler and no sun to burn their skin. However, note that if you have no experience with Vietnamese traffic, you should think twice about using a bicycle as your main means of transport in Nha Trang.