The city of Nha Trang is becoming more popular with the tourists in recent years. Yet, with a population of 300,000, Nha Trang still retains its small town atmosphere. This resort town is well known for its miles of beach and the friendliness of its people. The city is flanked by nearly ten kilometers of prime beach where the water is warm year round. The average temperature in Nha Trang is 26 C. Nha Trang also has the lowest level of humidity in all of Vietnam. Today, Nha Trang ranks among the top of all beaches in Vietnam. Nha Trang is 1,287 km south of Hanoi, 624 km south of Hue and 442 km from Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon). Nha Trang has several famous islands. Most notable are Hon Tre, Hon Yen, Hon Rua and the Spratly islands.The name Nha trang is a Vietnamese pronunciation of a Cham word Eatran or Yjatan. Ea or Yja means river, and tran means reed. According to the locals, there once were a lot of reeds along Ngoc Hoi river. The river winds its way through the town. Ngoc Hoi was later renamed Nha Trang river.
Another theory of the origin of Nha Trang's name has a more amusing twist. Long ago, in this part of the country, all the houses were made out of the reeds and mud gathered from Ngoc Hoi river. The only house that was made out of bricks were the house belonging to Dr. Yersin, a French immunologist who made his home here. The house itself was painted prominently white and could be seen by vessels coming from far away. Once there was a foreign vessel passing by. The captain asked his translator where he was. The translator not knowing where they were blurted out Nha` tra('ng or white house in Vietnamese. The captain duly noted on his chart Nha Trang. Because most foreign languages do not make use of tones, the captain's name for this part of the country stuck.
Nha trang attractions
Po Nagar Cham Towers
Eight Po Nagar Cham Towers were built on Cu Lao marble hill, 2 km north of Nha Trang, between the 8th 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 Goddess Mother; she spent part of her life teaching new weaving and agricultural techniques. The 22.5 m tower contains her sandstone statue sitting cross-legged on Buddha's throne. The 2.6 m statue has ten hands, each holding a specific object illustrating the intellect and power of Buddha. The remaining towers were dedicated to different gods: the central tower to Cri Cambhu, the northwest tower to Sandhaka and the south tower to Ganesha.
Not only are the towers famous for their architecture and sculpture, but they are also well known for their great significance in history, nationalism, and archaeology.
Standing on the top of the hill, one can admire the beautiful landscapes of the coastal region of Nha Trang.
Long Son Pagoda
Long Son Pagoda is situated at the foot of Mount Trai Thuy, northwest of Nha Trang, in Khanh Hoa province. The pagoda was first built on Mount Trai Thuy in 1886 and named Dang Long Pagoda. In 1900, the pagoda was damaged in a storm and was rebuilt down the mountain in its present location. The Khanh Hoa Buddhist Studies Foundation originated here in 1936. The pagoda underwent further restorations in 1940, 1971, and 1975.
Among the interesting things to see is the naturally lit image of Buddha displayed in this pagoda. There is also the 14-m red brass statue of Buddha sitting on a lotus pedestal.
This pagoda was built to commemorate the monks and nuns who died while fighting against the Diem government.
Marine research institute
Marine research institute was previously the oceanography institute founded in 1923, which is situated on a large area alongside Cau Da, 6 km away from Nha Trang. Laboratories, libraries, warehouses... are designed as a spacious multi-storey architecture, gracefully situated in the shade of Blue Dragon (a kind of fruit). Marine creature museum in the institute owns some 20,000 specimen of aquatic creatures and specially there is a giant whalebone of 26 meter length, 3 meter height.
Palace Of Ocean King
Palace of Ocean King is at the present the largest side nationwide, opened in 1998 on Hon Mieu Island, close to Tri Nguyen fish lake.
Palace of Ocean King was designed and constructed with the look of a sailing yawn, allowing visitors to relax, to behold the live life of marine royal and mermaids.
Alexandre Yersin Museum
Here you can get an inkling of the work of one of Vietnam's greatest heroes, expat or not. Swiss doctor Yersin founded Dalat, isolated a plague-causing bacteria, and researched agricultural methods and meteorological forecasting, all to the great benefit of the Vietnamese. He founded the institute in 1895. On display are his desk, overflowing library, and scientific instruments.
Tri Nguyen Aquarium
Location: South-east of Nha Trang city, on Hon Mieu Island. Also named Bong Nguyen Island - Island of Immortals Distance from central Nha Trang: 7 kilometers. Tri Nguyen Aquarium was built in 1971, a highly inventive work of distinction, by Le Can, a fisherman who was fond of nature very much with goodwill and proud of his homeland. With his own money, he hired local inhabitants to block the sea and build a dam for the construction of a large pond 160m in length and 130m wide.
The pond consists of three compartments, one for breeding savage fishes, one for aquarium fishes, shrimps and turtles of different kinds and many other species of sealife to breed in his aquarium. Therefore, the aquarium creates a unique world of multifarious aquatic animals, a living museum of the marine life in Nha Trang. This splendid work is highly entertaining, for it has been much visited and lauded by tourists from far and near. The sea-water has an easy circulation into and out of the pond, for the banks were built of stones which had been so cleverly arranged as to provide sufficient spaces for the water to flow in and out, and thus providing sea conditions quite suitable to the marine animals in the compartments.
From the Aquarium, a short walk up and down a small hill will take you to a gravel beach (motor-boats are also available). The beach faces south-east, Hon tam is in front and a little farther on are two other small islands, Hon mot and Hon Mun. With the monsoon winds fanning all year round, there are always fine weather here, and the sea is calm. The beach is really ideal for holiday-makers; it is formed not by sand but fine layers of pebbles and round-shaped cobblestones of various sizes, which are finely mingled together, a splendid work achieved through ages of erosion by the sea-waves...
At noon you can come into a gorge to have a rest out of the dazzling sunshine.
Or, in the shade of some overhanging branches of bush, you can lie down, completely relaxed on a large and smooth stone-flat, amuse yourself listening to the ever-lasting sounds of music coming from the sea. Certainly you are having exquisite moments on your trip to this beautiful city.
Hon Mieu Island
The largest of the surrounding islands, Hon Mieu has a fishing village, Bai Soi, that isn't very active any longer but features many seafood restaurants. There is also an aquarium of sorts, consisting of a lake divided into three sections: one for ornamental fish, one for edible fish, and one for carnivorous varieties; there's a wharf to stand on.
Salangane Island is most famous for Yen Sao which is the name of the nest of Salangane or swifts. The locals harvest the bird nests (considered a delicacy) used in soups. These nests are processed and exported to Taiwan and Hong Kong. The birds build their nest high on the walls of the cave on the islands. To access the nests, harvesters must climb on ladders fashioned from bamboo. Because the caves must remain dark lest the birds are scared off, many climbers fall to their death every year trying to harvest the nests.
The bird nest comes in two types, white and red nests. The nest are fashioned by the Salangane that make their homes in caves. The nest are made out of the bird's saliva. Usually, a typical bird creates one nest a year during springtime using both parents saliva. As there is such a demand for their nest (thought to have medicinal qualities), the locals began to remove the nest several times a year causing the birds to have to continue producing the nests.
The red variety of nests are a result of the birds having to create so much saliva for the new nests that they cough up blood along with their saliva causing the nest to take on the red color of their blood. This variety of nest costs their weight in gold or more in the retail market of Hong Kong or Taiwan.
Ba Ho Stream
Ba Ho stream is 25 km from Nha Trang to the north. This is a stream originating from the top of Hon Son (over 660m), flowing between the two sides of the rocky mountains into the fields of Phu Huu hamlet, Ninh Ich village, Ninh Hoa district, then pours into Nha Phu swamp. The stream gets its name in its supper stream, on the way through the forests and mountains, it opens three times in width right in the mountains into three continuous lakes. With its beautiful landscapes, the stream has been in many people's mouths and mind and bears many legends told by the local people.
From Nha Trang, you can follow National Route 1A for 19 km, then 2 km of forest lane after turning left. Walking along the stream, you will soon reach the First Lake. The surface of the lake is about 150 m2, lying below a cascade 5-6m high. Around the lake are numerous rocks of all sizes and colors.Leaving the First Lake and continuing your way upstream, you will reach the Second Lake after making your way quite difficulty for 1,000m.
Unlike the First Lake, the Second Lake is narrower and milder, but with more "fairy" features due to its quietness. The lake is formed by a big flat rock lying across the stream. The surface of the lake is always tranquil like a huge mirror left behind by the fairies.
The Third Lake is only a few hundred meters from the Second Lake, but the way is covered with bushes and is a little challenging to visitors. The Third Lake is narrower than the two others but its bed is wider, lying at the foot of a small cascade beside a rock wall with many tree roots and rampant vegetation. But here, visitors may find in the age-old trees by the lake orchids giving out their sweet and soft fragrance among the twittering sounds of myriads of strange birds.
From the gravel beach of Hon Mieu, you will see three small islands lying in a row; they are Hon Tam, Hon Mot and Hon Mun; among these, Hon Mun has a most attractive landscapes.
Its name derives from the geographical features - the high cliffs in the southwest are too risky, ragged with numerous caves; here rocks and stones are all ebony-like black, which is rarely found on any other islands.
It is also one of the seven islands in the Nha Trang sea that attract thousands of salanganes to come and build their nests, which give thousands of tai, i.e products from their nests every year.
Like Bai Tru, the beach at Hon Mun does not have that kind of while fine-grained sand, and its formation and composition are much like the gravel beach at Tri Nguyen, the island of the Immortals, with layers of round-shaped pebbles and cobbles closely arranged by Nature's hand.
The place gets its Vietnamese name of Doc Let because if you want to reach to the sea, you have to cross high sand dunes and if you are not strong enough, the sand would seem to hold you back and quite a few people to lag ("let" in Vietnamese) to the destination. However, there is a great compensation for you once you have finished your conquer of the dunes.
In front of you now would be a wonderful beach with fine, smooth, and pures and the blue sea with tiny waves. The sand beach runs as far as 10km from Dong Hai Village to the Cement Factory of Hon Khoi.
Doc Let is not only an ideal swimming beach, but its natural landscape is also quite attractive to tourists. Islands of every sizes and shapes off shore into two bows hindering the wave. The big island from afar looks like a sunbathing girl.
Not far to the north is the famous Van Phong Bay, one of the future tourist spots that the international Tourism Organization OMT has surveyed and highly assessed the future development of tourism of the area.
To the south, beyond the Cement Factory is Hon Heo, the former revolutionary base with so many heroic exploits that have not noted down in history. Also, only 2-3 kilometres from Doc Let, tourists can visit the fishing village of Ninh Thuy, the salt fields of Ninh Diem or take a rest in the shade of the coconut palms and poplars or at windy shops beautifully decorated for a drink and other sea specialities such as fresh crabs, sentinel crabs, oysters,...at their own will.
Nha Trang Main Cathedral
The construction of Nha Trang Main Cathedral was started on Sep 3, 1928. Archbishop Louis Vallet had the top of the mountain blown off with 500 mines to obtain a flat surface of 4,500 m2.
In March 1934, the colorful windows were fixed into the domed doors and in the cathedral, completing more than ten construction items. Three big bells were supplied by the famous Bourdons Carillons company (established in 1786) and were christened in July 1934 and in October 1939. The big clock on the top of the cathedral was inaugurated in December 1935.
The cathedral was built with steel reinforced concrete with walls in top quality cement slabs. In general, the construction has a solid and strong structure with details getting smaller as they climb up the building.
The highest point is the place where the cross is fixed on the top of the church: 38 m from the surface of the street below. Although it was built nearly 70 years ago, the cathedral keeps its majestic beauty and its unique architecture.