Travelling to Nha Trang in Vietnam - Nha Trang Flights
Nha Trang has its own airport (Cam Ranh Airport) which is located around 34kms from the city out in the Vietnamese countryside - it's a very quiet airport. Vietnam Airlines operate domestic shuttle flights from Nha Trang to Da Nang, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City - there are only a few flights each week to and from Da Nang so these flights can easily be booked up during the holiday season but flights are more frequent between Hanoi and Saigon. The only taxis around at the airport seemed to be pre-booked therefore if you have a booked hotel in Nha Trang it may be a good idea to get them to arrange a pick-up / transfer - which should cost around USD15. Nha Trang is also part of the Vietnamese Rail Network and is on the main line between Hanoi and Saigon and there are also long-distance buses serving the city.
Nha Trang Hotels - Restaurants - Beaches
Thebeach cityhas a very good variety of hotels in Nha Trang and many of which can be found and booked on the websiteonline- prices obviously vary according to facilities but a decent centrally located hotel double room with full breakfast should cost around USD50 to USD60. Nha Trang also has a wide range of restaurants, bars and cafes including quite a few along the main promenade.
Overlooking the South China Sea, Nha Trang is one of Vietnam's most popular beach resorts offering all types of water sports both above, under and in the sea including wind-surfing, scuba diving, sailing and water-skiing. One of the problems found on some Vietnamese beaches is that hotels have taken over areas of the beaches and these are private - Nha Trang is welcomingly different as it has a huge municipal beach along with beach-chairs, sun-umbrellas and a variety of cafes along it's 7-kilometer beach front.
At the southern end of the city is Cau Da Wharf where you can take boat trips to various nearby islands - these are easiest booked from your hotel or local travel agent. Also, from the quay at Phu Quy Pier you can take the cable car to Hon Tre Island. This cable car is the world's longest cross-sea cable-car as it travels the 3 kilometers to the island which takes around 10 minutes - there is a water/amusement park on Hon Tre Island and the cable-car ticket includes entry into this - ticket cost was USD15 for each person at the time of our visit.To the north of the city the bridge takes you over Cau Da River Estuary from where you can watch the fleets of brightly blue painted fishing boats going to and from.
The old Po Nagar Cham Temple Tower at Nha Trang - Vietnam
From the bridge looking over to the left there is also quite a nice view of the Po Nagar Towers - these are are perched on their own small hill and therefore easily reached on foot. Po Nagar Towers are open daily 06:00-18:00 and have a minimal entrance fee of around 12000 Dong. Overlooking the river, the area around the Cham Towers offers a really good view of the city and the estuary - there is a small drinks and ice-cream cafe and the area is very pleasant to sit around - however when the coach trips come in it does get very busy for a while.
Of the original towers built here by the Hindu Cham People only four towers remain - the largest and most impressive is the 25-meter-high Northern Tower (Thap Chinh) which was built in 817 by Harivarman I and dedicated to the goddess Yang Ino Po Nagar. The tower is one of Vietnam's most important Cham sites. Parts of the towers have been restored (hence the lighter color brickwork) but the lotus petals and spear-head motifs are original as is the lintel over the door. The central tower dates back to the 7th century and is dedicated to the goddess of fertility Cri Cambhu. The northwest tower is dedicated to Sandhakar and has a typical Cham boat shaped-roof with several half-formed statues in relief which can still be clearly seen.
Christ the King Cathedral at Nha Trang in Vietnam
This fairly large Roman Catholic cathedral is located a little way away from the beach and quite near to Nha Trang railway station. Since Nha Trang's interesting Long Son Pagoda is also nearby, you can visit both easily. The cathedral was built in the French gothic style during the 1930s. It has colonnaded cloisters lining each side and the cathedral is dominated by a tall square clock-tower which houses three bels - these bells were cast in France in 1786.
The Long Son Buddhist Pagoda at Nha Trang, Vietnam
When viewed from the road the entrance to Long Son Pagoda resembles a building site what with its scaffolding and also amazing series of phone and electricity cables all over the place looking like giant spiders’ webs - don't be put off though as once inside it's really good. This is a working Buddhist pagoda and still has resident monks so it can be partially closed to visitors at various times.
The main feature is the 150 steps climb to the top where you are greeted by a very large brilliant white Buddha (Kim Than Phat To) who is seated on a pedestal topped with lotus petals. Built in the 1960s the Gautama Buddha seems to be meditating - perhaps about the fact that he is 46 feet tall. Further down the steps you will find a reclining Buddha who is sound asleep and has a very happy smile on his face - he is overlooked by carvings of praying monks and devotees.
Long Son Pagoda is Sino - Vietnamese in style and the bell towers and shrines are set amongst trees and shrubs and along with the colorfully tiled roofs of the buildings the area is very beautifully set out. Perhaps the only nuisance at Long Son Pagoda was the rather incessant begging for money from several elderly women hanging around by the steps.
Po Klong Garai Cham Towers in Vietnam
If travelling either too or from Nha Trang and Dalat whilst on a touring holiday in Vietnam, a really enjoyable way to make the journey is by private car and driver for several reasons quite apart from pure convenience. For a start you can visit some beautiful Cham Temples on the way and then enjoy an excellent ride up into the Ngoan Muc mountains and over the Pass - fabulous scenery.
Located around 105 kilometers south of Nha Trang is the twin city of Prang Rang and Thap Cham - this is the main junction for travelers heading on the coastal north/south route in Vietnam and the main route inland to Dalat via the Pass. Close to the junction and easily reached are located the exquisite Cham Towers of Po Klong Garai - these three towers are really worth a diversion. The Towers - which are set in beautiful grounds - are open daily and are free to enter although a donation is appreciated / expected. There is a small cafe and several craft shops as well as toilet facilities at the car park.
Constructed in brick the three Cham temple towers are situated in a lovely setting on a low hill therefore getting to them involves a short climb. They were built by Champa King Jaya Simhavarman III in the 13th century. There are numerous carvings and relief's and the buildings and the engravings are in pretty good condition. There is also a statue of the Cham King Po Klong Garai whom the temples are named after and also a statue of Nandi (Shiva's Bull). In past years the bull would have been "fed" by local farmers in the hope of getting a good harvest. These days the poor bull just gets fed once a year at the time of the Cham New Year.