Nha Trang Attractions
What to See in Nha Trang
Nha Trang Beach City - Vietnam
It's somewhat paradoxical that, with all the historical ancient attractions that Nha Trang has to offer, the most popular should be a relatively recent addition, the Alexandre Yersin Museum which is located within the Pasteur Institute.
Still, Nha Trang has the alluring combination of being pleasant on the eye, inexpensive and culturally interesting so there is a lot to see in this town of 300,000.
Po Nagar Cham Towers
Po Nagar Cham Towers in Nha Trang - Vietnam
Po Nagar Cham temple complex was built between 8th and 11th centuries by the Cham people who once ruled the central plain of Vietnam. The Cham people, who were Hindu in origin, had their own Sanskrit-based script. They are renowned for their skills in sculpture and architecture and left behind a legacy of artifacts and temple settlements not only in Vietnam, but also Cambodia and Thailand.
In the 14th century, the Kingdom of Champa fell into the hand of the invading Viet, whose descendants are today the Vietnamese people. A small minority of Cham people, now an ethnic minority, still live in the central plain somewhere near Danang. Although most Cham people have converted to Islam, they still worship their gods at Po Nagar Cham Towers during annual religious festival of Thap Ba, which falls around the end of April and the beginning of May.
Po Nagar Cham Towers were built to honour the goddess Po Nagar- literally translated as 'The mother of the Country' -who is said to have taught agricultural and weaving skills to the Cham people. Later, historians have come to identify Po Nagar with the Hindu goddesses Bhagavati, the wife of Shiva, and Durga, the buffalo-demon slayer.
The towers of Po Nagar Cham are square red brick structure with protruding support frames and tapering roofs. There were once ten buildings, each dedicated to a different deity, but now only four remain. The tallest building, at 25 metres, the Po Nagar Kalan, is the most impressive. Here, Po Nagar was worshipped and, according to historical stone inscriptions, animal sacrifices were made in her honour.
To the centre of the complex, stands a tower of Cri Cambhu, goddess of fertility. The other two temples are the shrines of the Hindu gods Shiva and Ganesh respectively.
Po Nagar Cham Towers are situated on the high ground of Mount Cu Lau on the bank of River Cai, a few kilometres north from the city centre.
• Opening Hours: 07:30 – 17:00 daily.
• Location: 2 Thang 4, end of Som Bong Bridge.
Vinpearl Amusement Park in Nha Trang
Vinpearl Amusement Park in Nha Trang - Vietnam
Vinpearl Amusement Park, situated on an island across the bay from Nha Trang Beach, is a large-scale theme park featuring water slides and games, a large aquarium, a wave pool, and a variety of rides. The Park is reached by cable car that connects Nha Trang City to this island resort. The 3,320-metre long ride offers dazzling views of the bay, a promise of the fun-filled day that is to follow.
Vinpearl Amusement Park’s attractions include a variety of water slides with names like "space hole", "tsunami", "black hole", and "kamikaze". The 900-metre long "lazy river" features gentle floating along while wearing a swimming ring, and the "wave pool" emulates different sea conditions, from choppy to very stormy. The very young have their own kids’ pool with chairs and umbrellas for supervising parents.
An impressive 3,000sqm aquarium, or "underwater world", has a tunnel with a motorised walkway through which visitors can admire no less than 300 species of colourful fish. This modern and beautifully-kept aquarium is claimed to be the biggest of its kind in Vietnam.
The usual theme park rides are featured here too, from the speedy roller coaster to the gentle carousel rides for the young and not-so-young. Some games are housed in the artificial mountain arcade. For meals, Vinh Xanh restaurant serves a variety of fast food including fruit juices and drinks. Nearer to the beach, the Food Village offers a set menu and a-la-carte dishes from its terrace overlooking the sea.
If you want to get away from the bustle, the 400-metre long sandy beach which is part of the amusement park is the place to relax and watch the sunset. There is a shopping mall with an array of boutiques selling anything from brand clothing items to jewelry and local handicrafts and souvenirs. A day pass offers unlimited entry to all rides, games and aquarium and includes a round-trip on the cable-car and the Vinpearl-owned ferry.
• Opening Hours: 08:00 – 21:00 Monday – Thursday, 08:00 – 22:00 Friday to Sunday.
• Address: Vinpearl Resort Island, Nha Trang Bay.
• Tel: +84 58 3 598 188.
Alexandre Yersin Museum
Alexandre Yersin Museum in Nha Trang - Vietnam
Alexandre Yersin, the French medical pioneer, is well remembered in Vietnam, where he was affectionately called Ông Năm. Surprisingly and as a sign of the deep respect the Vietnamese have for him, following the country's independence, streets named in his honour kept their designation, and his tomb in Suoi Dau was graced by a pagoda where rites are performed. His house in Nha Trang is now the Yersin Museum.
At the museum visitors can get an idea of the work of Yersin. He founded Dalat, discovered a vital plague-causing bacterium, and researched agricultural methods and meteorological forecasting, all to the great benefit of the Vietnamese. Yersin arrived in Nha Trang in 1891 and dedicated the rest of his life to scientific discovery from his laboratory here, until his passing away in 1943. He founded the institute in 1895. On display are his desk, a rich library and his scientific instruments.
• Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 08:00-11:00 and 14:00-16:30.
• Address: Pasteur Institute 10 Tran Phu Street.
• Tel: (058) 822-355
Long Son Pagoda
Long Son Pagoda in Nha Trang - Vietnam
The main attraction at this pagoda is the huge white Buddha on the hillside behind the main compound; the 24m-high statue is an important symbol of Nha Trang.
Around the base of the Buddha are portraits of monks who set fire to themselves to protest against the corrupt Diem regime; each monk's portrait, carved in relief surrounded by carved flames. Follow the steps up and you'll be rewarded with a bird's-eye view of Nha Trang and its environs.
• Location: At the end of Xom Bong Bridge, two kilometres out of town.
The National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam
The National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam
Established in 1922 and looking its age, the museum is set in a huge colonial complex of buildings. Signs guide the way through the various exhibits which range from leopard sharks in tanks, to a plaster cast model of a whale skeleton to an entire sea cow or manatee preserved in a huge glass case.
Other fascinating displays show Vietnam's oceanographic history. The institute sponsors ongoing research and community projects, ranging from monitoring aquatic life to developing captive breeding programs and encouraging preservation and regeneration of local coral reefs.
• Opening Hours: daily 07:00-16:30.
• Location: at the southern base of the small hilltop on which Bao Dai's Villa sits.
• Tel: (058) 590 037./.