Navigating Nha Trang

The Mission: Explore Nha Trang, Vietnam on my own terms.

The Prep: Do some research and decide what attractions you can’t miss and check out a few local tour agencies to compare prices.

The Gear:
Shades
Sunscreen
Bathing suit
Comfortable shoes
Water

The Execution:
Nha Trang- a beautiful beach town with blue skies and sparkling waters. From HCM you can either take an 8 hour train ride or a one hour flight into Nha Trang. I opted to fly via Vietjet for an incredible price of $50 USD roundtrip.

Nha Trang is known for its beaches, but I had read about some beautiful waterfalls up in the mountains and was eager to do some hiking. There were many tour companies along the main roads so I took a stroll to check out some of my options. I could rent a motorbike and cruise the area myself, but I’m terrified to drive one of those things so I decided I would hire a driver for the day. Most companies offer tour packages that take you to many of the most popular sites, but I wanted something a bit different. I spoke with the tour operator and listed the areas I wanted to see. After a bit of negotiating, we came to an agreement that the driver would take me to my listed destinations over a period of 6 hours for $20 USD.

I met my driver, strapped on my helmet and saddled up for a day of exploring Nha Trang. Our first stop was Long Son Pagoda with the famous sleeping Buddha. I was warned by my driver upon entry that there were many scam artists in the area and not to speak to anyone. As I started to explore the area, I was approached by a number of people trying to sell me things and begging for money. My driver, being a bit protective, took notice and escorted me through the grounds for the remainder of my time there. After hiking the steps to see Sleeping Buddha and taking photos with the giant White Buddha, we were off. We stopped at a local home where I learned how to weave a rug, stopped by the fishing village, explored the Po Nagar Temple, cruised down the coast and through the rice fields on the way to Ba Ho Waterfall.

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Once at the park, my driver took to his hammock as I hiked towards the falls. The trail up follows the stream and is covered by trees. I hiked until I came to a fork in the road with a few women selling food and beverages. They pointed me in the right direction and I eventually saw the red arrows painted on the rocks. I followed the arrows up, around and over the rocks until I reached the falls. While not overly impressive, the hike was a lovely and refreshing change from the bustle of HCM where I had been the previous week. I wandered around for a bit and took a quick dip in the pools to cool down from my hike before I headed back down to find my driver and head back to town.

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The Highlights:

  • Level of difficulty: moderate
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the tour companies and get the experience you want for the price you can afford.

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