Great for history buffs, Nha Trang is home to remnants of the Champa Kingdom, Buddhist temples, and gothic-style Catholic churches while natural hot springs, salt fields, and unique waterfalls offering a myriad of sightseeing and recreational activities.
Here are the top attractions in Nha Trang.
Po Nagar Cham Towers
Po Nagar Cham temple complex was built between 8th and 11th centuries by the Cham people who once ruled the central plain of Vietnam.
Po Nagar Cham Towers were built to honor 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 meters, 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 honor.
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 kilometers north from the city centre.
Opening Hours: Daily 07:30 – 17:00
Address: 2/4 Street near Xom Bong Bridge, Nha Trang
Long Son Pagoda & White Buddha
Long Son Pagoda is situated on the foothill of Trai Thuy Mountain. The temple is famous for its large white Buddha image, which sits atop the mountain crest and can be seen from anywhere in town.
Built in 1886 in the style of Taoist architecture, Long Son Pagoda has been home to many high-ranking Buddhist monks. The Vietnam Buddhist Studies Foundation was founded here in 1936.
After being destroyed by a cyclone in 1990, the whole complex was rebuilt at the present site further down the hill. In its attempt to recreate the exact replica of the old temple, Long Son underwent many restorations and additions, interrupted at times by the Vietnam War and civil unrest. The white Buddha image was constructed much later in 1964.
Today, Long Son Pagoda boasts beautiful and unique turn-of-the-century Taoist architecture characterized by the embellishment of mythical animals and sculptures of Taoist gods. It is also a working monastery complete with a school for monks in its grounds.
An impressive three-tier roofed entrance, decorated with mosaic dragons, leads to the large temple grounds decorated by potted topiary.
Behind the temple, 152 steps lead to the main attraction of Long Son Pagoda, the 24-metre tall white Buddha image seated on a lotus throne. Around the corner, there is a large reclining Buddha whose back panel features a bas-relief representation of the monks and nuns who died in the late 1950s while protesting against the corrupt US-backed Diem regime.
From the platform at the base of the white Buddha, visitors can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Nha Trang and the sea beyond.
Opening Hours: Daily 07:30 – 11:30 & 13:30 – 17:30
Address: Thai Nguyen Street, Nha Trang
Nha Trang Cathedral
Nha Trang Cathedral is the largest church in the city. Set atop a hill that overlooks Nha Trang Train Station, it was constructed in provincial French Gothic style by Priest Louis Vallet during the early 19th century. Nha Trang Cathedral serves the local Catholic community, with Mass being held between 05:00 and 18:30 on a daily basis.
A popular spot for wedding and landscape photography, Nha Trang Cathedral is made entirely of stone and features beautiful stained glass windows, as well as a square clock tower that’s surmounted by a large crucifix.
Its three cathedral bells, which were cast in France in 1789, are still in working order. There are also hints of Vietnamese influences to the structure, such as pink backlight on the tabernacle, red neon light outlining the crucifix, blue neon on the arch, and a white neon-lit halo atop St. Mary’s statue.
Outside, Cathedral of Nha Trang is decorated with numerous statues of saints as well as 4,000 tombstones mounted on the sides, which were placed after the neighboring cemetery was leveled in 1988 to extend the city train station.
A must-visit for any first-time visitor, Nha Trang Cathedral remains one of the city’s most important remnants of French architecture.
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday from 05:00 to 17:00, Sunday 04:30 – 20:00
Address: Nguyen Trai Street, Phuoc Tan Ward, Nha Trang
Vinpearl Amusement Park
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: Monday – Thursday 08:00 – 21:00, Friday – Sunday 08:00 – 22:00
Address: Vinpearl Resort Island, Nha Trang Bay
National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam
The National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam offers interesting exhibits of local marine life, including over 20,000 live and preserved marine specimens.
Open to public since 1922, the institute also sponsors ongoing research and community projects, such as captive breeding programs, preservation and regeneration of local coral reefs.
The collection of this museum is so extensive that it spans two floors within a French colonial building in Cau Da. The ground floor houses glass tanks of various sizes filled with marine life such as reef sharks, turtles, scorpion fish, anemones, puffers, and lionfish as well as coral reefs and seaweed from many parts of the world. For clarification, each tank is also labeled with the name, origin, and characteristics in Vietnamese and English.
Meanwhile, the upper floor of the museum features thousands of preserved specimens, animal skeletons, local boats, and fishing artifacts.
One of the highlights of the museum is the skeleton of a humpback whale, which was excavated in the Ha Nam Province back in 1994. The specimen measures at 18 meters in length and 18,000kg in weight. Also on display here is the skeleton of a dugong that was excavated in Con Dao back in 1997.
Visitors can also enjoy several themed exhibitions of the institute’s development in research equipment and technology as well as rooms that illustrate natural disasters, sacred legends and traditions, and fishing culture in Vietnam.
Opening Hours: Daily 06:00 – 18:00
Address: 1 Cau Da, Nha Trang
Thap Ba Hot Springs Centre
Thap Ba Hot Springs Centre is a great place to relax and rejuvenate after a day of exploring Nha Trang.
Great for a temporary retreat away from the bustling city, the hot springs centre is set against a mountain backdrop with plenty of greenery and flowers. It is also fitted with private and shared mud-baths, herbal-bath, Jacuzzi, waterfall, swimming pool, and sauna.
Locals believe that the natural hot mineral springs help detoxify and soothe fatigued muscles, remove dead skin cells, and supply minerals to the body. Meanwhile mineral mud is said to contain antiseptic properties which is used as a facial mask to treat acne and revitalize the skin.
Thap Ba Hot Springs Centre offers a variety of services and treatment packages at different price levels. A basic mud bath package comprises a 15-minute mineral mud bath in the communal pool, and a 30-minute soak in naturally hot mineral water, followed by a hydrotherapy session using warm or cool mineral water.
If you’re willing to splurge for privacy and luxury, Thap Ba Hot Springs Centre has VIP rooms that are fitted with indoor mineral water bathtubs, swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and inclusive of body massages, acupuncture therapy, and beauty services.
Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 19:00
Address: 15 Ngoc Son Street, Ngoc Hiep Ward, Nha Trang
Ba Ho Waterfalls
Ba Ho Waterfalls is one of Nha Trang’s must-visit attractions, with three natural waterfalls that end with a clear lake surrounded by a dense rainforest.
Situated about 20 kilometers north of Nha Trang, the waterfalls are a favorite spot for hiking, swimming, picnics, and fishing.
The waterfalls have been left in their natural state, for the most part, with several arrow pointers and cement steps set along the more challenging routes.
From the entrance, it is a 30-minute walk through the foliage to the first waterfall before it becomes a challenging climb over large rocks to reach the second and third waterfalls. Make sure you are reasonably fit, wear proper shoes, and/or bring extra clothes before making your way here.
Opening Hours: Daily 06:00 – 18:00
Address: Ninh Ich, Ninh Hoa district, Nha Trang
Alexandre Yersin Museum
Founded in 1990, the Alexandre Yersin Museum is set within the late French bacteriologist’s home in Tran Phu Street, hosting extensive exhibits of his personal belongings and laboratory equipment, as well as original letters and photographs from his travels around Vietnam.
Affectionately called Ong Nam by locals, some of his vital contributions to Vietnam include the founding of Dalat, discovery of a vital plague-causing bacterium, and research on agricultural methods and meteorological forecasting.
In 1895, he also founded Vietnam’s Pasteur Institutes, which are located in Nha Trang, Dalat, and Ho Chi Minh City. The establishments produce vaccines, coordinate vaccination and hygiene programs within the country, and also carry out medical research and testing according to European standards.
In this small but well-kept museum, visitors can see hundreds of well-preserved letters, photographs, scientific instruments, and furniture such as his working desk and deathbed. There are also are four dioramas on display here, which was hand painted and donated to the museum by French high school students.
In addition to the displayed artifacts of his scientific work, the Alexandre Yersin Museum also houses over 500 glass stereoscopic slides of his photographs of Vietnam’s ethnic groups. Visitors can also view a fascinating 3D photo viewer and a short film about Yersin’s life at the museum.
Highly recommended for history buffs and people familiar with Dr. Yersin and his work, the Alexandre Yersin Museum offers an interesting look back at a notable character in Vietnamese history.
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 08:00 – 11:00 & 14:00 – 16:30
Address: Pasteur Institute, 10 Tran Phu Street, Nha Trang
Suoi Do Pagoda
Suoi Do Pagoda is a 50-year-old Buddhist temple in Nha Trang that was built in honor of Quan Am, the Goddess of Mercy. Set atop a mountain in Suoi Hiep Commune, the structure is an interesting landmark thanks to its serene atmosphere and significant history of Buddhism in the coastal town.
It is believed that a young girl claimed to have seen the goddess while playing with her friends at a stream which runs down the mountain. Soon after, Suoi Do Pagoda was built near the stream, where it continues to serve the local Buddhist community to this very day.
It takes about 200 steps to reach the pagoda. Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be greeted with plenty of trees and a natural pool as well as panoramic views of the Cai River Valley, paddy fields, banana plantations, and neighboring hills.
Opening Hours: Daily 06:00 – 18:00
Address: Suoi Hiep Commune, Dien Khanh District, Nha Trang
Hon Khoi Salt Fields
The Hon Khoi Salt Fields is one of the most unique tourist destinations in Nha Trang, where mounds of natural salt are manually harvested from shallow fields along Doc Let Beach.
The best time to visit Hon Khoi Salt Fields are between the months of January and June, when the summer climate allows for the salt to be directed from the East Sea to the fields. It is then left there to evaporate for about 10 days before it is collected in wicker baskets, each weighing up to 10 kilograms.
Unlike most salt fields in Vietnam, the strenuous task of tending to Hon Khoi Salt Fields is carried out by middle-aged women. To protect themselves from the heat and salt, these salt workers wear conical hats, rubber gloves and boots, as well as facemasks.
Hon Khoi Salt Fields are also popular spots for photography, where you can capture great views of the salt mountains and workers carrying heavy baskets across the fields well as a pagoda that sits atop a nearby hill.
Opening Hours: Daily 04:00 – 09:00
Location: Northern Nha Trang