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Nha Trang Travel Guide

About

A desert area rich with wildlife up to the 19th century, Nha Trang underwent rapid industrialisation and modernisation in the 1920s under the supervision of French colonial rule. Nha Trang grew from a townlet, into a town, then into the fully-fledged coastal city and capital of Khánh Hòa Province, or the South Central Coast of Vietnam. Being a coastal urban cente, Nha Trang attracts both local and international visitors with its numerous beaches and scuba-diving hotspots. It is also home to some of the world's most beautiful bays, as well as the site of The Sea Festival, held bianually for a week every June, where locals gather in powerful waves to celebrate their culture and put a spotlight on it to foreign tourists. The Whale Festival is another revered celebration, but of an entity rather than a concept: one where fishermen from Quảng Bình to Cà Mau Province firmly believe that whenever a whale surfaces nearby, they are left with much fish in its wake to catch, or even tales where whales rescued fishing boats doomed in storms. Thus, the people of Nha Trang hold the whale as a sacred creature, extending efforts with hearts as big as the creatures they seek to protect and honor, even interring bleached whale carcasses in suitable temples to remember and respect, as long as they live in their memories.

Local Custom & Slang

Wedding Etiquette

  • The wedding is considered to be one of the more significant events in Vietnamese culture, as with any other culture in the world. Should you receive an invitation to attend one, refrain from bringing anyone else along if your invitation card lacks a "+" sign or other names beside your own. In addition, if the bride and groom has overlooked this part, it is considered bad luck to attend a wedding if someone in your family has recently passed away.

In Other People's Shoes...

  • Similarly, if one finds themselves being invited into a Vietnamese home, do remember to remove any footwear before entering the household. As opposed to most European cultures where the footwear is worn throughout most parts of the house, it is considerd both unclean and a social taboo to have outside footwear worn inside the house.

Dressing Etiquette

  • Just like any other Vietnamese city, Nha Trang is home to several ancient and more modern Buddhist pagodas and temples. While most welcome tourists to visit the grounds, do remember to dress in a presentable and conservative manner when visiting these sacred landmarks: shorts, old-shirts and anything that seem worn out or exposes your limbs would not grant you admission into any of these places.

Phrases for eating

  • May I have the menu please: Cho toi cai menu duoc khong (Cho toy khai menu duuc khom)
  • What is this?: Cai gi vay? (kai zi vai)
  • I am allergic to peanuts: To di ung voi dau phong (Doi yi ung voy dau fong)
  • I cannot eat pork: Toi khong an duoc thit heo (Toi khom an duo tit hehll)
  • I am vegetarian: Toi an chay (Toi an chayh)
  • I would like to have this: Cho toi cai nay (Chor toi kah nai)
  • May I have the bill please: Tinh tien (Din ting)

Phrases for shopping

  • How much (is this?): Bao nhieu? (baow nyew)

  • Could you reduce the price?: Giam gia duoc khong? (zam za duoc khom)

  • Is this for sale?: Co ban khong? (cor ban kohm?)

  • It's too expensive: Mac qua (mac wa)

  • You are very beautiful: Em dep qua (Em dep wah)

  • You are very handsome: Anh dep trai qua (Anh dep wah)

  • a cheeky but effective tip is to ask the price from a Vietnamese seller then compliment them. The Vietnamese love it when visitors do this, and you would almost every time score much more affordable prices after pulling this tactic.

Trip Essentials

  • Weather
  • Currency
  • Visa
  • Electricity
  • The best time to visit Nha Trang is between February and May, where temperatures range from 26°C and 27°C. Rainfall is the least from April to August, making it ideal to snorkel or dive in the coral-rich clear waters. However, summer in Nha Trang is from July to August, so avoid the searing heat by planning your trip before the end of June.

  • The annual monsoon season strikes between September and December, always in the form of violent thunderstorms or typhoons, and hotel room rates in Nha Trang predictably plunge as well. Temperatures then can span from anywhere between 18°C to 30°C.

  • On the other hand, the Hon Ba Nature Reserve enjoys a relatively cool climate throughout the year with a 1,578m above sea level elevation, making it the perfect summer retreat even in the middle of summer itself.

Transportation

By Taxi

  • Compared to other Vietnamese cities, Nha Trang taxis are furnished with air-conditioning, comfortable seats and reliable meters. Most drivers are English-speaking as well, solidifying this mode of transport as Nha Trang's favoured.

  • For travellers arriving at Cam Ranh Airport, there is the choice to either pay 40,000 VND for a shuttle ticket to the old Nha Trang city airport where you can take a cab from there, or purchase a taxi voucher for 290,000 VND that will take you straight to your hotel or other destination of choice.

  • As of December 2017, the flag-down rate of a cab is 7,000 VND while rate per/km can be 15,000 VND depending on the taxi company. Have a minimum of 100,000 VND on you in case the cab takes a longer route.

  • Local Operator: Mai Linh Taxi and Vinasun

  • Other Operaters: Dinchung Taxi

By Motorcycle Taxi (Xe Om)

  • Ah yes, the Xe Om once again. The cheaper and far more scenic way to get around any Vietnamese city or town, and it is no exception in Nha Trang. Helmets are provided by the seasoned locals who operate these motorcycle taxis, easily distinguishable from the "Xe Om" sign attached to the front of the motorcycle.

  • Expect to pay 10,000 VND to 15,000 VND for the rate per km when riding a Xe Om.

By Cyclo

  • Commonly found along the beach areas of Nha Trang where tourists frequent, this nostalgic mode of transport is mostly patronised by foreign visitors rather than the locals of Nha Trang. This means it will be common for cyclo-drivers to charge exorbitant prices, and if one does not yield to bargaining, simply move on to the next driver.

  • Beaware of the cyclo-driver you pick, as many cyclo-drivers are shysters and sandbaggers who deliberately confuse "15" with "50" and "13" with "30" etc. while haggling over the price. Other cyclo-drivers function as local pimps, who would insist on taking you to local hookers instead of your destination, so exercise caution should you pick this mode of transport.

  • The average fare per cyclo-ride can average 22,000 VND per km, and can carry up to two individuals per ride.

By Bus

  • Compared to other cities in Vietnam, the bus service of Nha Trang is rather complicated and requires some getting used to. Travellers can get onto them via two types of bus stops: ones with a shed and bench, and the other with a blue-and-yellow sign, where the latter displays route numbers and destinations. Once on the bus, most commuters do not alight for a long while, so do let the driver know in advance you are getting off by raising your hand.

  • There are two methods of purchasing a bus ticket: to either pay the bus conductor directly or purchase the more convenient option of a monthly ticket with your photo ID on it. The latter can be processed in a few minutes' time at most bus stations.

  • Apart from the standard 7,000 VND fare between town borders, there are other bus services called "open-tour buses" which ferry commuters between cities. Prices vary and are charged in US$, so do view the company website shoulds you be planning to take one.

By Bicycle

  • Another popular mode of transport in Nha Trang is the humble bicycle. Due to the city's usually flat terrain, it is easy for both novice and expert cyclists to traverse. Nighttime is when more local cyclists are seen on the roads mingling with motorbikes and cars, as the cool night weather makes it a much more comfortable experience to cycle.

  • Renting a bicycle can set you back 20,000 VND a day, inclusive of a helmet, bicycle lock and multi-tools.

By Motorbike Rental

  • This is the suggested mode of transport should your travel plan involve exploring Nha Trang at your own pace, but just as any other motorbike rental in all Vietnamese cities, the outlet would require an advance deposit, signing a rental contract and a copy of your photo ID or passport. Be sure to have a valid driver's license and inspect the motorbike thoroughly before taking it out on the road, in case Nha Trang's finest decides to pull you over for whatever reason.

  • There are numerous motorbike rental agencies throughout Nha Trang, but this one is usually regarded as a reliable and popular one both among locals and foreginers.

  • Prices vary among rental outlets, but they can range from between 60,000 VND to 100,000 VND a day.

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