Nha Trang and the South Central Coast

The south central coast has Vietnam’s finest beaches and the best-known beach resort is Nha Trang with its white sandy beach and swaying palm trees. Most of Nha Trangs accommodation is directly opposite the beach and one, the 5-star Ana Mandara Resort, is right on the beach.

The south central coast has Vietnam’s finest beaches and the best-known beach resort is Nha Trang with its white sandy beach and swaying palm trees. Most of Nha Trangs accommodation is directly opposite the beach and one, the 5-star Ana Mandara Resort, is right on the beach. Needless to say life in Nha Trang revolves around the beach and the sea for both visitors and locals. A boat trip on the clear blue-green waters of Nha Trang Bay with some snorkeling among the coral reefs and a fresh seafood lunch is a great way to spend a day in Nha Trang. For scuba divers there are several diving shops along the beach offering professional dive services.

Away from the beach Nha Trang has some other interesting attractions including Long Son Pagoda, with its enormous seated white Buddha statue, and the 7th century Po Nagar Cham Towers. Around 100km to the south of Nha Trang, near to the dusty coastal town of Phan Rang, is another fine example of Cham architecture, the Po Klong Garai Cham Towers. Perched dramatically on top of a rocky hill surrounded by cactus the Po Klong Garai Towers dominate the surrounding arid landscape. Sixty kilometers north of Nha Trang and two-hour boat journey out to sea is one of the most delightful little hideaways in the country, Whale Island.

Scuba diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, hobby cat sailing or just relaxing with a good book in a hammock, you can do it all at Whale Island. Nearly 240km north of Nha Trang is Qui Nhon, a convenient overnight stop between Nha Trang and Hoi An, with some nice beaches nearby.

Further south, and just 200km north of Ho Chi Minh City, is the small fishing town of Phan Thiet. While Phan Thiet is a pleasant enough town, the real attraction is the nearby Mui Ne Peninsula and its 10km of sandy beaches and coconut groves. Many attractive small-scale beach resorts have opened up in recent years amongst the palm trees of Mui Ne and it has become a popular place to rest up for a few days. At the end of the peninsula near to the fishing village are some enormous sand dunes that look as if they belong in the Sahara rather than southern Vietnam. For golfers Phan Thiet offers one of the best links golf courses in the region, the Nick Faldo-designed Ocean Dunes Course.

Just 130km to the south east of Ho Chi Minh City are two more beach resorts, Vung Tau, a popular weekend resort for Saigonese, and the much quieter and more attractive, Long Hai.

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