Nha Trang beach with kids

Who knew that a Russian resort was based in Vietnam? When you first get to Nha Trang you notice the number of high rise and it actually felt like a typical European beach resort. I’d heard so many stories of high rise, dirty beaches, Russians and being very busy. So I was prepared.

But here’s the thing; I didn’t feel it! I guess as it was quite a big city the tourist areas were spread out. You didn’t feel over whelmed by people and having foresight into what to expect meant I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, if anything I was pleasantly surprised! 

Firstly, it does not feel like Vietnam. But we were on with that. If you are coming to a find a small city beach resort with nice sandy beaches and snorkeling nearby then this is for you. It just so happens to be Jaspers birthday and he likes nothing more than beach days and snorkeling – so that’s what we’ve got.

 

How to get to Nha Trang

We took an overnight sleeper train from Da nang to Nha Trang.  It was a little more squished in our 6 bed berth as we had another 2 adults and a child in with us. The little boy decided my bed was comfiest and promptly joined me as soon as my eyes were open!  Good job he was cute!

The journey hugs the coast leading up to Nha Trang. It was beautiful! It’s journeys like this that I wished they still had open carriages!

We booked a grab from the station, only a short hop, and arrived at our hotel.

 

Where to stay in nha Trang

Much of the accommodation I saw was apartments based above hotels. But I’m not interested in waiting all day for a lift and we prefer the smaller hotels. We managed to find a place within budget, new century hotel. It was a nice light and airy room with a small balcony giving views towards to the sea. Very pleasant!

Ok the room was in need of repairs but it was a budget hotel and comfortable enough. It’s location was in a great spot only 5 minutes walk to the beach, close to lots of restaurants and shops.

 

Where to eat in Nha Trang

Cheers Bar – I know! But Keith was feeling a little of sorts and had gone for a sleep in the room and the boys were hungry. So I took the easy option and went to an English bar for breakfast. To be honest, it wasn’t too awful. It wasn’t busy, it was a pokey little place, the food was ok for Western and not a bad price. The kids were happy! 

Same, same but different – we really enjoyed our meal here. Prices are reasonable for the area, but not quite what we are used to – it is a resort. But it was a lovely restaurant, family-friendly and very busy. The menu catered for Western and local tastes. The meals were tasty and we had an enjoyable meal. 

Da Fernando – Jasper’s treat meal for his birthday! He loves a good lasagna and and the owner is Italian. Daddy and Ethan had delicious pizzas and I had fresh pasta pesto.  You really get fantastic service.

The owner greeted us and made sure we were attended to promptly. He didn’t want us kept waiting. They even brought Jasper a tiramisu when they found out it was his birthday! So lovely!!

Nha Trang centre food court – situated at the top of the mall is a number of outlets. You buy a card and then use it to buy food from any stall. After this you can take the card back to the desk and get a refund. 

We bought a few items, they were ok – nothing special but served a purpose. There was Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Pizzas, Greek and American. Everything you could need & easy.

Citimart Supermarket – A few days we just grabbed lunch in a new shopping mall that opened. It had a supermarket on the second floor with a deli and bakery for snacks.  It was opposite Nha Trang lodge hotel opposite the sea front.

 

Things to do in Nha Trang

The one thing I really liked about Nha Trang was it’s waterfront.

Promenade

We enjoyed walking along the waterfront and the trees provided shelter from the blazing heat. 

There were plenty of malls on the other side of the road that you could jump into if you needed to cool down.  

I also liked that no-one hassled you and we were left to our own devices! It wasn’t what I was expecting. Every now and again someone would speak to us in Russian, but they’d shrug and walk off when we said we’re English! Quite funny.

 

Beach day

We visited the beach a couple of times. My favourite spot was the beach area opposite Nha Trang towers. There were trees where you could take shelter rather than hire a sunbed for 80,000 dong! But make sure you take flip flops! The sand is soooo hot! 

We also found it useful to have a new mall directly across the road. It had a supermarket upstairs which had a small deli and bakery section for a picnic. As well as toilets! 

This beach has a lifeguard station, but I never saw anyone sat there!? And there was a dedicated swimming area here too. This area was quite quiet but that’s because most of the tourists walk straight onto the beach that they arrive at. They really don’t like walking! So if you see it’s too crowded then walk to the left as you face the beach – much quieter! 

 

Oceanographic museum

I’d read that there were a few fish tanks within this museum & it was cheap so we incorporated it into a walk out of town.

The entrance fee was 40,000 per adult, kids are half price. As we wandered around we found swimming pools with lots of colourful fish. It was unexpected and the boys loved it! There were a further 3 swimming pools each housing more fish, sharks and even turtles. 

However, we weren’t happy that the size of the tanks weren’t big enough for the sharks and turtles. There wasn’t much space to swim around! Hmmm… we did see one injured title so maybe it’s a bit of a rehabilitation. Either way, I left feedback that I hope they improve their facilities for the sharks and turtles! 

Moving on we then arrived at a mini aquarium. This was much better and we saw lots of fish native to the area.  We’re hoping we see them when we go snorkelling tomorrow!

The boys were happily squealing and skipping to see what was in each tank. 

Walking further along you arrive in a room housing a giant sperm whale skeleton. There was information in English all around the museum. We then carried on past a rather old and murky tank. (Some areas were definitely in better condition than others) then we finally reached the last exhibit with a huge tank.

Pan markets

As far as markets go it had every kind of tourist tat going. But the shops were inside and on top of each other. The ladies were very pushy to get you to buy something as soon as you came near. The prices were did hear were higher than expected so prepare to bargain hard if you want a good deal.

But to be honest as it’s a tourist destination they don’t even bother haggling as they get plenty of rich Russian tourists who’ll pay the money! 

 

Snorkeling in Nha trang

I’ll tell you more about our experience, but I was able to book our half day snorkeling online through http://www.nhatrangseastar.com/

This was Jaspers birthday activity!

They responded immediately quoting US$25 per person & US$15 per child for a half day. This included pick up and drop off, snorkeling gear, wet suit and lunch.

They were very aware of health and safety. We had several briefings, life jackets and they made every effort to put any non/weak swimmers minds at rest! 

We snorkelled at 2 sites which were very good in viability and the vital colour was better than those of seen in the great barrier reef. Unfortunately the journey out was a little choppy and Jasper felt such. But luckily I had sea sickness tablets and he soon came around. It was only a 1½ hour trip to the sites & back.

The boys had a fabulous time, we saw so many fish and spent at least 2 hours in the water! The staff were great and very enthusiastic about the area. 

Birthday boy snorkelling

Other things to do in Nha Trang

Swimming pools – In case your hotel doesn’t have a look there’s is a brewery House, called Louisiane Brewery. It had a pool that you can use if you buy lunch & drinks or pay 40,000 dong to rent a sunbed. The food & drinks were obviously on the pricey side! The price put us off.

Further along the waterfront, central park, is another place where you can rent sunbeds and enjoy a pool. The cost is 60,000 to 100,000 dong depending on the beds. 

Vin Pearl Amusement park – you can’t miss the giant cable car leading over to the island! The island is home to a theme park, animal shows, huge water park, aquarium, a giant shopping mall, an international food court and a beach. But with it comes a price tag – £24 per adult and £16 for kids (plus food/drinks)

It’s cheaper after 4pm.  Reviews suggested you needed to be there before 9am as the cable car queue can take an hour 

Ba Ho and Fairy Spring Waterfalls – we’d read that there were some nice waterfalls to visit around the area. However, as we were at the start of the wet season we didn’t expect them to be flowing much! But a nice way to escape the city. 

Long son pagoda – one of the key landmarks in nha Trang. There’s a large white Buddha, sitting in a lotus on a hilltop measuring about 14 metres in height

Thao Ba Hot Springs and Mud Baths – this is mentioned in all the tour guides. It certainly sounds interesting but after reading a few reviews I decided it wasn’t for us.

 

Conclusion

Nha Trang is a beach resort, it has lots of high rise, there are lots of tourists and it’s easy living. Basically, it’s a holiday destination. Ok, it’s going towards Russians and Koreans but all your needs are met. 

For us, it was a chance to stop and enjoy jaspers birthday. It’s been so hot in Vietnam that we’re feeling quite exhausted from the heat! 

It’s definitely not a budget stop & can feel a little hectic, but it wasn’t a bad place. The beach was really nice, there were a few malls so we could stock up on supplies and there were a few things to keep the kids entertained without breaking the budget.

Overall we were prepared, and so our expectations were managed! And Jasper had a fabulous birthday!!

 

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