If I had to pick only one must-do thing in Nha Trang, I would pick without any doubts: going to the beach at 5:30 in the morning. It’s one of the few beach cities in Vietnam and for that reason, it’s one of the rare places where you can observe a Vietnamese workout. Many of them wake up with the sunrise and go to the beach to work out and enjoy the calm ocean. If I were you, I would definitely wake up around 5 am – or make sure I don’t go to bed- take a Cà Phê Sữa Đá, some fruits and go on the beach to enjoy the sunrise like a Vietnamese. You can always go with them for a little workout, they always love it; don’t be shy!
Hiking Fairy Mountain
Fairy Mountain is a very popular mountain to hike, probably because it is one of the easiest to get to in Nha Trang, and the view will never disappoint you. There are many different paths on Fairy Mountain (Núi Cô Tiên in Vietnamese). For a short hike, you can go to Chùa Đa Bảo (see map 1). You can do most of the road on motorbike, and the view is really beautiful. The only negative point is the path; it is not the most obvious one. When you reach a point where you need to leave your motorbike and go by foot, this is where the path gets harder. You need to be adventurous and curious to find the path and not lose it while you’re walking – at some point; you will wander where you are, because some parts of the path have been erased. Don’t stop, follow your instinct, you will get to the temple on top of the mountain… at some point. Just enjoy the forest and don’t worry, everything leads to the top.
If you want a bigger challenge, and a longer hike, opt for the Angel’s Mountain. I’m not sure this is the real name of the mountain, but on google map you can clearly see Angel’s Mountain written, and that’s where you want to go. I was told there could be some venomous snakes, be sure to wear shoes and long socks when you go hiking. The view is breath-taking. From the top, you can see a 360 degree view of Nha Trang; ocean until your eyes don’t allow anymore, mountains until the clouds get too thick to see it, sun light until it gets too bright and silence until the wind disturbs you. Take a moment, sit, observe, and enjoy the view. Make sure you get back down before the sunset… it’s a wild mountain!
You don’t like to hike, but you still want to see a beautiful view of Nha Trang? Choose Hòn bà and forget Fairy Mountain. Located about 50 km away from the city, Hòn Bà is a mountain full of surprises. You will definitely enjoy the journey as much as the final view. First spot where you can stop: the sluice. Go to the end of the road, you will feel alone in the middle of nowhere. Second spot where you can stop: the Rocky River – I don’t know the official name, so I just call it the Rocky River. Along the way to Hòn Bà, you will find a couple of places where you can enjoy the river; just choose your spot.
You can leave all your things on the rocks and go get lost on the river. Finally, you can stop on top of the mountain to enjoy the view. There is Doctor Alexander Yersin’s house that you can visit- Yersin came to Nha Trang to establish a laboratory where he will try to manufacture the anti-plague serum. His house is still there and it is now a museum full of information for the curious one. You can educate yourself while enjoying a beautiful view, win-win, no?
When starting a day with a sunrise, why not finishing it with a sunset and a delicious Japanese Ramen soup? Even if you are in Vietnam and not in Japan, you cannot leave Nha Trang without trying this amazing ramen soup – Best one I ever tasted, outside of Japan obviously. Personally cooked by a Japanese expat, this soup will make the sunset look even better… And trust me; it is really hard to make it better, that’s how incredible this soup is.
It is still an unknown place for a lot of expats in Nha Trang, be one of the privileged and discover this little treasure. Located behind Ponagar, you need to take the little alley on the right side of the temple’s entry. Follow the alley until the end (it will turn left at some point), and you will arrive to the little bar right on the lake.
P.S. If you are a Jet Ski fan, you can rent some there during the day. You’re welcome for the tip!
Don’t forget to read Day 1 in Nha Trang and Day 3 in Nha Trang to discover more places.