Life is better with sandy toes, especially with the golden sand of Vietnam. One of the best locations, Nha Trang, is considered the Golden Coast of Vietnam, boasting one of the most beautiful beaches and bays of the world – a perfect getaway for those who are craving vitamin Sea.
Nha Trang is the most desired seaside resort-town, brilliantly designed for leisure travelers. It is way more lively and urban compared to other beach destinations like the quieter Mui Ne and Phu Quoc. The city is rapidly growing with more and more skyscrapers, luxurious hotels, shopping centers, and tourism facilities (with English titles and Cyrillic scripts underneath). It is as we as say in Vietnam “Aim for the stars and reach my butts” – Ancient Vietnamese Proverb.
The stormy season is from October to the first half of December. Chilly air and heavy winds create a restless sea, I only recommend visiting Nha Trang for surfing and extreme water sports during this time. During the summertime, the city becomes a paradisiacal oasis for travelers with a plethora of outdoor activities available. You should book your accommodation in advance, or else you will end up wandering around hoping for a last-minute vacancy. One of the most welcoming places to stay in Nha Trang, I sure would say, is at Christina’s – check this out.
Once you set foot in Nha Trang, enjoy the sun, sand, surf, and vodka. This is also the best place in the world to get an international scuba-diving certificate (PADI), with the best value for money starting at 250 USD for the whole open water course with full equipment rental included (the average worldwide price is upwards of 350 USD).
Apart from diving, surfing, and other water activities; you can also spend a whole day playing golf, cycling, hiking, and exploring the waterfalls. But for this article, I will only cover exciting sea activities, so check this article for bunches of inland fun.
Exciting sea activities
Diving & Snorkeling (Summer)
Diving and snorkeling are a big draw for the city. The shallow waters surrounding the islands of Nha Trang offer a decent diving experience, which is easily accessible for new-comers and a walk in the park experience if you’ve dived in the Philippines, but you will get more than what you are paying for.
There aren’t any sharks, turtles, Nor WW2 shipwrecks. You can expect a peaceful and friendly experience with flocks of diverse, small creatures and a range of colorful corals, with some swim-through tunnels and caves for advanced divers to explore.
The city has many dive shops to choose from, and almost every place is willing to get you a good deal with professional service and equipment in good condition. The local dive masters are great friendly dudes with decent English. They will tell you many stories. Also, as mentioned above, Nha Trang gives you the best value-for-money PADI course in the world, and all-inclusive diving trips starting at 50 USD, a phenomenal price. The courses are around three to four days long and the diving trips are usually during the day only, usually from 7:30 AM to 2 PM with two dives and a modest lunch.
Keep in mind that you are only able to go on diving trips if you are certified as a diver. If you are not certified, think about snorkeling. If you would like to dive without certification, there are PADI crash courses (Discover Scuba Diving, Try Diving, etc.) that allow you to dive with an instructor after taking a brief lesson and training. Here are some recommendations of the most friendly and professional diving centers that offer good value packages with affordable pricing:
Sailing Club Divers: extremely professional and well-established since 1999, one of the longest running dive centers in Vietnam to date. Instruction is available in English, Vietnamese, French, German, and Russian with local and international dive masters, and a good ratio of one instructor to two divers (minimum 10 years old). Click here for their website.
Price range: 65 USD for a daily “Fun Dives” trip starting at 7:50 AM to 1:30 PM with 2x60min dives/snorkeling sessions; and 85 USD for a beginner PADI course – “Discover Scuba Diving” – for non-certified divers.
To get the first PADI certification, you have to enroll in a “PADI Open Water” course, which costs 310 USD, takes three days, and includes meals and transfers to and from your accommodation. The Open Water certification will allow you to dive anywhere, anytime at a maximum depth of 18 meters or 60 feet, the first step to submerging yourself in the wondrous world of the sea. The center also offers eLearning PADI courses that let you study the materials beforehand on your own to maximize your time diving instead of sitting in a classroom for hours. Taking advanced courses costs less.
Vietnam Active: the number one option on Tripadvisor, super well-organized, and offers a lot of packages that are individually customized via online booking inquiry. Check out their website here!
Price range: 25 USD for a snorkeling trip, and 65 USD for a fun diving trip (certified divers only). For first-time, non-certified divers, Discover Scuba trips cost 50 USD for one dive and 80 USD for two dives.
An open water course to get a PADI certification costs 350 USD, all-inclusive with pickup from your hotel. There is no online learning option. Apart from that, there is a series of Free-diving courses, which are only available once you are a certified diver, and they provide you with a free-diver certification, allowing you to dive without breathing gear. A trial session costs 65 USD and it will allow you to dive at most five meters deep. The whole program is 400 USD with three-level courses that will train you to dive up to 20 meters deep in one single breath.
Rainbow Divers: Founded by Jeremy Stein and his fellow expat friends, Rainbow Divers has European-style service and quality in case you are not comfortable dealing with local shops. There are shops in Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Con Dao, Whale Island (two hours by boat from Nha Trang), and in Saigon. They also have connections with many other dive centers throughout Southeast Asia. The website is also super cutting-edge and approachable.
Price range: 25 USD for a snorkeling trip, 75 USD for a fun diving trip, 80 USD for beginner-diving trip (without theory session), and 100-125 USD for Discover Scuba (provides some theory and practice).
Open water course costs 400 USD, all-inclusive with an eLearning option available. There are a lot of advanced and specialty courses to choose from. You can organize with the shop to get the best deal and they are willing to negotiate.
The boat trips should be safe, smooth, and professionally organized. These shops know the best places to dive in the area, so you will receive top-notch information and dive in local spots. But just in case, here are a few things that you should check before closing the deal with the shops:
- Ensure the quality of the equipment (everything should be functional)
- Check reviews and guides online or from your friends
- Confirm how many people will dive with one instructor (should only be from two to four people)
- Find out how many people will be on one boat, and their level of expertise (you don’t want to get stuck diving with beginners if you are an experienced diver and vice versa)
For those of you who are not comfortable with swimming or diving, sea-walking is the best way to explore the wonderful underwater world. Wear a comfy diving helmet with a lot of space inside, walk the seabed and observe your spectacular surroundings through a big lens. The experience is risk-free, comfortable (since you do not have to wear any equipment from the shoulder down to the feet), and requires no complicated scuba diving skills at all. In addition, anyone above 10 years old is able to join, people afraid of swimming and even ladies wearing make-up can be hassle-free, since absolutely no water goes inside the helmet.
The most trusted operator for this experience is Friendly Travel Nha Trang, offering a 20-minute sea-walking session at Hon Tam Island for 85 USD, with transportation from your stay covered and fruit included.
You can read more about the tour and confirm the booking here.
The central coast line of Vietnam offers ideal surfing conditions and water sport spots that have been famous since the Vienam War.
In fact, Nha Trang is one place that the vets are still talking about; the surf was great then, and it is even better now with modern facilities and equipment.
The winter season, from October to April, is the best time to surf; typhoons from the Philippines cause active sea motion that creates excellent waves in the water that make surfing ideal for both beginners and experienced surfers.
It is a bitter truth that there aren’t any water activities available on the city beach now. If you want to get active, visit Bai Dai (Long Beach). It is the most renowned spot for water sports in Nha Trang, which is 23 kilometers from the city center. There you have a long 5-kilometer white sandy shore and crystal clear water, perfect for a beach-break getaway for a day. Surfing, drinking, eating— you get it all. There are many surf shops around that offer a variety of activities apart from just surfing also. I recommend spending a whole day at The Shack for surfing and chilling.
The Shack Vietnam: Surf Club, Bar & Restaurant
Address: Bai Dai Nha Trang, Nguyen Tat Thanh, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Ranh
The most convenient way to get there is to hop in a Mai Linh (Green) or Vinasun (White) taxi to minimize the possibility of getting scammed. It should be around 200k to 300k VND (9 – 13 USD) from anywhere in the Nha Trang city center. As always, driving your own bike is the most exciting option, the route is straight-forward and it provides some sight-seeing as well.
Once you arrive, find a comfy spot, and surf’s up! There is a wide collection of boards to choose from, starting from 180,000 VND (8 USD) for an hour. Longboards, shortboards, boogie boards, Stand-up paddle boards (SUP), etc. – you name it. The swell is between one to three meters high, proportional to the distance from the shore, providing surfers with their own choice of challenge. Be aware of rip tides that can take you far away. There are surf lessons available every day for those who want to get started surfing for 600,000 VND (26 USD), including one-hour self-surfing. Kayak and jet-ski rentals are available if you want to try something else when staying there also.
If you are experienced enough and have a board, here are the best places for you to surf on your own. Nobody should bother you while you paddle out to the waves since there are almost no surf shops around these areas. Therefore, take care of your own safety as well.
The city spot: A small beach located within the city, “the city spot” is great for surfing. This is a reef-break spot with really nice left waves that make the beach suitable for both beginners and pro surfers. To get there, just simply find your way to “Hon Chong”. The beach should be within eye-sight.
The Dark Reef: This is the favorite spot of experienced surfers in Nha Trang, which provides challenging left and right waves. The best waves are 300 meters away from the shore, so it is best to get a local transfer to get out there. Caution: Proceed at your own risk. This area is a high-risk, high-reward experience and it is not safe during low tide. To get there, just pinpoint it on Google Maps with these coordinates: “12.159090, 109.208477” so you know the location. It is around 1.5 kilometers from Diamond Bay Resorts & Spa.
Other surfing and sailing (Best in Winter)
Water-skiing, wakeboarding, kite-surfing, and parasailing are available in Nha Trang also, but it is a bit tricky to find exact information about locations online. I recommend checking with your accommodation’s reception and with a local travel information center. Your best bet is Sailing Club Nha Trang.
Pro tip: You should contact them before arriving in Nha Trang to find out the availability and the prices of these games during your stay.
A wide array of sailing is also available with Sailing Club Nha Trang, from windsurfing, laser sailing to catamaran and trimaran yachts. For renting yachts, Sailing Center Vietnam is another agency that you should check.
Pro tip: Chartering a yacht is around 295 USD for three hours and 495 USD for six hours, but please contact them to get the best deal. The price includes yacht crews, drinks, fruits, snacks, insurance, and also taxes. Fishing kits are usually provided, you should check with the operator also.
Extreme water sports: Fly-boarding and jet-skiing (Year-round)
Check out Flyboard Nha Trang – Motonuoc. They have great packages regarding these two sports.
Fly-boarding is a unique sport in which you stand on a hydro-flying device that uses water propulsion to drive you through the air, to perform maneuvers and acrobatics (rolling, spinning, etc.). For the first-timer, fly-boarding will prove difficult as it is hard to maintain balance even when you try to stand still. Once you get a grip, the game changes; you can do Ironman poses, fly around, or just jump and dive like a dolphin.
While other extreme sports require time for mastery, fly-boarding is really intuitive. After spending some time with your instructor learning how to maintain your balance and move around, you are good to go! The price starts at 600,000 VND (26 USD) for five minutes flying and goes up to 1.800k (79 USD) for a whole 20 minutes with an extra 10 minutes of instruction. Hover-board (flying skateboard) is also available for roughly the same price to satisfy your interest. Every package includes a training session, safety equipment, and a personal instructor.
For jet-skiing, Flyboard Nha Trang offers a four-hour island tour with an unforgettable experience cruising to brilliant locations around the city. You get to ride your own jet-ski with a professional and friendly instructor, guiding you around the waterways of Nha Trang to one of the special islands. In addition to sight-seeing along the way, you will stop at the island for a little while, observing local lives and participating in unique activities. There are two official routes for the tour: Hon Mun Island or Monkey Island. If you have an interest in visiting other islands, feel free to leave them a message.
Apart from Flyboard Nha Trang, there are shops that offer jet-ski rentals along the city beach and on the islands. The fee should be around 300,000 VND (13 USD) to 450,000 VND (19 USD) for 30 minutes. They also have jet-ski associated sports such as parasailing, wakeboarding, and banana boat riding.
That is all for now, enough to keep you on your toes when looking for sea-breeze activities in Nha Trang. In addition, this coastal city is famous for its amazing islands! In case you hesitate to get to these islands on your own, Onetrip has designed a comprehensive adventure for you and it includes some fun water activities!
Looking for more information on Nha Trang? Try these articles out:
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