Line of straw huts on the Nha Trang Beach

Nha Trang: Overrated Paradise

Nov 19, 2014 - Carlos

Vietnam’s golden coastal city, Nha Trang has attracted many tourists during the past few years. Its long stretches of beach, laid-back atmosphere and night life are among the reasons why it has become so popular. Coming from Brazil, I didn’t have high expectations for beaches in Vietnam in general, except for Ha Long Bay (but that was not really a beach). Nonetheless, I was looking forward to coming here and relaxing for a few days.

View of Nha Trang beach
View of Nha Trang beach

From our last stop in Hoi An, we took a bus to the closest train station in Da Nang and then from there a night train arriving early in the morning to Nha Trang. We basically just passed out during the morning of the first day, too tired after the long commute. I mean, what do you do in a beach town if not to relax, right?

Straw hut at night
Straw hut at night

That’s exactly what we did. We walked along the beach, sat on the sand gazing at the horizon and finally went in for some swimming. It was an OK time, but I was still not convinced that Nha Trang lived up to the reputation it has among Russians. There were so many Russian tourists in Nha Trang, it was like they took the town over from the Vietnamese. Signs and menus were in Russian, food was catered to Russians, people speaking Russian everywhere… at least they seemed to love the beach. I was not equally impressed.

Line of straw huts on the Nha Trang Beach
Line of straw huts on the Nha Trang Beach

Firstly, the waves were pretty big and strong, making it pretty difficult to swim. It was not the nice and calm waters that are ideal for beach. We spent a good amount of time just sitting on the sand, watching inexperienced beachgoers who would completely wipe out and be carried to the shore. That’s how strong the waves crashed.

Nha Trang coastline
Nha Trang coastline

Secondly, the beach was kind of dirty, with garbage scattered in both the sand and water. Putting the latter together with the strong waves, we had dirty plastic bags or styrofoam containers hitting us. At night, there were also rats wandering around on the sand, scouting out for food leftovers (one almost ran over Julie’s foot!). That really turned us off from lying on the sand again the next day.

Nha Trang: overrated paradise
Nha Trang: overrated paradise

These two things really made me think that Nha Trang was a bit overrated and not deserving of everything people said about it. But then again, I do have pretty high standards for beach coming from Brazil. It was quite picturesque at times though, and one of our first beach experiences in the trip so far. I’m sure there will be many more great beach days to come in SE Asia. For those looking for a better beach experience in Vietnam, Mui Ne or Phu Quoc Island might be a better bet.