Planning your next short trip? Vietnam is one of the closest and most easily accessible options to hop to from Hong Kong. And with its beautiful beaches, friendly people and luxury resorts, Nha Trang may just be the perfect destination for an easy weekend away. Tempted? Read on to see where to stay, what to do, and (of course!) what to eat…
When to go:
Nha Trang has warm weather almost all year around, though the rainy season falls between September to October, so January to August is the most recommended time to visit, with the hottest months being July and August.
Where to stay:
If your main aim is to soak up some sun and enjoying a luxurious beach setting, don’t look any further than Evason Ana Mandara – recommended to us by our friends at The Luxe Nomad. As the only beachfront resort in Nha Trang, the hotel has direct access to a quiet, private beach – making it that much easier to get the perfect sunset snap.
Featuring 74 semi-detached garden villas, Ana Mandara gives you a taste of traditional Vietnam, all set in peaceful luxury, only a few steps away from the bustling streets of Nha Trang. Along with two pools (one being a glorious infinity pool, looking out onto the idyllic beach), the resort also boasts a selection of restaurants and bars, along with the acclaimed Six Senses Spa.
Tranquil setting and amenities aside, the staff at the hotel really make the stay extra special. With a range of activities, excursions, spa packages and tours available, the friendly and informative staff are always there to ensure that you get the most from your stay with them, and from your time in Nha Trang. Eco-warriors will also feel right at home here, as the Ana Mandara strives for sustainability, through both environmental and social responsibility, so you won’t be finding any plastic straws at this resort…
What to do:
Relax on the Beach
First and foremost, Nha Trang’s beach is beautiful. Covering 6km of uninterrupted coastline, blue waters and golden sand, it’s hard to beat sitting on your very own private beach, munching on watermelon and soaking up some vitamin “sea.” If the pool is more your thing, the infinity pool at the Ana Mandara still has the stunning views of the beach and the sea – for the best of both worlds.
Take a Cooking class
The best way to get a feel for new places is, of course, through your stomach. So, after discovering some new favourite dishes, why not try your hand at a local cooking class and take the food home with you? Lanterns comes recommended on Trip Advisor, or the class at Ana Mandara is a great option. Taught by the patient and knowledgeable Chef Thuy the class is short but sweet, with the chance to enjoy the fruits of your labour for lunch afterwards.
Explore the Night market
Located just along the road from the beach you can find a bustling night market which is open daily from 4:30pm. Although more geared towards the tourist trade, it’s still worth a walk through in the early evening, especially if you’re in the market from souvenirs (or a rain poncho if you’re visiting in the rainy season!).
Wake Up for an Early Morning Market Tour
Get a taste for local life by exploring Nha Trang before sunrise. Opening at 4am every morning, Dam Market sells everything from meat and seafood, to fresh fruit and veg, flowers and spices. Ana Mandara offers an excursion to check out both Dam Market, and the nearby Xom Moi Market, with the visit also including a local breakfast of Pho and traditional Vietnamese coffee. It’s worth the early morning start, trust us.
Indulge in the Six Senses Spa
Looking to relax and revitalise on your trip? There are multiple spas around Nha Trang, but the Six Senses Spa has a range of specialty treatments available, together with an extensive menu of traditional therapies. From detox programmes and traditional massages, to yoga classes and couple’s treatments, the Six Senses Spa menu will be sure to have something to tempt you, all quietly contained in the grounds of the Ana Mandara. We tried out the Aerial Yoga class and under the patient guidance of the instructor, actually managed to do a few difficult looking poses – albeit a little less gracefully than the instructor…
Diving and Snorkelling
Nha Trang is also well-known as a great diving spot, so whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro, make a little time to explore the waters here. As a beach town, there are plenty of dive shops to choose from, but if staying at the Ana Mandara the experts here can help you out. Along with having a PADI authorised resort dive centre, the hotel also offers snorkelling trips to the nearby Mun Island. Home to over 250 types of stunning hard and soft corals and colourful exotic marine life, it’s not to be missed!
Yep, Nha Trang even has its very own amusement park. Located on Hon Tre Island, Vinpearl Land is accessed from the mainland via the world’s longest over sea cable car, complete with amazing views of the sea and surrounding area. Once on the island, the park consists of a few hotels, a water park and various other rides, shows and activities. Although geared a little more towards kids, it’s a fun place to visit if you have a spare day in Nha Trang, and the water park is the perfect place to cool off when the sun is at its hottest.
What to eat:
No matter where you’re staying, in Vietnam you’re going to want to get your hands on some authentic Vietnamese grub. Whether that means an early morning Pho and traditional coffee, a street side Banh Mi, or the local dish, Nem Ninh Hoa (grilled fermented pork neck), you’re sure to be able to find what you’re looking for in Nha Trang.
Both of the restaurants at the Ana Mandara serve up delicious local and international delights, using fresh and seasonal produce. The Ana Beach House is set right on the beachfront, perfect for a romantic meal. Or the Pavilion Restaurant has nightly specials, including a Vietnamese Street Food Market every Friday evening. Featuring a host of Vietnamese dishes, the market celebrates traditional cooking, with seafood, famous beef and pork dishes, and live cooking stations.
Located along the beachfront, you will also find plenty of other dining options. With casual beach bars, dinner spots and clubs, there’s something for everyone. If you’re in the mood for local seafood, you can also always head further afield and north of the river in Nha Trang to sample some of the freshest around. There are plenty of options, so the safest bet is to pitch up at a busy restaurant and see what’s on offer that day for your seafood fix.