March 9, 2013

Vietnam's Stunning Jewel, Nha Trang


Dear Travel Junkies:
Second to Da Nang, Nha Trang is Vietnam's well-known jewel for its beautiful white sandy beaches, amusement parks, mud baths, and the historic Po Ngar temple complex. Nha Trang is highly visited by tourists and foreigners where some have settled in the beautiful town to operate their own restaurants and hotels. Adventurous foodies can sample all kinds of authentic foods from Spanish and Indian cuisine to Vietnamese dishes like bun cha ca, a soup made from sailfish and jellyfish. 

Nha Trang's skyline

If you remember back in 2008, the 57th Miss Universe pageant was held at the Crown Convention Center in the Diamond Bay Resort in Nha Trang where Lady Gaga performed her hit single "Just Dance" for the first time on television.  Unfortunately, Miss Vietnam was over-throned by Miss Venezuela. If you'd like to stay where the pageant contestants stayed at, it will cost you as low as ~$124 USD/night for the Garden Superior to ~$304 USD/night for the exclusive Diamond Jacuzzi Bungalow. I am definitely reserving this Diamond Jacuzzi Bungalow the next time I visit. 

Diamond Bay Resort

If that's not within your budget than there is a Western resort town that encompasses several blocks of hotels, tourist shops, bars, and international restaurants by the coastline. Or stay with a local Vietnamese owned hotel at a cost of under $40 USD/night; they are quite clean and decent. 

Along the coastline in the Western resort town

Things to do:
Vinpearl Land is Vietnam's Disneyland, well a mini version. The island includes various fun activities for all ages like fun-fair rides, arcade games, a water park, a white sandy beach, water shows, and an Underwater World Aquarium. The only way to get in and get out is via the world's longest over-the-sea cable car. The leading attraction is the water park with more than 20 slides and the biggest wave pool in Southeast Asia. 


Boarding the cable cars to Vinpearl Land
The ride is a lot more nicer and romantic in the evening
 Getting around Vinpearl Land







Long Son Pagoda  (Chùa Long Sơn in Vietnamese) is a Buddhist temple in Nha Trang.


Long Son Pagoda
Buddha of Long Son
Reclining statue in the Long Son Pagoda 


Nha Trang Cathedral  is a Roman Catholic church that rests atop a small hill, above the city's busiest roundabouts and a kilometre away from the beach. This French Gothic style church is decorated with stained glass windows and Vietnamese touch of colours over the statues. It is the oldest building in Nha Trang primarily constructed of steel reinforced concrete making it a historical monument today. 

 Nha Trang Cathedral


Po Nagar  is a gorgeous Cham temple built from recycled bricks in the 12th century situated on the hills of Cu Lao Mountain. It consists of three levels: the north, the central and the south tower. 

Po Nagar temple complex

Hon Chong Promontory is a shore of stone boulders of all sizes stacked on top of one another offering a view of the mountainous coastline north of Nha Trang.  On one of the boulders, there is a giant hand print which I think is really cool. There is a large boulder stuck between two enormous rocks which you can't miss and don't forget your camera for this photo opportunity. 


Hon Chong Promontory

Lastly, dip your body into the hot muddy water at Thap Ba Hot Spring Center for the fun experience and relaxation. You can sit in a wooden tub full of hot thermal mud to yourself or join a group of friends in a larger pool. They also have private mineral baths and a large outdoor heated swimming pool with thermal waterfalls. 

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