South Central Coast

Quang Ngai - Around Quang Ngai - Sa Huynh - Quy Nhon - Around Quy Nhon - Song Cau - Tuy Hoa - Beaches North Of Nha Trang - Nha Trang - Around Nha Trang - Phan Rang Thap Cham - Ninh Chu Beach - Ca Na - Vinh Hao - Mui Ne Beach - Phan Thiet - Ta Cu Mountain


Island tours are a big part of the Nha Trang experience. For details on boat tours and charters see p287.
The beauty of Nha Trang's largest and closest offshore island is now marred on the city side by a huge Hollywood-style sign advertising Vinpearl. Complex International - a new compound of restaurants, nightclubs, shops, kids' rides, hotels and an amphitheatre. The wealthy Ukrainian-Vietnamese owners have now started work on a cable car stretching 3 kilometres from Vinpearl to the mainland.
All the tourist literature touts Hon Mieu (also called Tri Nguyen Island) as the site of an outdoor aquarium (Ho Ca Tri Nguyen). In fact, the aquarium is an important fish-breeding farm, where over 40 species offish, crustacean and other marine creatures are raised in three separate compartments. There is also a cafe built on stills over the water. Ask around for canoe rentals. The main village on Hon Mieu is Tri Nguyen. Bai Soai is a gravel beach on the far side of Hon Mieu from Cau Da. There are a few rustic bungalows (US$6) on the island. Most people will take some sort of boat tour booked through a hotel, cafe or Khanh Hoa Tourist. Impoverished and less-hurried travellers might catch one of the regular ferries that go to Tri Nguyen village from Cau Da dock.
Hon Mun is situated just southeast of Bamboo Island and is well known for its snorkelling;
Sandwiched neatly between Ebony Island am Hon Tam is tiny Hon Mot; it's another great place for snorkelling.
Also known as Salangane Island, this is thi name applied to (wo lump-shaped island visible from Nha Trang Beach. These and other islands off Khanh Hoa province are thi source of Vietnam's finest swiftlet (salangane nests (see opposite). There Is a small, seclude beach here. The 17 km trip out to the island takes three to four hours by small boat from Nha Trang.
The island is named after its large contingent of resident monkeys and has become a big hit with tourists. Most of the monkeys hav grown quite accustomed to receiving foci handouts, providing ample photo oppor -tunities. However, these are wild animal and should be treated as such. Bear in mini that monkey bites are a fairly reliable source of rabies. Aside from being unwilling to participate in a cuddle, the monkeys are materialistic They'll grab the sunglasses off your face or snatch a pen from your shirt pocket and run off. So far, we haven't heard of monkeys slitting open travellers' handbags with a razor blade, but keep a close eye (and hand) on your possessions. A word of warning: though the island it self can make for a fun visit, there's also bear-and-monkey show that you may wan co avoid. Travellers have reported seeing the animals beaten by their trainers during per formances. If you're not part of a tour, head 15kn north of Nha Trang on Hwy 1A to Lore Phu Tourist (Tell: 839 436; Vinh Luong), easily spot ted by the huge colourful dragons forming the entrance, not far from a pagoda. Boat will ferry you to the island for 50,000d (15 minutes). Other destinations reached from here include Hoa Lan Springs on Hon He (40,000d, 45 minutes) and Hon Thi (20,000d, 20 minutes),
Thanh Citadel
This citadel dates from the 17th-century Trinh dynasty. It was rebuilt by Prince Nguyen Anh (later Emperor Gia Long) in 1793 during his successful offensive against the lay Son Rebels. Only a few sections of the walls and gates are extant. Thanh Citadel is 11km west of Nha Trang near Dien Khanh town.
Ba Ho Falls
The three waterfalls -and pools at Ba Ho Falls (Suoi Ba Ho) are in a forested area about 20km north of Nha Trang and about 2km west of Phu Huu village. Turn off Hwy lAjust north of Quyen restaurant.
Suoi Tien (Fairy Spring)
The enchanting little spring seems to pop out of nowhere. Like a small oasis, the Fairy Spring is decorated with its own natural garden of tropical vegetation and smooth boulders. You'll need to rent a motorbike or car to reach the spring- Drive south on Hwy 1 A for 27km to Suoi Cat, turning right (west) at the blue and white 'Huong Lo 39' sign. After 5km you'll see a sign directing you to the spring.
Cam Ranh Harbour
The gorgeous natural harbour of Cam Ranh Bay is 35km south of Nha Trang and 56km north of Phan Rang. With the opening of the excellent new airport road, beautiful Bai Dai (Long Beach), forming the northern head of the harbour, has become much more accessible. Largely unspoilt, the government has been encouraging development - although at the time of research the one major completed resort had long been languishing unopened in search of a buyer. Driving the beach road, reminders of the American War come in the form of abandoned tanks peering out of the sand. The military still controls access to much of this area but are starting to work with tourist operators. Nha Trang's Mana Mana Beach Club has negotiated access to some of the best surf breaks in Vietnam. To get here you can take the airport shuttle bus. although you'll need to time your visit around flight times. A one-way journey in a taxi will cost about 150,000d, but you'll be able to negotiate something considerably cheaper, including waiting time, with a motorcycle driver.