The Cheapest or Free Things to Do in Nha Trang

I have been to Vietnam before but that was only a short trip to Hanoi for the Ha Long Bay cruise. This time around, I traveled from the south (Saigon) to the central region of the country, with a short stop in Nha Trang.

The Cheapest or Free Things to do in Nha Trang

As a budget traveler I always look for free or cheap attractions to visit whenever I travel. As Nha Trang was not in my initial itinerary (I wanted to go to Hoi An directly, but the approximately 16 hour trip deterred me), I had no clear plans on what I would do when I arrived. As soon as I settled in the hostel, I quickly looked for the cheapest or free things to do in the city, here's what I discovered:


Most visitors go to Nha Trang for the beach. The beach is VERY near the city, making it a convenient destination for people who want to soak up some sun, get a tan, and take a dip during hot days. Nha Trang is a well-known resort-town and the city did not disappoint in that regard. Although not fine, white sand like those in areas of Southern Thailand or the beaches back home, the beach in Nha Trang is golden in hue and stretches for kilometers.

The area is more developed than what I expected. There were plenty of resorts and restaurants a few meters from the beach. I didn't do any of the island hopping tours because I could do those back home and I just did those back in Thailand during this trip. I just walked along the beach and generally bummed around.


As a huge fan of ancient ruins, I had to stop by the Cham Ponagar Towers in Nha Trang. The towers were only a few minutes from the city. 

The brick towers were constructed sometime between the 7th to 12th century in honor of Yang Ino Po Ngar, mother of the kingdom, during the time of Cham rule.

Although not as impressive as some of the ruins I've been to in Southeast Asia, I still enjoyed wandering around the temple complex. There were devout Buddhists offering incense inside the temples, showing that these temples are still in use despite their ancient origin.

*There is an entrance fee of VND22,000 to enter the Ponagar Towers in Nha Trang. I took the bus that passes by the Ponagar Towers from the city, it only cost me VND6,000 one way.

Long Son Pagoda

Long Son Pagoda was another free attraction that is worth visiting while you are in the city or looking for alternative things to do after exhausting all of the water activities that the city has to offer.

The pagoda was constructed in 1963 to honor the nuns and monks who died during the protests against the Diem government. 

There weren't a lot of tourists in the pagoda when I visited. It was the perfect time to soak in nature and some culture. As I walked around the pagoda grounds there was a serene and tranquil atmosphere.

Like all pagodas and temples, you will see all sorts of Buddhist relics. There is a giant statue of Buddha at the top of the pagoda that you have already seen from below as you enter the pagoda premises.

I was a bit turned off by the food and souvenir stalls near the statue of Buddha, it ruined the peaceful and serene atmosphere of the pagoda.

*There is no admission fee for this attraction.

Nha Trang Cathedral 

Nha Trang is one of the few provinces in Southeast Asia (aside from the Philippines) that has a large population of Catholics. The Nha Trang Cathedral is a vestige of French colonial influence in the region.

There are other cheap and free attractions in Nha Trang for those willing to explore the province. The best and possibly the cheapest way to travel around the province is on a motorcycle (I didn't know how to ride a motorcycle, which sucks). I was only able to visit attractions near the city.

How to Get to Nha Trang

Sleeper bus that travels from province to province within Vietnam

Getting to Nha Trang is easy you have three options by private vehicle, train or bus. I booked an open bus ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An with Nha Trang in between. My open bus ticket costs VND440,000 one way. Make sure to get on a bus that has its own toilet, it is quite annoying to keep getting out of the bus just to relieve yourself.

I was quite surprised at how developed Nha Trang was as a resort town. Visitors have a variety of hotels, resorts, bars, and restaurants to choose from during their stay. I was also surprised by the Russian influence in the province. I saw plenty of signs in Russian, hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies that catered to Russians. It seems that there are a lot of Russians investing in this part of Vietnam. In fact, I was turned away by a travel agency because the receptionist told me that they only catered to Russians.

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One Comment

  1. Great post! I also visit Nha Trang last month. It's beautiful with beaches, temples, people and food. The sleeping bus was one of the most interesting things we did. We catch Sinhcafe bus from Hoi An to Nha Trang, price was 280,000 vnd. Here are some free activities you guys would love to do :)

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