Getting There

By Plane -- Nha Trang is 1,350km (839 miles) from Hanoi and 450km (280 miles) from Saigon. Vietnam Airlines makes daily connections with Vietnam's urban centers and nearby Dalat. The Vietnam Airlines Office in Nha Trang is at 91 Nguyen Thien Thuat St. (tel. 058/352-6768); storefront travel agents can make any reservations for a small fee. The Nha Trang airport, once in the center of town, has traded places with a larger military facility, is now called Cam Ranh Airport, and is some 35km (22 miles) south of town. The 30-minute ride costs 170,000 VND for a taxi, 200,000 VND for a minivan/SUV taxi. Buses will drop you off at your hotel for 35,000 VND. The larger resorts offer more affordable group connections or limousine service, and some include free transfers.

By Train -- Nha Trang is a stop on the Reunification Express and is 12 hours from Ho Chi Minh City on a soft sleeper for 340,000 VND, and 20 hours to Hanoi for 954,000 VND. Buy your ticket at least 1 day in advance at the Nha Trang train station, 17 Thai Nguyen St. (tel. 058/382-2113), or from any travel agent. The overnight connection with Ho Chi Minh City is the most convenient route.

By Car -- If you choose to drive from Hoi An to Nha Trang, it's a 10-hour trip and will cost you about $120 by car.

By Bus -- "Open tour" buses connect you with Hoi An (530km/329 miles; 10 hr.; every day at 7am or 7pm) or Ho Chi Minh City (450km/280 miles; 8 hr.; every day at 7:30am and 8pm) for about $8 (less if you book multiple trips with the same company). The overnight schedules to Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An are long and tiring rides, but a good option if you're short on time and don't want to waste your precious daylight hours looking out the window of a tour coach. Daytime routes connect to both towns as well. Open tour buses also connect with Dalat (214km/133 miles; 6 hr.; every day at 7am) and the beaches at Mui Ne (6 hr.; every day at 7am).

The local bus station is the Lien Tinh Bus Station at 23/10 Street, about a 16,000 VND taxi or 10,000 VND motorbike taxi ride from the town center. Buses connect with all points north and south, as well as to towns in the interior Central Highlands (closest is Ban Ma Thuot).

Getting Around

The main street in Nha Trang, Tran Phu, runs along a 4km (2 1/2-mile) beach lined with the myriad minihotels and beach attractions that make up the town center. Biet Thu Street runs perpendicular to Tran Phu and is where you'll find lots of smaller restaurants and budget tour operators, as well as the city's most affordable accommodations. Taxis congregate around the major hotels; most meters start at 15,000 VND for the first 2km (1 1/4 miles), 10,000 VND for each additional kilometer. Mai Linh is a reputable taxi company (tel. 058/381-7817). Renting a bike from your hotel for $1 to $2 a day is a good option, as are cyclos, which you can rent for $3 per hour from your hotel. A cyclo across town will cost about 10,000 VND. In addition, motorbike taxis cost 20,000 VND per hour. All of these prices come with only a bit of friendly bargaining. Note the glut of empty cyclos, and keep walking until you get a reasonable price (and then, as I always do, give a large tip).

Visitor Information & Tours

All hotels in Nha Trang can book city tours, day-boat trips, or onward travel to your next destination. One-day city or countryside tours are worth it, as are the town's popular 1-day boat trips.

City tours can be booked anywhere, at the budget "open tour" companies listed below or at any hotel front desk. One-day boat tours can be booked just about anywhere from hotels to Internet shops. The cost is $6.

For onward tours to the Central Highlands area, trips that connect you from Nha Trang to Ban Me Thuot, and either on to Dalat or north to Kontum, contact the friendly folks at Highlands Tour (54G Nguyen Thien Thuat St.; tel. 058/352-4045; daily 7am-9:30pm; free Internet in an air-conditioned room in the back). These guys help consolidate groups or individuals with similar goals and craft the most economical trip possible. This option is preferable to lighting out to the Central Highlands by local bus.

For bus tickets and connections to Dalat, contact any of the following tourist cafe branches. Sinh Café III is the best of the lot, with offices in every town in Vietnam. Find it in Nha Trang at 10 Biet Thu St. (tel. 058/352-1981). Sinh's competition in town comes from TM Brother's Café, at 34 Nguyen Thien Thuat St. (tel. 058/352-3556), and An Phu Tourist, 1/24 Tran Quang Khai St. (tel. 058/352-4471); both companies have offices in points south and in Ho Chi Minh City.

Crime in Nha Trang -- With droves of tourists wandering about, Nha Trang is notorious for petty crime, particularly the motorbike "snatch and run." Perps cruise the beach and grab bags from the unsuspecting, so be careful on the road, whether walking or in a cyclo. Go by taxi at night. Also, be aware on the beach because, unless you're at a private resort, you'll be hassled by sellers all day; say no, keep an eye on valuables, and leave what you can in a hotel safe.

Fast Facts

Banks & Currency Exchange -- Vietcombank's local branch is located at 17 Quang Trung St. (tel. 058/382-5120). Hours are 7:30 to 11am and 1:30 to 4pm. It offers the usual currency and traveler's check exchange and credit card cash-withdrawal services. Along Biet Thu, some of the tour operators will cash traveler's checks and change money -- rates are the same as at the bank (except for a small service fee), and they're open longer hours.

Internet & E-Mail -- Biet Thu has a cluster of Internet cafes for between 200 VND and 300 VND (a couple cents) per minute.

Post Office & Mail -- The main branch is at 4 Le Loi St. (tel. 058/382-1271). Hours are 6:30am to 10pm Monday to Saturday. DHL express mail services and Internet access are available. There is another branch at 50 Le Thanh Ton.

Telephone -- The city code for Nha Trang is 058.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.