Best beach swimming in Nha Trang - review by Rusty Compass
Nha Trang | see and do guide

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Best beach swimming in Nha Trang

| 25 Nov 2014
Best beach swimming in Nha Trang
North and south of Nha Trang
Our rating
25 Nov 2014

Nha Trang’s main beach is stunningly beautiful. Unfortunately, it’s grubby for three or four months a year as the wet season discharge from the nearby Cai River deposits a brown stain along the shore.

Here are some recommendations for reliable, clean ocean swimming around Nha Trang.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

The received wisdom in the tourism industry is that only a small percentage of beach resort tourists actually swim at the beach. Most travellers it seems prefer the resort pool.

If true, I'm in the minority.

For me, the only point in being by the beach is to get into the surf. I love ocean swimming.

If you're travelling to Nha Trang expecting to get some surfing in (board riding that is), think again. Except during typhoon season, the water in the bay is blissfully calm. Even the unprotected beaches to the north and south rarely offer any surf.

This guide is focused on finding a reliably clean swim in the area around Nha Trang. If you're happy with the resort pool, you won't find it terrible useful - except that the quest for a clean beach will also avail you of some very nice coastal views, simple streetside seafood eateries and cycling options.

Nha Trang's a big city and its 500,000 people naturally leave their mark on the water quality along the beach. Sometimes it looks perfect. Other times its brown and not very enticing.

Some of the brown matter is naturally occurring sediment from the river. But there are less naturally occurring fellow travellers in that flow too.

Even when the beach looks clean, you can still get a nasty shock if you like big ocean swims or you like to immerse yourself when taking a dip.

So if you’ve come all this way for some quality beach time and you expect reliably clean water, what to do?

The expensive resorts away from Nha Trang City, like Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, An Lam Ninh Van Bay, Mia Resort or Amiana, have clean beaches. But those clean beaches don’t come cheap.

If you’re staying downtown in Nha Trang and looking for some pristine ocean, there are a few options that aren’t bad either.

Boat trip

Most travellers to Nha Trang will take a trip out to the islands for snorkelling, diving or swimming. You can join groups that leave daily or charter a boat yourself.

The water offshore is much cleaner so you can expect a pleasant and surprise free dip - apart from the usual ocean risks of course.

Otherwise, head north or south. The closest reliably clean ocean is only a few kms north of town.

There's more on boat trips in our see and do listing.

Swimming north of Nha Trang

The easiest access to a reliably clean swim is around 5kms north of Nha Trang. Jump on a bicycle for an easy scenic ride to a bunch of resto-bars that are set up for swimmers with deckchairs, towels, showers and beach sports. There’s no beach here - you’ll be jumping off a deck over rocks into the deep ocean but these are very picturesque spots and the water is crystal clear.

These places aren’t recommended if you can’t swim. The water’s deep.

The restaurants are mainly Russian owned and get busy during Russian high-season which runs from October to February.

If you want to push on further, Doc Let beach, around 50kms from Nha Trang is beautiful too. It’s a hilly cycle on some very busy stretches of Highway 1 but is easily covered on a motorbike or by car.

The simple Doc Let beach resort is about to be redeveloped so there might be more activity on the beach in 2015.

If you’re looking for even more exploration, head further north along Highway 1 to Dai Lanh beach - 87kms north of Nha Trang. The southern end of the beach is pristine while the northern end is home to a sizeable fishing community. It’s a good stop for a dip and some local seafood. There are plenty of picturesque stops along the way as well.

The beaches south of Nha Trang

There are many handsome stretches of sand between Nha Trang and the former US naval base of Cam Ranh Bay to the south. It’s a beautiful expanse of coastline to explore too.

The most popular beach south of Nha Trang is Bai Dai or Long Beach.

Bai Dai is 21kms away and the water’s dependably cleaner than Nha Trang’s main beach. Bai Dai is popular with local tourists and can get busy during summer holidays and on weekends.

The upside is that you can spread out on a deckchair for the day, enjoy a local seafood feast and a few beers in between swims.

A deserted beach this is not - and quite a bit of the refuse from the restaurants finds its way on to the beach. Be careful.

There are also some deserted stretches along this coast too. You may well be better off exploring random stretches of coast as you head south - providing you can take care of yourself on a deserted beach.

Travel brief

The closest clean beaches north of Nha Trang are easily accessed by bicycle, motorbike or taxi. Unless you’re a very energetic cyclist, the more distant spots like Doc Let are best accessed by car, taxi or motorcycle taxi.

Many of these recommended spots have no life guards and the water can be deep. You should be a competent swimmer if you head to these remote swimming spots.

The resort style restaurants with swimming facilities are on Pham Van Dong St and start around 5kms north of the city.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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