Nha Trang is the first major city you'll find heading north up the coast from Ho Chi Minh City. Home to some of Vietnam's best beaches and dive sites, the coastal city is a magnet for those seeking sunshine and underwater adventure. The highlands loom off to the west and thus the beachside destination is backdropped by green-clad mountains, while the roads to north and south harbor some of the most beautiful coastline in Southeast Asia. Culture and history aren't as obvious here as they are in some other locations, for Nha Trang is eager to embrace both the present and the future. A destination for Russian vacationers, the main tourist area around Tran Quang Khai street features menus and signs in Russian as well as Vietnamese and English. The south side of Tran Phu Street, running along the beach, is where most of the action is to be found. For something more authentic, head north over the Tran Phu bridge (where you'll have wonderful views of the Cai River), toward the less tourist-oriented part of town. For more of a scene, head west of the beach toward Tan Lap ward around Bach Dang Street and enjoy great food, coffee, and an emerging creative scene. South of the city towards Cam Ranh airport, the once flawless Bai Dai Beach is undergoing some development, and while a lot of it is being taken up by glamorous resorts, some of the old pristine charm does remain. Major sites can be seen in a single day, but plan to tack on another day or two for island-hopping, scuba diving, or a visit to neighboring waterfalls and villages.
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