Nha Trang, located on Vietnam’s south central coast, is the most popular destination for scuba diving in the Southeast Asian country. With 350 species of corals, a nearby marine park, clear water and calm currents, this Vietnamese city offers some of the cheapest PADI courses in the world. It also represents the perfect opportunity to gain experience in a stress-free atmosphere.
The city’s tropical climate creates ideal diving conditions for most of the year. The average air temperature ranges from 75°F to 84°F (24° C to 29° C) while the average water temperature is 79 - 84°F (26 - 29°C). Diving season (dry season) lasts from January to August with the best conditions occurring from April to August. The wet season (September to January) brings sediment down from the mountains making visibility undesirable.
Because of Nha Trang’s location on the Southeast Asian travelers’ trail, this stop has become increasingly popular with divers. Between Nha Trang Bay, Whale Island and Hon Mun Marine Park, divers have plenty of sites to choose from. Accommodation is also plentiful. A large number of hotels are budget-friendly. However, a wide range of mid-budget to high-end hotels is also available.
When high season and diving season overlap (January to March), demand for reefs can be high. Some dive shops offer flexible dive scheduling, opting to move to a different site if other boats appear at the planned site. However, a better bet is to arrange a trip to Nha Trang from April to August when diving is at its best and demand is low. During this time, discounts are available on already low diving and accommodation rates.
In addition to being the most popular dive destination, Nha Trang is also Vietnam’s most popular seaside resort town. As such, it offers visitors plenty to keep busy.
Activities include wandering around the National Oceanic Museum of Vietnam, acting like a kid at Vinpearl Land and hiking to one of the region’s famous waterfalls. Sailing, surfing and cooking classes are sure to keep you busy. Of course, relaxing between dives on one of the beautiful beaches is a good option, too.
Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh; SGN) is well served by flights originating in North America, Australia and Europe. Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi is an alternative entry point. However, Nha Trang is significantly further from Hanoi than from Ho Chi Minh City.
Once you have arrived in Vietnam, local flights are available via Jetstar Pacific and Vietnam Airlines into Nha Trang Airport. Trains and buses also travel between Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang.