Nha Trang

Nha Trang is a coastal city and capital of Khánh Hòa province, on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is bounded on the North by Ninh Hoà district, on the East by the South China Sea, on the South by Cam Ranh town and on the West by Diên Khánh district. The city has about 300,000 inhabitants, a number which is projected to increase to between 500,000 and 600,000 inhabitants by 2020 according to an estimation of Nha Trang Administrative Board Statistics.

Nha Trang is well known for its pristine beaches and excellent scuba diving and is fast becoming a popular destination for international tourists, attracting large numbers of backpackers as well as more affluent travelers on the Southeast Asia circuit. It is already very popular with Vietnamese tourists. Nha Trang Bay is widely considered as amongst the world’s most beautiful bays. Tourists are welcome to participate in the Sea Festival, held biennially. Nha Trang was the site of the Miss Universe 2008 Pageant on July 14, 2008 and it will also host Miss Earth 2010.

Historically, the city was known as Kauthara under the Champa. The city is still home to the famous Po Nagar Tower built by the Champa. Being a coastal city, Nha Trang is a center for marine science based at the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute. The Hon Mun marine protected area is one of four first marine protected areas in the world admitted by the IUCN.

Commercial flights to Nha Trang no longer use the city’s municipal airport, but fly to the larger Cam Ranh International Airport, a former U.S. Air Force Base (built during the Vietnam War) located approximately 35 km south of Nha Trang .

The French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin (who discovered the Yersinia pestis bacterium) identified himself with Nha Trang’s life for 50 years (affectionately known as Ông Năm). He established the Indochina Pasteur Institute in Asia (now known as the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute) devoted to research on the bubonic plague. Yersin died in Nha Trang on March 1, 1943. A street in the city is named after him, there is a shrine located next to his tomb, and his house has been converted into the Yersin Museum.