Mountains & Sea: From Hon Ba to the Beaches of Nha Trang

An itinerary complete with nature reserves and incredible sea views, without forgetting local culinary traditions.

Duration: a day trip from morning to evening

Itinerary: a circular route from Nha Trang and back, about 130 kilometres

Equipment: swimsuit, sunscreen, sweatshirt, waterproof jacket and everything you need to enjoy the beach

The beaches of Nah Trang are warm and welcoming, and the town is alive and vibrant. Nevertheless, Viet Nam is known to be rich in natural beauty, which means you can embark on a day trip from the sea to the mountains searching for some fresh air and breath-taking sceneries. Ride your Vespa, but not before having a yummy breakfast at a little place called Alpaca Homestyle Cafe – while a bit touristy, they have great coffee and large portions of food.

With a fair amount of sunscreen on your shoulders (and a sweatshirt in the backpack, just in case) head towards the Hon Ba Natural Reserve, a true treasure of flora and fauna. This protected area of almost 9,000 acres hosts a large variety of species (592 types of plants and 255 different animals), including 100 rare species listed in the Red Book of endangered species. Within this large natural park, you can take long walk or simply seek out the most fascinating waterfalls. Looking for refreshment? Stop occasionally to find the fresh, clear waters of the river.

An unmissable stop, after having gone through a sea of low clouds that usually cover the area, is the House-Museum of Dr. Yersin (Alexandre Yersin's Monument in Hon Ba), a French physician who, in between the 19th and 20th centuries, paved the way to the top of the mountain and stopped here to study the medicinal properties of curious plants in the area. Climb to the summit, where the temperature ranges around 20 degrees Celsius. But especially where the landscape changes completely. Use your smartphone or camera and start clicking.

Once you’re satisfied with all the photos, head back to your Vespa and go towards the sea – it will be time for lunch. Stop at the Nha Hang Suoi Nguon, in Bac Ha for a break based on delicious grilled chicken. And then get back on the saddle to continue toward some of the most popular waterfalls in the area. The complex of the Ba Ho Waterfalls consists of three natural waterfalls that end in a crystal-clear lake, surrounded by a dense rain forest. They are well indicated, but if you were to lose your way, they are now under the name of Suoi Ba Ho in Vietnamese (meaning flow of three pools). The admission price to the falls is 20,000Vnd per person, about 75 cents in Euro. Leave the Vespa in the parking lot, and with a fair amount of water in the backpack, start walking. The route is not very long, (approximately 30 minutes in total), but it is essential to have the right shoes and a pinch of willingness to work hard.

It will then be time to return to the city; Nha Trang is famous all over Viet Nam for being a city whose nightlife doesn’t disappoint, but first, relax and enjoy an alcohol-free cocktail at the beach after the long day on the saddle. The most popular beach in the area is without any doubt Tran Phu Beach, which, in addition to the white sand and crystal-clear waters also has Tran Phu Street, dedicated to hospitality along which you can find all types of accommodation, from luxury resorts to hostels. It is always very busy, therefore aim for Nhu Tien Beach, a wide expanse of white sand, palm trees, blue waters and green mountains all around. To end the evening, the city offers a rich array of chic rooftop bars; Leave them for after dinner, because a table at 69 Bach Dang Street will await you, to enjoy a typical duck hot pot, accompanied by a small glass of cool beer. The right conclusion to a simply magical day.