Stretching from the Dai Lãnh Commune to Cam Ranh Bay, the Khánh Hòa Province has a diversified landscape that includes lagoons, river mouths, islands, islets, bays, and mountains. One of 8 provinces in Vietnam’s South Central Coast Region, the Khánh Hòa Province is one of the most popular destinations in the area because of Nha Trang and Cam Ranh Bay.
Considered to be one of the 10 major tourist spots in Vietnam, national and international tourism are major industries in the province. Local in Khánh Hòa also rely heavily on agriculture, forestry, and fishing.
Southern Vietnam Coastal Province
Covering an area of 5,197 sq km (2,007 sq mi), the Khánh Hòa Province is part of Vietnam’s South Central Coast Region. The province is bordered by the South China Sea and 4 additional Vietnamese provinces. There are also more than 200 islands in the province in addition to a coastline that stretches for over 385 km (239 mi).
Furthermore, the Khánh Hòa Province has been divided into 6 districts, 1 district-level town, and 2 provincial cities. One of the provincial cities, Nha Trang, is the capital of Khánh Hòa. Integrated into Southern Vietnam, many travelers will visit the Khánh Hòa Province from Ho Chi Minh City.
Also known as Saigon, HCMC is 433 km (269 mi) to the southwest of Khánh Hòa. Tourists looking to go between the two can drive, fly, or use public transportation to get to their destination within the province. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is about 1,297 km (806 mi) away. Most people traveling from that far north will fly to the capital of Khánh Hòa, Nha Trang.
Before Khánh Hòa became a province, the area was ruled by the Champa Kingdom. Eventually, the kingdom fell when it was annexed by the Vietnamese. In 1653, a Nguyên lord ruled over two districts called Thái Khang and Diên Ninh. These two districts were renamed Phù Diên Khánh and Phù Ninh Hòa in 1832. Later, these two districts would be combined to become modern-day Khánh Hòa.
As a part of Southern Vietnam, the Khánh Hòa Province also fell under French colonial and US Military rule. More significantly, Khánh Hòa became a central point for domestic and foreign military forces during the Vietnam War. After the war and the Fall of Saigon, the Khánh Hòa Province became what it is today with Nha Trang updated to city and capital status.
In modern-day Khánh Hòa, pieces of history remain from both the Cham Kingdom and the military. Visitors in the province can take tours of Cham Towers to see the ancient architecture or visit parts of the old bases. However, some of Vietnam’s military is still active in the area and access to those sites would be restricted.
Museums in the area are also a great place to learn more about the history of both Khánh Hòa and greater Vietnam.
- Khánh Hòa has multiple institutions, which makes it one of the biggest educational centers in the country
- Khánh Hòa is the most urbanized province in Vietnam’s South Central Coast Region
- One of Vietnam’s busiest airports, Cam Ranh International Airport, is in the Khánh Hòa Province
Khánh Hòa’s provincial capital is the city of Nha Trang, which is located on the coast. Derived from the Cham language, Nha Trang means the “Reed River, which is what the Cham people called the Cai River. The city has become a mega destination for tourists because of its remarkable beaches, Cham ancient sites, and luxury resorts.
Though, before the city became the modern destination that it is today, it was once deserted. Established by the ancient Cham Kingdom, Nha Trang was once dominated by wild animals and jungle. The development of the area began during the early 20 century, and it continues, even today.
Militaries had bases in the city, but in 1975 Nha Trang ultimately fell to the Viet Cong. Under the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nha Trang expanded and became the capital of the province. Nowadays, Nha Trang is a bustling center for tourism in the Khánh Hòa Province.
Well-known and liked amongst international travelers, activities in the city include visiting waterfalls, beaches, Cham towers, museums, pagoda, Monkey Island, and hot springs. Tourists may also want to go sailing on the ocean, shopping in the markets, or interacting with the locals. No matter the itinerary, Nha Trang has plenty of sites and activities for its guests.
The development of Nha Trang as a tourist destination has also led to the construction of many resorts and hotels. One of the biggest and most famous hotel chains in Nha Trang and Vietnam is Vinpearl Resorts. Nha Trang has three Vinpearl locations with two running as a resort and the other being a condotel that has both short-term guests and private owners.
The Anam Nha Trang is another top-rated resort that is known for its luxury setting. Smaller accommodation options in Nha Trang include the Mojzo Inn Boutique, Novotel Nha Trang, and the Libra Nha Trang Hotel. Many of the resorts and hotels in Nha Trang have at least one if not multiple on-site restaurants.
For tourists, whether they’re jumping from resort to resort or walking around the city, there are hundreds of dining options that range from local favorites to high-class eateries. Some of the best restaurants in the city include the Cookbook Café at the Intercontinental, De Fernando, The Bay at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, and the Ha Van A Rooftop Lounge.
- Read about the top things to do in Nha Trang.
Famous Towns and Districts in Khanh Hoa
Aside from Nha Trang, there are a few other tourist destinations in the Khánh Hòa Province. Highlights in the province include several bays and a few small towns. Each location is known for having fun activities and a beautiful natural setting.
Cam Ranh Bay
Recognized as being the “finest deepwater shelter in Southeast Asia”, Cam Ranh Bay is the most famous tourist destination in the province outside of its capital, Nha Trang. Located on an inlet of the South China Sea, Cam Ranh has become a luxury tourist destination where mega-resorts and parks have been built to cater to tourists.
One of the biggest archipelagos in the South China Sea, ownership of the Spratly Islands is often disputed between Vietnam, Malaysia, China, and the Philippines. Vietnam claims and runs tours to 9 of the 18 islands in a bid to grow tourism in the area. Bordered by reefs, the most prominent activities on the islands include snorkeling and scuba diving.
Visitors can also take wildlife tours to view the sea birds and at certain times of the year, turtles.
Van Phong Bay
In the easternmost part of Vietnam sits Van Phong Bay, which is a busy port that was once used by the French. Surrounded by mountains and forests, highlights in Van Phong Bay include Hòn Onh known as Whale Island, the Dâm Môn Peninsula, Bãi Nhàu Beach, and Hòn Ló’n Island.
Scattered amongst the various islands are small resorts that provide full facilities and services to their guests.
Ninh Hoa TownA smaller resort destination in Khánh Hòa is called Ninh Hoa, which is a town that sits just north of Nha Trang. Just as stunning as other provincial destinations, hotspots in Ninh Hoa include Doc Let Beach, the Ba Ho waterfall, and Tong Lam Lo Son Temple. Popular resorts in Ninh Hoa are the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, L’Alya Ninh Van, and the Light Hotel.
Suitable for travelers of all ages, there are dozens of itineraries for tourists in the Khánh Hòa Province. Whether exploring the local museums, historical sites, beaches, or islands, there is something for every traveler. Popular sightseeing spots in Khánh Hòa include Yen Island, the Oceanographic Institute, and the Ponagar Tower.
Take a Trip to Yen Island
Situated out in the Nha Trang Bay and only 25 km (5.5 mi) from the mainland, Yen Island is famed for its double beach and paradisiacal scenery. Run under the tourism management of Khánh Hòa, tourists can take a boat from the Cau Da Port to the island. Most itineraries will start in the morning, serve lunch, and leave before it gets dark.
Visit the Oceanographic Institute
Established in 1923, the Nha Trang Oceanographic Institute is one of Vietnam’s oldest centers for scientific research. At the institute, there is a public museum that hosts over 20,000 specimens of over 4,000 marine and freshwater species. Located only 5 km (3.1 mi) from the center of Nha Trang, the museum is a “must-do” for ocean-loving travelers.
Amongst the various festivals in Khánh Hòa, some of the more popular celebrations for tourists include the Cau Ngu and Ponagar Tower Festival. The Cau Ngu Festival celebrates the area’s local fishing culture, and it is a celebration of the ocean. Held annually in February and March, the festival asks the Nam Hai god for a prosperous year.
After the Cau Ngu Festival, Khánh Hòa hosts the Ponagar Tower Festival at the end of March. This festival honors the Champa culture and Ponagar goddess, who is the Mother of Vietnam.
While weather can sometimes be more unpredictable in Khánh Hòa because of its oceanside location, the province generally has a wet and dry season. The wet season is the least popular time for tourists because of the increase in rain and humidity. It runs from September to December. The dry season is the best time to visit Khánh Hòa and it lasts from January to August.
During the dry season, temperatures are cooler and there is less rain. Though, the summer months from May to August are an exception to the lower temperatures.
A beautiful destination, Khánh Hòa has the potential to become Vietnam’s top vacation destination. Although currently, the province is ranked as within the top ten destinations. Slightly less popular than places like Phu Quoc Island, travelers should still expect to see large crowds, especially in areas like Nha Trang and Cam Ranh Bay.
With dynamic activities, unique sites, and amazing beaches, Khánh Hòa is guaranteed to be a remarkable destination that travelers won’t soon forget.
Activities near Khanh Hoa Province