By Aran (from the UK)
Most people will be surprised at just how great the Nha Trang nightlife scene really is. I first visited Vietnam way back in 2003, when Na Trang was a relatively quiet beach town with very little in the way of nightlife.
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I have very fond memories of the place because it was here that I met the first Vietnamese girl that I got to know intimately. I was staying in a hotel where she worked as a receptionist. She was that beautiful ‘to die for’ Vietnamese girl. Anyone who has ever been to Vietnam will know the kind of girl I am talking about. She was super smiley and innocent with a really friendly way about her. Whether it was a requirement of her job or simply because she was traditional, she would always wear the traditional Vietnamese ‘Áo dài’ dress that made her look absolutely stunning.
Well, needless to say, I ended up extending and extending my stay... After a few weeks, she agreed to stay over provided I switch to another hotel, and the rest is history as they say.
So for me, Nha Trang has always been a place that I had a deep love for. I have revised it 4 more times since and have to confess that though it is no longer the place I visited all those years ago, the Nha Trang nightlife scene has grown better and better over the years.
Shortly after my first visit, the doors opened to a huge wave of Russian tourists who came to Vietnam because of the ease at which they could get tourist visas. Tourist numbers rocketed and created a demand for lots of new services, included more bars and clubs. Russian signs began to spring up everywhere replacing many of the English ones. Hotels began opening like there was a gold rush on, and lots of Viet people from all over the country came in search of work.
In the last 5 years or so, a new invasion has begun to take place. Spurred on by their strong economy and relaxed travel restrictions, the Chinese have begun to discover the place by the boatload. As a result, the Nha Trang nightlife atmosphere has changed again with scores of karaoke bars and Chinese restaurants springing up everywhere.
Though most Westerners you meet here will complain about the change that is going on, one positive is that these days the Nha Trang nightlife scene is better than ever.
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The first thing that anyone who has been in Vietnam long enough will notice about Nha Trang is how rules that are sometimes enforced in Saigon, and always enforced in Hanoi, are not enforced here. In my time, I have spent hours and hours running around Hanoi trying to find a ‘girl friendly’ hotel where I could take my date for the night. In Saigon, there are a number of hotels where you can bring girls back to the room, though they are still not always that easy to find.
Another really important thing is that most bars and clubs are open until late here. The frustration in Hanoi when a police car rolls down the street at midnight causing all the bar staff to close up their place before they come back is annoying to say the least. Even in Saigon, nearly all the clubs close at 2 am, a time that for most of us is when the night is still young.
Thanks to all the development there are now literally loads of nice hotels to choose from. For the budget traveller, there is a nice backpacker area that has developed around Nguyễn Thiện Thuật and Tran Quang Khai streets. For most backpackers, The Nha Trang nightlife zone is centered in this area.
Alternatively, there are loads of mid and high-range hotels dotted all around town. Most of the high-end places are either located on the beach or near one of the more expensive clubs, and most have a famous rooftop bar where local girls love to come to party.
The main nightlife action is focussed on and around Tran Phu Street. This street has all the best bars, all of which are located within a few hundred meters of each other. The place gets pretty busy in high season, especially on weekends, and so can end up feeling like a bit of a zoo. Some of the larger bars host a DJ later in the evening which is when the real party starts for us westerners.
A great place to get the evening started I find is to head to one of the rooftop bars and down a few expensive (for Vietnam) drinks. After that, I tend to hit the street and do a little bar hopping to see which bars are hot and which are not.
Keep in mind that at different times of the year the types of people in these bars will change. In Chinese New Year, for example, the place will be crammed full of Chinese and Vietnamese families, which does tend to dampen the atmosphere a bit for westerners.
Nha Trang is also a popular spot for Vietnamese visitors, many of whom fly in from Hanoi or Saigon for the weekend. Typically they come in groups like the Chinese and end up sticking together like glue. This makes talking to girls quite difficult and getting them to go home with you nearly impossible.
Around Tran Phu Street you will find loads of western girls to talk to. When it comes to Viet ladies, most of the girls you find out and about will either be part of a group or be freelance hookers looking for a guy who is happy to pay for a night of pleasure.
Unfortunately, due to the rapidly growing party scene, most of the traditional Vietnamese girls I met don’t like to go anywhere near Tran Phu Street. Most said that it's too busy or too noisy and blindly refused to go there with me. Honestly speaking, these days meeting a good local girl who is open to a relationship with a foreigner is not easy.
I’ve personally had a lot of luck putting the work into my online and day game. I advise using a good dating site to contact girls a month or two before you get there. Play the long game and make sure you let them know you are interested in a long relationship if things go well. This way you should have a phone full of numbers ready for you as soon as you get there.
The Nha Trang nightlife scene offers a great way to meet local girls who are available for short term fun, but to get anywhere with regular girls you will certainly need to play the long game. Having said said that, I have had a couple come back to my hotel after just a few dates. Don’t expect many to sleep over though, as they have to be home by lights out.
Provided you head there with an open mind and a smile on your face, the Nha Trang nightlife scene will reward you with one of the best nights out in Vietnam.
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