If lying on the beach gets too boring, an intense hike to Ba Ho Waterfalls is a pleasant diversion. To get there, it’s a scenic 27-kilometre drive north along the coast, then a sweaty, challenging 25-minute hike up to the first of three falls that you can swim in (“ba ho” means “three pools”). Unlike Yang Bay Waterfall — actually a tacky tourist park — Ba Ho is refreshingly natural, quiet and a great way to get some exercise.
The distance to the first falls is 1.4 kilometres. The trail, marked by red blazes, commences as a dirt track before suddenly leading over boulders for a challenging 15-minute hike that will require scramblingand using trees and vines as hand and footholds. There are a couple of particularly tricky sections that will need some strength and agility (or a friend to give you a boost). A reasonable level of fitness and sure footedness is required but of course, you can always take it slow.
Your reward? The first pool of wonderfully cool water. Jump in, chill out and let little fish nip at your toes. You may be the only person here. The second and third falls are even more challenging to reach but duly rewarding. Ensure you have enough water, energy and time before embarking further.
To get to Ba Ho Waterfalls from Nha Trang we recommend taking the scenic route along the coast. From downtown head north on Tran Phu Boulevard and cross Tran Phu bridge. Follow along the coast on Pham Van Dong all the way up to Amiana Resort where the road veers left and continues with marvellous views of the sea. This road is in great condition, lightly trafficked and you’ll often see pelotons of road cyclists slogging up the hill. Eventually Pham Van Dong joins busy National Route 1. Look for the blue and white sign “Ba Ho Tourist”, turn left and follow the rocky dirt road for a 3.5 kilometres until you reach the parking pad.
Entrance is 25,000 VND, plus 4,000 VND for motorbike parking. A small cafe sells drinks and incredibly you’ll come across some enterprising locals selling cold drinks and barbecue chicken mid trail, just before the boulders begin. A take-away picnic is not a bad idea! You’ll also see locals having their own picnics on the riverbanks.
Good walking shoes or sandals are a must, as well as lots of water – more than you think you need – snacks, mosquito repellent and sunscreen. Unless you are a confident hiker, we don’t really recommend going alone.
Hire your own motorbike, a motorbike taxi or a regular taxi. If a hike is not enough, Nha Trang Travel VN offers a van-supported cycling trip there with excellent mountain bikes, helmets and lunch. Cost is US$65 per person, with the price reduced with more participants. Call for us: 0989.344.691 or 0984.383.380
Warning: We heard of an unfortunate incident just a week prior to our visit where a motorbike taxi driver demanded double the agreed fare once they were at the falls. The passenger refused and the driver abandoned her. Hopefully this is was just one bad apple. (And do be clear of course that the price you negotiate is return.)
For those looking for a cheap way, it would be possible to take the air-conditioned public blue, white, yellow bus that heads north on National Route 1, either bus #3 to Doc Let or #1 to Van Gia, 24,000 VND per ride. Tell the fare collector where you want to go and they’ll drop you off at the closest stop on the highway. There’s only a small village there and it’s another 3.5 kilometres to the falls, so this method is a bit risky as you may or may not be able to find someone to hire to give you a lift the rest of the way. But knowing Vietnam, when it comes to transportation anything seems possible.
NHA TRANG TRAVEL VN WISH YOU HAVE GOOD TRIPS!