Nha Trang city is a popular coastal attraction in Vietnam, given its spectacular scenery, fair weather, and abundance of tasty seafood. Amid tons of travel destinations in Nha Trang, the National Oceanographic Museum tells a different story about the underwater world that sea lovers shouldn't miss. A visit to Nha Trang Oceanography Institute offers a great opportunity to gain insights into marine science and oceanic wildlife.
1. About the National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam
The National Oceanographic Museum is located inside the Institute of Oceanography - a witness to Vietnamese history. The Institute of Oceanography was established by the French during the colonial era in 1923. Since 1952, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology took it over and maintained it as a research institute. After the Vietnam War, in 1993, the institute became an adjoined organization for all of the marine research institutes in Vietnam and its headquarters are in Nha Trang.
Due to the development of Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography, the National Museum of Oceanography also plays an inseparable role in research and has been open to the public for nearly two centuries.
Nha Trang city is located in the Khanh Hoa province, which has favorable geography and diverse ocean ecosystems. As it has quality facilities specifically for marine research, Nha Trang Oceanography Institute is considered a leading marine research institute in Southeast Asia. Its Museum of oceanography is the first and only national marine museum ranked in the top 10 most attractive museums in Vietnam based on its facilities and service quality.
The National Oceanographic Museum honorably holds the record for the most extensive collection of marine specimens in Vietnam (Vietnamese Records Book, 2012). Accordingly, the museum boasts a vast collection of 20.000 marine specimens to serve scientific and educational purposes. Besides, its large-scale aquarium is home to thousands of aquatic creatures. As a marine research and management leader, the museum has hosted various national and international events such as Sea Festival (biennially) and APEC (2017).
Undeniably, the National Oceanographic Museum has made remarkable contributions to marine education and local culture. It plays a significant role in protecting the ocean environment and raising public awareness about national underwater resources and territorial sovereignty. As a research institute and a public attraction, the museum is a trustworthy destination for those interested in marine science and deep-sea life.
2. Nha Trang Oceanographic Museum's location, ticket prices, and opening hours
- Address: 01 Cau Da, Vinh Nguyen ward, Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa province.
Nha Trang Oceanography Institute is perched on high and spacious land with a deep shore and a convenient location to reach International Waters.
- Ticket prices:
Adults: 40,000 VND (about $2)
Students: 20,000 VND (about $1)
*The museum offers free admission for
Children (under 6 years old or under 1.2m tall)
All visitors during Sea Festival (to be held once every two years)
- Opening hours: 6 AM ~ 6 PM (7 days a week)
3. How to get to Nha Trang Oceanography Institute
Nha Trang Oceanographic Institute's location is easily accessible within a 10-minute drive from downtown (only about 4,7km south of 2-4 Square). You can rent a bike, motorbike, or car from locals and cruise along Tran Phu beach. Or, you can always catch a taxi or bus from the city center to reach the institute.
- By bike, motorbikes, or cars
From Nha Trang 2-4 Square, head south on Tran Phu Street until you meet Cau Da Port. The Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography is on the left-hand side.
- By bus
At the Junction 6 or Le Thanh Ton stop, you can take the city bus No.4, then get off at Cau Da station or Vinpearl Port station and take a short walk to the National Oceanographic Museum.
The city bus line 4 (5:10 AM ~ 7:10 PM) departs from Hon Xay, passes through the city center, and ends at Vinpearl Port Nha Trang.
4. Inside the Nha Trang Museum of Oceanography
4.1. Large aquariums of marine species
On the ground floor, visitors can find huge glass tanks filled with diverse sea creatures such as reef sharks, turtles, scorpionfish, anemones, puffers, lionfish, coral reefs, and seaweed. Other grounds house various-sized aquariums with 300 rare and valuable marine animals, representing different typical ecosystems. Small aquariums are teeming with eye-catching and exotic creatures. These species are featured by their typical color and shape living in coral reefs such as the family of Butterfly fish, Blue Angel fish, Sea Horse (Hippocampus spp.), Picasso fish, cleaning shrimp, etc.
The museum's efforts are to educate the public about ocean wildlife and protect endangered species going extinct, for example, sea turtles and seals. Walking through the glass walls of aquariums allows visitors to vividly observe and learn more about underwater dwellers. Each creature's description is available in Vietnamese and English. Besides, the museum has an inspired performance every Sunday (9 AM ~ 9:30 AM) for visitors to see how staffs feed fish in aquariums.
4.2. Impressive specimen exhibitions
While the ground floor of the museum portrays vivid marine life in aquariums, the upper floor features an extraordinary collection of 20,000 specimens of 5,000 different species in saltwater and freshwater. These specimens were collected in Southeast Asia, especially in the East Sea, and have been preserved in glass containers with formaldehyde for many years.
Notably, the museum captivates visitors with giant samples of rare sea creatures. For example, there is a humpback whale's skeleton of 18m in length and 18 tonnes in weight, which was buried underground for 200 years and excavated in the Ha Nam Province in 1994. Another skeleton of Siren (Dugong dugon), a threatened species, was found on Con Dao Island in November 1997.
4.3. Marine Resources of the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos
A tunnel was established in Nha Trang Oceanography Institute campus to preserve historical, geological, and biological documents about Vietnam islands and ocean space based on scientific research. A 120-meter long specimen section with particular themes displays collected materials about Paracel and Spratly archipelagos (Hoang Sa-Truong Sa), raising public awareness about Vietnamese marine resources, territorial sovereignty, and security.
4.4. Water activities
Besides indoor exhibitions, the museum offers visitors outdoor activities to learn more about the natural ocean wildlife, including watching coral on glass-bottom basket boats and snorkeling. These services only open from 9 AM - 11 AM and require extra fees.
After visiting the National Oceanographic Museum, you can conveniently head to the nearby Vinpearl Portal Nha Trang. From here, you can take a tour to the popular recreational park - VinWonders Nha Trang, which offers various attractive entertainment games and mystical Sea World experiences.
5. Notes for visitors to Nha Trang Oceanographic Museum
- Visitors should follow the etiquette rules of the museum:
- Maintain peace within the exhibition halls
- Dress appropriately when entering the museum
- Prohibit feeding living creatures without permission
- No touching exhibition objects to preserve the valued specimens and maintain visiting quality
- It would help if you had comfortable shoes and clothes for your long day trip to the oceanographic museum
Having accommodations booked in advance will be necessary for your Nha Trang travel. Vinpearl Nha Trang near the National Oceanographic Museum is highly recommended for your accommodation choice. Vinpearl has high-class amenities and services at deluxe hotels and resorts, ensuring your pleasant stay in Nha Trang city.
In the last decade, the National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam has welcomed ever-increasing local and international visitors considering its visiting quality and significant impacts on marine education and protection of ocean ecosystems. As a research institute and a tourist attraction, the National Oceanographic Museum is a legitimate Nha Trang destination for ocean fans fascinated by marine science and sea creatures.
Hopefully, this article provides you with helpful information for your Nha Trang destination plan. Get ready to make your wonderful trip to Nha Trang Bay and the National Oceanographic Museum.