Thap Ba Hot Springs Review | Nha Trang
As soon as I discovered that there were mud pools and hot springs in Nha Trang, I knew we all had to go! Because we were visiting Nha Trang around the time of my daughter’s 13th birthday, I offered to take her to the Thap Ba Hot Springs. She could not contain her excitement!
There are a number of properties offering hot springs and mud pools in Nha Trang. However, after a bit of research, we decided to head to Thap Ba Hot Springs. Aside from the positive reviews we read online, the price was a big deciding factor, as Thap Ba offer both private and shared pools at a reasonable price.
Getting To Thap Ba Hot Springs
The Thap Ba Hot Springs offers a twice daily shuttle service for $30,000 dong per person, which equates to around $1.80 AUD. Our hotel, the Summer Hotel, had brochures and the shuttle schedule in the lobby, as would other hotels with tour information. It certainly pays to mention where you’re going to reception staff – we were promptly handed a discount voucher on our way out!
Because we left for Thap Ba Hot Springs after both of the daily shuttles had been (at around 11am and 1pm) we caught a taxi. The ride took approximately 15 minutes, with the last part of the journey involving some narrow roads through some local backstreets. It’s like you’re being taken to a strange, hidden location. But all of a sudden, the road widens to a big entrance and you’re there!
The taxi ride cost us a bit under $100,000 dong, which was cheaper than the shuttle since there were 5 of us. However, I don’t think we would have been charged for a 2 year old.
When we finally stepped foot into the entrance, we could see the beautiful, green grounds that lay beyond the turnstiles. But before we got that far, we were greeted by a member of staff who ushered us towards a board, detailing all of our options. Initially we were going to opt for the shared pools for $150,000 dong ($9.13 AUD) per person, but decided to lash out a little since it was part of Marisa’s birthday treat.
We were offered the mud pools, a herbal bath, a mineral bath, a foot massage and use of the grounds swimming pools for $1,800,000 ($109 AUD). Yep, in Vietnam, you too can be a multi-millionaire! We opted for the package without the herbal bath and foot massage, which was just one million dong ($60 AUD).
Armed with our ticket, we excitedly made our way to the private mud pool area. We were so glad that we took the advice to come on a weekday afternoon, as it was fairly quiet. The idea of crowded mudpools wasn’t my cup of tea, especially with an unpredictable two and a half year old!
Green towels were given to everyone, and we were offered to borrow swimming costumes. It probably would have been a great idea, because little did I know how much mud was going to keep coming out of our bathers for days! It’s a good idea to take a second pair of swimmers or take up the offer to use Thap Ba’s.
For $20,000 dong ($1.21 AUD), you can hire a locker to stow your belongings. The cost is refundable upon return of the key, but if you have valuables, they should in the designated locker area behind the staff desk, which is more secure.
With our swimmers on and our belongings securely locked away, we set off up some stairs to the private pool area, which was set on several levels. Before you’re allowed to slide into your assigned mud pool (all the pools are numbered) you have to wash first.
We glanced over at the wash area, which reminded me of a round clothes line (a Hills Hoist looking thing, for those in Australia!) with lots of water jets coming down from them. In the middle, there were a jumble of taps, so you had to work out which tap connected to which shower. Then our eyes were drawn to the men washing off after their mud bath. They had their hands down their pants, washing back and front. Doug and I looked at each other with an, “Alrighty then!” kind of look and waited for our turn to get under. Amaya wouldn’t have a bar of it, so I held her while everyone washed under the warm, salty, spring water.
Time to get muddy!
Once we were all rinsed, we were shown to our bath. The attendant turned on a big tap at the back of the pool and mud started flowing in. It looked very thin, water-like, so I started to wonder if it would be the experience that I expected.
Amaya was utterly unsure of what was going on and clung onto me for dear life, while the older two kids jumped in. They loved the sensation of the warm, goopy mud! Not long after Doug jumped in, the kids dared each other to dunk themselves completely under the mud… but unfortunately one of them got ripped off. Marisa counted, “1, 2, 3….” but only Elijah went under.
Don’t open your mouth when in the pool… and don’t get the mud in your eyes. That’s all I will say!!! We had a huge laugh though, because Elijah looked hilarious coated from head to toe in mud. I was glad not to be in the mud bath yet, I got to take all the good photos!
There is a photographer that comes around and offers to take your photo, which can be placed on a calendar or other items. It’s a great idea for the memory and not having to stress over taking photos together as a family.
The mud — heated to 37-38 degrees Celsius — felt divine. It was warm and runny, but not as thin as I expected when seeing the bath fill. It felt like there was clay in the water, and you could feel the resistance from the mud when you moved around. But because all four of us were now in the pool, the water level was very high, and we found we became quite buoyant! It was hard to sit still sometimes, but it just created even more laughs as we floated all over each other. Apparently the shared pools are easier to sit in, so if you don’t want to spend as much as we did, it’s not so bad after all!
According to Thap Ba Hot Springs, the maximum therapeutic benefit of the mud is reached at 15-20 minutes. So once you’re done, you get out and rinse off again. All of a sudden, we understood why those men rinsing off earlier were washing down their pants. Especially for the boys who had shorts, they had mud… well…. everywhere. More laughs ensued. The mud really gets in to every crease and crevice, and absorbs into your swimming costume. It’s hard to rinse off every single bit of it — you’ll find dry mud particles on you for days!
After the rinse, it was off to the hot, 40C mineral bath. It was such a relief getting into such warm water, as the afternoon had gotten cold. We were all feeling very relaxed as we sunk into the bath… until Amaya decided she’d rather go explore the grounds!
It was close to the time we had to leave — we actually made the mistake of coming too late. Ideally, you need to have an early lunch and head over for the afternoon, then you don’t need to worry about food too. Or, you could just come for the whole day.
Mud pools are so deliciously sensory and soothing — it’s one of those things you should put on your bucket list. Especially while in Vietnam, where the prices are a fraction of what you’d pay back in Australia.
We had an amazing time at Thap Ba Hot Springs. It was a wonderful, relaxing and humourous family bonding experience. We’d definitely go back again.
Thap Ba Hot Springs Opening Times
Thap Ba Hot Springs located at 15 Ngọc Sơn, Ngọc, is open from 7:00am to 7:30pm every day of the year.
For more information on Thap Ba Hot Springs, visit their website at thapbahotspring.com.vn. Read the English translated version by clicking the icon up the top right.
Have you visited Thap Ba Hot Springs? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a doula, writer and mother to three awesome children. Currently she's travelling the world for 12 months with her partner and three children, and hopes to inspire more families to do the same.