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Nha Trang city has a metropolitan area of 251 km² and population of about 500,000 (as of 2007[update]). It borders Ninh Hòa town by the north, Cam Ranh city by the south, Diên Khánh town by the west and the South China Sea to the east. The city is located on the beautiful Nha Trang Bay, which was chosen by Travel and Leisure in two succeeding years as one of 29 most beautiful bays in the world. Nha Trang is surrounded on all three sides by mountains and a large island on the fourth side (in the ocean directly in front of the city's main area), blocking major storms from potentially damaging the city.
From 1653 to the 19th century, Nha Trang was a deserted area rich in wildlife (animals like tigers) and was a part of Hà Bạc, Vĩnh Xương County, Diên Khánh Province. After just two decades in the early 20th century, Nha Trang underwent a rapid change. On 30 August 1924, the Governor-General of French Indochina decreed Nha Trang as a townlet (centre urbain). Nha Trang Townlet was established from the ancient villages of Xương Huân, Phương Câu, Vạn Thạnh, Phương Sài, and Phước Hải.
Nha Trang is one of the most important tourist hubs of Vietnam, thanks to its beautiful beaches with fine and clean sand and the clear ocean water with mild temperatures all year round. There are several resorts - such as Vinpearl, Diamond Bay and Ana Mandara - and amusement and water parks, both in the city and on islands off the coast. The possibly most beautiful street of Nha Trang is Tran Phu Street along the seaside, sometimes referred to as the Pacific Coast Highway of Vietnam
When Cam Ranh Bay used to be an important naval base, Nha Trang Airport was the main airport of the city. This airport was used by the United States Air Force and South Vietnam Air Force during the Vietnam War. When part of Cam Ranh Bay was made an economic development zone by the Vietnamese government, Cam Ranh International Airport (also a military airport built by the United States during Vietnam War) was made the new civilian airport of the city. This airport is located by Cam Ranh Bay, 45 km (28 mi) south of the city and is currently (as of 2007) the forth busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic in Vietnam serving more than 683.000 passengers in 2008.The city is located next to the National Road 1A, the backbone north-south road of the country. The Reunification Railway also crosses the city and stops at Nha Trang Railway Station.