A Swiss-French scientist who travelled to Southeast Asia in 1889 as a ship’s doctor, Alexandre Yersin developed a great love for Vietnam and learned to speak Vietnamese fluently. He was responsible for the founding of Da Lat (he recognized the beneficial effects of the climate there for Europeans), and settled in Nha Trang in 1893. By the time of his death in 1943, Yersin had become a local hero, thanks not to his greatest achievement – the discovery of a plague bacillus in Hong Kong in 1894 – but rather to his educational work in sanitation and agriculture, and to his ability to predict typhoons and thus save the lives of fishermen. Significantly, his name is still given to streets, not only in Nha Trang but around the country, sharing an honour generally only granted to Vietnamese heroes.

There’s a museum (Mon–Fri 7.30–11am & 2–4.30pm; 26,000đ) in the centre of Nha Trang, and it’s worth visiting, stuffed as it is with books and other paraphernalia formerly belonging to Yersin.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

25 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
9 tips for backpacking Vietnam

9 tips for backpacking Vietnam

With striking landscapes, large stretches of lovely coastline, intriguing cities and excellent food, it’s no wonder the number of tourists in Vietnam has more…

18 Jul 2016 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City: where should you visit first?

Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City: where should you visit first?

Situated at the northern and southern extremes of this long, thin country, Vietnam’s two main cities lie over a thousand kilometres apart. Southern Ho Chi …

13 Jan 2016 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month