Quy Nhon is one of those of cities that time forgot. Six hours south of Danang, it's home to some of the best seafood in the country and unparalleled beaches. Yet few people visit. Here's some reasons to head to the Quy Nhon and the area in its vicinity.
The Perfect Beach?
Years ago I was told about the beaches on the coast road north of Quy Nhon. “The best beaches in Vietnam,” said one person. Now, finally, I had the chance to explore.
I started with the required trip to the Cham towers of Banh It, then I headed to the coast. A few kilometres north of Cat Tien I found a beach labelled simply Bai Nho, or Small Beach.
Mainland Vietnam must have hundreds of spots like this, stretches of sand in tiny bays surrounded by rocks, and from the road this one looked picture-postcard perfect. But that was from the road.
Steps had been cut out the rocks to take you a quarter of the way down. The rest of the descent was via a twisting sandy path through scrub and rocks.
As I headed down a group of Vietnamese was coming up the other way. Hellos were exchanged.
“It’s very beautiful,” shouted out one guy as he passed. From what I’d seen so far, I believed him.
He’s was right. Semi-right. This one had the word ‘paradise’ stamped all over it. Yet at one end, where a small stretch of sand connected a pile of rocks with the mainland, there was litter. Not the type of rubbish you find on well-used but uncared-for beaches, but the flotsam and jetsam that comes out of the sea.
And here’s the problem. You’re probably never going to get the perfect beach in this country; the sea is just too dirty. It’s a real shame, for as coastlines go, Vietnam’s should be the envy of the whole world. — Nick Ross
Take a picturesque beach south of Qui Nhon, the big city bang in between Nha Trang and Danang. Build a luxury resort on it, bring in the guests, make it a destination. Then as time goes by, let things slip.
Then, years later, other investors come on the scene. They see the same potential. But this time they take a more earthy approach and focus on the fishing village that backs onto part of the same beach. Here they build simple accommodation for travellers, the motopackers travelling from north to south on bikes.
The new kids on the alleyway watch their guesthouse run for a couple of years, and see the guests enjoy the beach. They then follow it up with the next step. Not one but two beachfront restaurants and bars — other separate investors have got involved, too. Together they build the kind of places you’d expect to find in Thailand, Malaysia, Bali and Cambodia, but not Vietnam.
That is what’s happened to Bai Xep, a white-sand bay 10km south of Qui Nhon.
The luxury property, once called Life Resort, is still there. But it was recently rebranded and refurbished. Its new nomenclature is Avani (avanihotels.com) and it is as elegant and luxurious as it was in its former heyday.
On the beach, you’ve got the restaurant and bar, Big Tree (bigtreebackpackers.com), as well as its sister guesthouse, Haven (havenvietnam.com).
Next door is another guesthouse, Life’s a Beach (lifesabeachvietnam.com), and its accompanying seafood restaurant, Nemo.
Vietnam needs more places like this, the resorts and paradise-like shacks that make simple, beachside holidays so attractive to people the world over. Phu Quoc has it in pockets, as does Hoi An. There are a couple of places near Ninh Hoa, north of Nha Trang — Jungle Beach (junglebeachvietnam.com) and Some Days of Silence (somedaysresort.com). Now there’s Bai Xep in Quy Nhon.
To see an article on the Cham Temples of Quy Nhon, click here:
To see more articles in this story, please click on the links below:
The Undiscovered Coast
Undiscovered Binh Thuan
The Paradise of Ninh Thuan
The Wildness of Con Dao
The Rocks of Phu Yen
The Beaches Around Quy Nhon
The Abandoned Church
The Other Side of Halong Bay
North of Cua Lo
The Islands off Phu Quoc
Where The Mekong Hits the Sea