If you’re looking to really get away from the hassle of vendors, the noise and smells of the city, and just be left alone to relax and invigorate yourself, Quy Nhon is the place to go. Located on the coast about halfway between Hoi An and Nha Trang, this is a city with a real small town feel. The main draw to the city are its pristine, picturesque beaches that remain virtually untouched by mass tourism. Here’s a place you can lay back under a palm tree without being bothered by vendors, and take a dip in the ocean without seeing the plastic bags and other trash that clutter up other beaches. If you hadn’t heard of Quy Nhon before, there’s a good reason for it – it’s not on the main tourist routes, and that’s perhaps why it remains so special to this day.
Buses run regularly from Da Nang and take between six and seven hours. Coming the other way, from Nha Trang, buses usually take around five hours. The main bus terminus is around half an hour’s walk from the city center, but you can talk a local bus into town if you prefer not to walk. Quy Nhon is quite spread out along the beach, and so it’s often a good idea to rent a bicycle or a motorbike if you want to explore the area.
The beaches on the south side of the city are the best for swimming and bathing – there is nothing wrong with the northern beaches, but there just happen to be more fishing boats arriving and leaving from that area. The water is crystal clean and the sand is pristine. You will most likely be the only foreigner around, so be prepared to make the most of body language and hand gestures if you don’t speak Vietnamese – you may be lucky to find someone who can converse with you, but the city is just not set up for international tourism.
If you’re looking for something to eat after you arrive, as Quy Nhon is a coastal town, you can’t go wrong with the local seafood. Along the front you’ll find plenty of eateries catering to the local population. There are also a number of bars for you to quench your thirst. If you’re traveling as a couple, or if you’ve managed to make a friend locally, definitely check out Surf Bar in Xuan Dieu, for its friendly and romantic seafront ambience.
If you’re staying a while longer in the Quy Nhon area, you might want to check out some of the beaches just outside the city. Bai Xep beach is a 15 minute ride out of the city and is just as nice, but much quieter. Having said that, you’ll still be able to find food and drink in the village if you can tear yourself away from the golden sand and turquoise ocean water. The beach at neighboring Xuan Hai is probably the most beautiful in the area – equally pristine and virtually untouched, only this time with an expanse of white sand petering off into the ocean.
Quy Nhon city itself has a few attractions that you might like to visit if you don’t feel like spending all your time at the beach. The Thap Doy Towers are around a 20-minute bicycle ride from the train station and are located in a tranquil park. These structures are a good example of ethnic Cham architecture. If you’re interested in that, you might also enjoy visiting larger Cham towers around 18 miles out of the city in a temple complex by the same name.