This Quy Nhon Travel Guide covers all the essentials you need to make your trip to Quy Nhon memorable and smooth.
FEB 2020––Our taxi driver from the airport has a customized playlist for his foreign passengers. “Let it Go” made it to the cut. Me singing along would make him think he was doing the right thing, A joked. It is okay, I want to give a bit of validation. The view from the taxi window was of pastoral beauty at first: a swath of young rice fields, earnestly green and thriving, their leaves facing the sky. These were punctuated with fields of young eucalyptus trees, its bluish elongated leaves already distinguishable from the plane window.
“I wonder why they have so many eucalyptus trees,” I asked A, who is none the wiser than me, but who admits that my portfolio on trees is better than his. I grew up in the farm, you see. And somehow it was ingrained in me the smell, the texture, the leave shapes of all local trees growing around us. No, I did not grow up with eucalyptus trees. But a month in East Coast, Australia was enough to know how they look from afar.
Binh Dinh, where Quy Nhon city belongs, is suitable for industrial crops such as cacao, eucalyptus, and cashew, according to a government site. The province, just like most parts of Vietnam, has agriculture as the foundation of its economy. 70% in case of Binh Dinh province.
But you know the province is up for something––this becomes apparent as we neared to the city. Trees, mostly too-California-ish palms, are planted in huge manicured gardens. The baywalk is one of the biggest I have seen in Vietnam. Cranes stand on the top of building skeletons. This is a story of a city that wants to change its economic narrative: tourism.
“This feels like Danang underway,” I said to A on one of our strolls on the city beach.
“No, more like Nha Trang.” Quy Nhon––south of Danang, north of Nha Trang––does not have the foreign tourist volume its neighbors have. Not yet.
Give it two-three years, and Quy Nhon can rival against the two.
BY PLANE |Vietnam Airline, Vietjet, Bamboo Airways, and Jetstart offer direct flights to Quy Nhon from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. This is the fastest and most convenient way of traveling to Quy Nhon from the two main cities in Vietnam. If you’re lucky, you can get a round-trip ticket for $20.
BY TRAIN | Sandwiched between Da Nang and Nha Trang, two internationally recognized travel destinations in Vietnam, Quy Nhon is a relatively new destination that you can explore by train. That is, if you got the time for a train ride. Head to Da Nang or Nha Trang Train station and check the train schedules.
BY BUS | It is also possible to Quy Nhon on a bus from neighboring cities such as Da Lat, Da Nang, and Nha Trang. Please inquire in your hostel or hotel for the schedule. What I usually do in cases like this is to go to the bus station and inquire about the bus schedule.
Phu Cat Airport, the airport nearest to Quy Nhon City, is 30km away from the city center.
BY BUS | There is a shuttle bus outside the airport that ferries passengers to the city and vice versa. It is the most affordable way of going to the city from the airport.
Downside: Passengers will only be dropped off at 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, Quy Nhon, about 1.5km away from the city beach, where most hotels are. 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh on Google Maps looks like it is by the street, but it is tucked behind Café Star or across Highlands Coffee. On your way back to the airport, make sure you’re at 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh 2 1/2-3 hours before your flight.
BY TAXI | Depending on your haggling skills, some drivers balloon it up to 400K-500K VND. We managed to get one for 300K. It is the most convenient and comfortable, admittedly.
Downside: Expensive. But it is better if you ask other passengers to share the taxi with you to split the cost. You can call taxi operators such as Mai Linh Binh Dinh: 056. 3838 3838 Sun Taxi Binh Dinh: 056 3 68 68 68. I highly recommend Mai Linh.
Price: 300K-500K VND
BY GRAB | Download Grab, one of the versions of Uber in Southeast Asia, and book a private ride. Gotta admit it is more expensive than the local taxi. But who knows, algorithm might be on your side. We checked the Grab price first before we took a local taxi.
IN THE CITY | Foodies, we decided to stay in the city instead of staying in one of the beaches outside the city. The center has more options when it comes to food. City as it is, Quy Nhon has a lot of dishes compared to the beaches located in the outskirt. We reckoned that we can simply go on road trips when we want to and lounge there all day long, which we did the entire time. It is way practical and strategic to stay in the city since Quy Nhon does not have only beaches and seafood, it also has an established food culture tucked away in small streets. Let me not start with century-old temples, standing vulnerable and proud on hills.
We also love walking around, which can be limiting when you stay in a small beach village where tiny alleys are not properly lit. With these in mind, we decided to stay in the city.
BAI XEP | Thirty minutes away from the city, Bai Xep appealed to the romantic island girl in me. Small village town right in front of the beach. Balconies overlooking an islet. A shore dotted with fishing boats and Thuyen Thung––the round basket boats unique in Central and South Vietnam. I fought for it. I wanted to stay there. The city boy and his impeccable and patient logic won. And after our day trip there, I had to admit he made the right decision. Bai Xep is great for a beach life. But being stationed there, the rest of Quy Nhon and Binh Dinh is obscured and hidden, which the greedy traveler in me is not really comfortable with. But if you want to be away from everything, just you and the beach and a drink or two in hand, and you’re okay with limited food choices, this is the spot. Sun bathe and swim all day you want.
Expats love hanging out at Life’s a Beach, a beachfront low-key hostel with a restaurant. You can simply order snacks or a drink, say every two hours, and you can lounge there all day long. If you fancy a posher and more expensive meal, right across the tiny alley is Big Tree Bistro.
KY CO BEACH | Almost an hour away from the city, Ky Co Beach has a honeymooners feel. It is okay for a day trip. But the 140K entrance fee, if you ask me, is not worth it. On top of that, you have to pay 300K if you use any of the beachfront cottages. The ride to Ky Co Beach from the entrance (where you bid your 140KVND goodbye) is quite steep but really fun. I personally think the cliché “it is the journey, not the destination” that echoes here. Especially with the dying daylight, the view from the top of the mountain was simply beautiful and captivating. As for the beach’s character, Bai Xep feels more charming.
The CITY BEACH is somewhat trashed, but it is a great place to lounge and have a drink. There are two Surf Bar on the beach itself that serves cocktails, tea, beer, and coffee. The beach tends to be crowded when the sun is down (the Vietnamese don’t really want their skin to be exposed to the sun). This is the best time to people-watch, I gotta say. If you’re traveling with a special someone, walking barefoot and hand-in-hand at night might be your thing. BAI XEP for me is the best place to chill and have your saltwater fix. Go to KY CO BEACH for the heck of it. QUEEN’S BEACH, the nearest beach from the city, is also worth checking out.
Tượng Phật Chùa Ông Núi Temple involves a lot of stairs. And walking to the top of the temple where a massive white and relaxed Buddha awaits feels like a penitence. Don’t forget to bring some water and an umbrella. The walk to the top can be excruciating. Binh Dinh province preserves some of the temples from Cham dynasty. You can see them vulnerable and proud on top of the hills. Banh It tower, for one, is one of the oldest temples preserved in Vietnam. So rent a scooter or a semi-manual and hunt down old temples in the province. It is worth it.
The main reason to stay in the city is to explore the food scene. Xuan Dieu Street, the street facing the city beach, is populated with seafood restaurants. Oysters is 13K VND per piece; seashells steamed in lemongrass and chilli is so appetizing in any day. Crab and fish are relatively cheaper and fresher than the ones in Hanoi. This is a favorite spot for many Vietnamese travelers and locals alike. If you want to rough it up, head to the nearby Ngọc Hân Công Chúa Street: the entire street is teemed with affordable precooked food. A word of caution: be cautious of eating precooked seafood dishes especially if they are displayed in humungous pots. Some might be days-old, and those with sensitive stomach might be vulnerable to food poisoning. For other delicacies such as Banh Xeo Tom Nhay (a delicious pancake made with rice flour, turmeric powder and prawns, topped with onions, bean sprouts and spring onion) and banh canh (tapioca noodle soup with fish cake), 11-35 Phan Bội Châu Street really excited the foodie in me. So many street food to choose from. The sidewalk is filled up with eager locals, enjoying their eat of the night.