Multiple Choice Getaway: A Travel Guide to Quy Nhon
Quy Nhon has emerged on the world tourism map as a “perfect place for a relaxed getaway”, but its attractions are far more diverse than typical getaway destinations.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
A good time to visit this relatively quiet city on the south central coast is from January to August, when the weather is warm (most of the time).
In fact, next week can be a very good time to be in Quy Nhon as more than 10,000 runners, including foreigners, will be in town for the VnExpress Marathon, which returns here after a year-long suspension due to the pandemic. of Covid-19.
WHAT TO EXPLORE
The Ghenh Ranh-Tien Sa tourist areaabout three kilometers from downtown Quy Nhon, was King Bao Dai’s choice for a private holiday retreat.
It is home to Hoang Hau (Queen) Beach, which takes its name from the visit of Queen Nam Phuong, wife of Bao Dai, the last king of Vietnam.
A unique and distinct feature of the beach is the presence of hundreds of round stones like giant bird eggs. The beach was previously known as Da Trung (stone egg) beach.
Besides its special beauty, Ghenh Rang is the place where literature lovers can pay homage to Han Mac Tu, a poet who died tragically young. His tomb is on Thi Nhan hill, a few minutes walk from Hoang Hau beach.
Covering an area of just one square kilometer, Bai Xep is considered the oldest fishing village in the city. Locals swaying along the coast in coracles, sailing between boats, is a common sight.
Located near Quy Hoa beach in Ghenh Rang district, about 13 kilometers from downtown Quy Nhon, the village is home to around 100 people, all of whom earn their living by fishing and/or farming shrimp and certain varieties of fish in coastal areas.
In 2016, the village rose to fame after being listed by the American news site Business Intern as “one of the 16 hidden gems” of Asia.
In recent years, some locals have started homestay businesses and cafes in response to the tourism boom. One of the ways to relax here is to hire a bamboo rod and go fishing.
On the Phuong Mai peninsula, about 10 kilometers from downtown Quy Nhon is another former fishing village on Nhon Hai Island. Locals go out to sea around 3-4pm and return just at sunrise the next morning.
The peaceful village is undergoing a rapid transformation as more and more tourists visit it, prompting some entrepreneurs to develop tourism projects, to open restaurants as well as accommodation establishments.
A growing number of foreigners are choosing the island for longer stays.
A memorable experience in Nhon Hai would be to walk around an ancient citadel of Champa which only rises to the surface of the sea at low tide or during the dry season. It is one of the two important and sacred monuments for the villagers of Nhon Hai, the other being the famous Huong Mai Pagoda.
Just three minutes from Nhon Hai fishing village by canoe is Kho (dry) islet, the most populated islet in Quy Nhon. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find a place to spend the night here.
A range of typical beach activities can be enjoyed here, including snorkeling to view corals, playing beach adventure games and snacking on seafood.
A boat or jet ski can be rented for 300,000-500,000 VND ($13-22) per group or 50,000 VND per person for a ride.
A small sandbar in the middle of Kho islet is a sea turtle conservation area. At night, sea turtles can be seen laying eggs here.
Many foreign tourists have said in social media posts that watching the sun rise over Thi Nai Lagoon is a great experience. and then see daily life unfold at a leisurely pace with small boats landing with their catch.
The large saltwater lagoon, covering more than 5,000 hectares southeast of Binh Dinh, is home to clusters of waterlogged houses and fish and shrimp ponds.
On the lagoon is a small mountain on which stands a temple dedicated to the whale god. Locals built the Thay Boi (Fortuneteller) Temple to worship the whale, a sacred benefactor for Vietnamese fishermen. Stranded whales are given elaborate burials. Locals pray to the whale god for luck, good weather, plentiful catches and protection at sea.
About 30 kilometers from downtown Quy Nhon is the Trung Luong Campgroundwhich has become a popular ecotourism destination in recent years.
The picnic area is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Those not carrying a tent can rent one for around 300,000 VND per night for two people.
At night, visitors can sit around a campfire and enjoy a barbecue under the starry sky.
KyCowhich many call the “Maldives of Vietnam”, is a popular destination in Quy Nhon.
Renting a motorbike is the most convenient way to get to Ky Co. The service is available online or at hotels. Some people also choose to book a Ky Co excursion which normally includes a boat service to take you to the island, a meal and snorkeling, all priced around 350,000-400,000 VND ($15-17 ) per person.
Ky Co’s most special feature is its two-tone water with the distinct shades of green and blue, making it a striking sight.
From Ky Co beach, a canoe can be rented to explore the coral of Bai Dua, Kho or Sao islets. Many visitors opt for the special snorkel service which allows you to walk on the seabed while fish and other sea creatures swim by.
Visitors can also rent a jet ski, a boat to go fishing or follow the local fishermen out to sea.
Of course, one can simply laze on the beach, watch the turquoise waters stretch to the horizon, and listen to the soothing sound of the sea waves.
WHERE TO STAY
The city now has one five-star hotel complex, four four-star hotels and other resorts with prices ranging from 1.5 to 5 million VND ($66 to $220) per night for two people.
Luxury hotels with private beaches include: Seagate Resort, Ky Co Quy Nhon Resort, Crown Retreat Quy Nhon, Avani Quy Nhon Resort and FLC Quy Nhon Resort. Prices start from VND2 million per night.
Some hotels like Huong Viet and Vietnam Taste on Xuan Dieu Street and Salah on Le Lai Street are offering 20-30% discounts to runners participating in this year’s VnExpress marathon.
WHAT TO EAT
Banh xeo tom nhay (jumping pancake with prawns) – is a highly recommended dish for visitors to Quy Nhon.
Unlike the rice pancakes in the southern region, the pancake here is only the size of a fist. It is very thin and contains shrimp, bean sprouts and onions. It is served with a platter of green herbs, a sheet of rice and a sweet fish sauce. The combination of shrimp cake with sprouts, cucumber and star fruit is a treat for the palate.
The best shrimp jumping pancake can be found at Gia Vy 2 Restaurant on Dien Hong Street or at Ms. Nam’s Shop near My Cang Bridge in Tuy Phuoc District, according to locals.
banh hoi is similar to rice vermicelli found elsewhere in the country. It is made from rice flour in very fine strands. The dish is most delicious when it is soft and covered with a thin layer of oil. It is served hot with a sprinkle of chives on top.
Bun cha ca Noodle soup is another highly recommended dish in Quy Nhon. The main ingredient of the dish is fishcake, which is made with different kinds of fish like barracuda and mackerel. The broth is cooked with fish bones, usually those of mackerel and flag fish, due to their sweetness. The soup should not taste like fish. Many stalls serve the dish with chili sauce.
A famous fish cake noodle shop on Nguyen Hue Street is the perfect place to try this dish in Quy Nhon.
banh beo (water fern cake) is also a colorful snack with spring green onions, golden fried onions, crushed peanuts and shredded red shrimp. banh beo best to be very warm. Ms. Xe’s stall on Tran Nguyen Dan Street is the perfect place to savor this treat.
Tre (fermented pork skin), made from pork ear, head and belly, is considered a local delicacy. It is seasoned with sesame, powdered rice, galangal, chilli, young guava leaf and garlic. The meat is naturally fermented for two or three days until the spices are absorbed, giving it a unique flavor. The chef uses chopsticks to stir the pieces of meat before placing them on the plate.
This dish can be tried at several stalls on National Road 1A. It can also be purchased and taken home as a gift.
HOW TO GET HERE
The fastest way to get to Quy Nhon from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is by air. Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar and Bamboo Airways all offer daily direct flights to Quy Nhon.
From Phu Cat Airport, visitors can either take a shuttle bus or take a taxi to the city center about 35 km (21 miles).
Quy Nhon is about 650 km from HCMC, from where visitors have other options of taking a bus or train.
It takes around 12 hours by bus and the fare starts at around 220,000 VND ($9.49) per person. A night bus arriving in the morning would be an ideal bus ride.
The train journey from HCMC takes around 13 hours and fares range from 252,000 VND ($11) for a seat to 442,000 VND ($19) for a sleeper.