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Hanoi – Quy Nhon – Tuy Hoa

Hanoi – Quy Nhon – Tuy Hoa backpacking trip with a friend
I had a trip to Quy Nhon, Tuy Hoa in April. It’s a memorable trip as the weather was so hard, I was dirty black after this tour but I could enjoy the stunning beauty of these places here. That’s wonderful.

Day 1: Quang Trung Museum + Ghenh Rang Tourist Area
Near midday, my friend and I took the taxi to visit the Quang Trung Museum. With the aim to study about history, we visit the memorial Quang Trung – Nguyen Hue grave. Unfortunately, that day took place only war drums performance and we didn’t have a chance to watch Tay Son martial arts, which is very famous in Quy Nhon, Vietnam.

Then we took the bus back to the city center. It’s more than one km from the museum to the bus station, but there was no taxi or motorbike taxi, so we had to wait. Luckily, there was a young man traversing. We waved frantically and asked for the price. He didn’t say anything, and when arriving at the bus station, he smiled and drove away. I felt like this place a lot. How friendly and cute people here were.
When arriving at the city center, we tried to find the hotels in Quy Nhon. Although we had noted some addresses and we can book a room online, but we wanted to go around to find the best one. Finally, we found Hoang Yen Hotel 3 that is beautiful and clean and has a good price. This hotel is very near Xuan Dieu seafood street with a variety of food that are so cheap.

In the afternoon, we visited Han Mac Tu hill and Mong Cam Slope, visited the Tomb of Han Mac Tu, Da Trung (Stone Egg) beach, and Hoang Hau (Queen) beach. All these spots are in Ghenh Rang tourist area.
Da Trung beach was very nice, but we came here a bit late, so it was a lack of sunshine. When it was 5 pm, the sky is shrouded in dark clouds, so we did not dare to continue playing and had to come back to the hotel. After noshing, we went to the sea and watched the sunset. I felt so peaceful and relaxed.

Day 2: Phuong Mai Peninsula and Quy Hoa leper’s hospital
At that time, I was just eager to go sand skating. From Quy Nhon City, toward Thi Nai Port, going through urban areas under construction, it is quite dusty. Going through Thi Nai Bridge (Stunning at nights), we arrived at the Phuong Mai Peninsula. We drive motorbike as quick as lightning through 20km range full of sand. The sun was scorching, occasionally we saw one truck running over. As we didn’t see anyone, we were afraid of getting lost. Finally, we reached our destination at noon. However, the woman selling gas told us not to run up the sand hill as we would be burnt under the baking sun. Therefore, we did not dare to climb again and came back. Along the way, we saw two small sandhills, disposed of vehicles along the road and ran up there playing, running around. Luckily, we took some lovely pictures.

Currently, there are many tourist attractions to visit in this Peninsula. My experience is that you should get up early, go at dawn to reach the sandhill at 6 am to 7 am. It’s still cool to go sand skating. After skating, go toward Nhon Ly Commune People’s Committee, which is only 1-2km distance, ask for directions to Eo Gio. The water here is clear, limpid. There is no sand to be grounds for bathing, but there are many cliffs, or rocks round up into a pool crank. Taking a dip is very comfortable. It’s so quiet and deserted.

Coconut water here is excellent, or because we were hungry, we drink 2 coconuts. On the way, we visit Thap Doi (Twin Tower). The tower is open until 4 pm only, so you should go soon.

In the afternoon, we turned toward Quy Hoa leper’s hospital. This place was peaceful. You did not have to fear of contamination. The leper hospital is along the Quy Hoa beach. The beach is sandy, gentle, and full of coconut. We met a street trader, bought a bowl of a strange snail. It was crunchy and sweet. When searching on the internet, it looked like Oc vu nang (She screws Breasts) – the specialty of Con Dao island.

If you have time, climb up Vung Chua to watch the overview of Quy Nhon Vietnam or take panorama pictures. From the top down to the Quy Hoa leper hospital, look across the highway, see the signs of the resort (Sorry I do not remember the name); go straight that road; then you reach the top of Vung Chua.

Day 3: Ghenh da Dia, Nhan Tower, Tuy Hoa
The third day, we still stayed in the bed late so we depart late as well. From Quy Nhon City, we took the bus right at Quy Nhon University. There was a bus running straight Tuy An district, Phu Yen. We arrived at one gas station. We asked people here to keep our 2 backpacks (people here are very gentle and sincere, should not worry about losing your items. However, you should take any valuable items with you for safe). Then we asked him for help by calling the motorbike taxi. At 11 am, the driver came. He rode so fast that both of us have our hearts in our mouths. However, we still tried to watch around to find anything interesting along the road. It was horribly sunny on that day. The sky was blue, white clouds were scattered. Finally, we reached Genh Da Dia. It is pretty amazing. Blackened stone by stone, block by block, all eight episodes as arranged fins, pure water, fresh, foamy waves and white sand and sky is beautiful that my words are not enough to describe.
After taking a series of photos, playing in 2 hours, we were suntanned.
This was a new development area, tourists only came here to play just one moment and came back, so there were only small greasy spoons, if you want to eat in restaurants with many dishes, you can take a taxi or motorbike going to O Loan Lagoon area within a few kilometers. There is fresh seafood and it is moderately cheap. We had eaten seafood for several days so we took motorcycle taxi uncle back to the gas station. Then we received our backpacks and took the bus back to Tuy Hoa city. As a backpacker, I haven’t seen any place as cheap as in Tuy Hoa.

We rent a beautiful room but not much airy, with 150,000 VND per day. Then we took a taxi to Thap Nhan (Nhan Tower). We wandered in the tower for a while then glided to walk down the bottom. We stopped at the foot of the tower where there is a snack street. We ate a tasty food but naturally forgot the name and the cane juice is surprisingly cheap (only 6000 VND for 2 cups).
After a few days we were exhausted, just wanted to sleep to fly back the following day.

In Tuy Hoa, there are 2 tourist attractions that you should also visit:

  • Mui Dien – Dai Lanh Cape
  • Mui Doi (Khanh Hoa) adjacent to Tuy Hoa. It’s charming.

Source: Visa to Vietnam

Travelling around and about in Vietnam

Getting to and then travelling around and about in Vietnam: - Visas - Flights - Buses - Railways - Car.
Nearly everybody who wishes to enter Vietnam is required to have a Vietnam visa which generally speaking you need to have before arriving into the country. In the U.K. just visit the consular website where you can download an application form, which then can be either posted or taken in person to the Vietnamese Consular Section, 12-14 Victoria Road. Postal applications usually take around 5 working days - the fee for a single-entry 30-day visa for one person was UKstg 44 plus Ukstg 8 handling fee and postage (postage etc is Ukstg 6 each for two people) but this was due to increase in January 2013. You do have to specify your date of entry and a 30-day visa starts from that date i.e. you cannot arrive prior to your chosen date and have to leave Vietnam within 30 days of that date. Vietnamese Visas can easily be extended once you are actually in Vietnam - your hotel travel desk or most travel agencies will assist with this. You can also apply Vietnam visa on arrival if you fly to Vietnam and get the visa at arrival airports. It costs only USD 14 and take you 2 working-days to get an approval letter through email.

Vietnam Flights | International
There are a just a few non-stop flights each week from the U.K. into Vietnam at the moment going to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The cheapest flights from the U.K. (which do involve a stop) will take you as far as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or perhaps cheapest of all into Bangkok - you then have to switch to more localized services to get flights to Hanoi, Saigon or Da Nang. Thai Airlines operate a good link from Heathrow to Bangkok and if you pick the right flights only a short wait for one of their connecting flights on to Saigon or Hanoi.

Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport is the largest airport in north Vietnam and is situated 45kms from Hanoi Old Quarter (Downtown). Hanoi airport provides international flights in and out of Vientiane, Kunming, Guangzhou, Bangkok, Yangon and Taipei amongst others.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport is Vietnam's largest airport and serves Ho Chi Minh City - which is only 6kms to the north of the airport. The airport provides flights to a variety of international places around the Far East including Siem Reap, Da Nang, Haiphong, Phnom Penh, Manila, Guangzhou, Pleiku, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Singapore, Yangon and Bangkok.

Da Nang Airport is still mostly a military set-up although the civilian side of things is apparently being developed, you can get flights to and from Bangkok, Vientiane, Taipei and Phnom Penh however there do not appear to be direct long-distance international flights i.e. from Europe etc...

Airport transfers in Vietnam - certainly in our case the last thing we want to do when coming off a very long international flight is to mess about getting to our hotel. Therefore, we always negotiate a pick up by our hotel in order to save hassle (and of course you know that your hotel room has not been double booked by said hotel...) - generally we found that the hotels did not overcharge for this.

Domestic i.e. internal Vietnam Flights
Internal Vietnam flights are mostly provided by Vietnam Airlines and the airline offers a quick and not too expensive way of covering longer distances where you might not fancy being on a bus for so long. It's worth noting that these internal flights do get very booked up and you should probably get your seats well in advance - this of course can be a nuisance if you are being flexible on where and how long you stay somewhere since you are then committed to moving on. We knew that we wanted to fly from Hanoi to Hue on a certain day so a flight pre-booked worked out but we only booked one other flight whilst on holiday in Vietnam which was from Da Nang to Nha Trang about 10 days later so we more or less kept our flexibility. Hanoi's Airport provides flights within Vietnam to Da Nang, Siem Reap, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City. Tan Son Nhat Airport at Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) provides flights to Da Nang, Hanoi, Nha Trang, Dalat, Hue and Da Nang. Da Nang airport offers flights to Hanoi, Saigon, Hue and Nha Trang.

Trains, buses or car and driver
Roads are often very busy in Viet nam - especially the coastal road south from Hanoi - so there is no real speed advantage in travelling by car and driver hire or by mini bus/coach - in fact the min-buses in particular are probably the fastest moving vehicles on the roads.

Vietnam operates a huge bus network which will get you anywhere within the country at very reasonable cost both long distance sleeper coaches and short hops between towns which are mostly on mini-buses. You do not need to worry about taking luggage on the mini-buses, just book an extra couple of seats for your suitcases if necessary. Most hotel travel desks as well as travel agencies will sort your route, tickets and what buses you need to connect with - and often will arrange local transport to get you to the local bus terminals in the various towns if necessary.
It's worth noting that when you arrive at your destination the chances are the bus station is a little away from your hotel, you will find lots of motorcyclists and tuk-tuk drivers around who will insist there is no taxi service available from the bus station - and want to take you to your hotel often at very inflated rates. Ignore them and just go into the local bus office where they will happily call up a taxi at no charge.

Another option for getting between towns is to hire a car and driver - this is obviously a far more expensive option although very convenient of course. The advantage of car and driver hire in Viet Nam is you can plan a route and stop off at various places on the way or just have the driver stop when you see something you want to look at like a nice river and bridge. Rates for car and driver hire are really negotiable - as you travel south from Hue the rates do get more expensive though. As an example, we hired a car and driver to take us from Hue to Hoi An which was USD55 - another trip from Nha Trang over the hills to Dalat (with an hour or so stop at some temples on the way) was USD80.

Vietnam Useful Bits
Vietnamese Currency: The currency used in Vietnam is the Dong - you cannot buy any Dong until you arrive in the country. The main airports all have currency exchange facilities as well as ATMs - in fact ATMs are present all over Vietnam so there is never a problem getting some cash that we found. Most hotels in Vietnam and also any trips and so on are always actually quoted in US Dollars although you can of course pay in Dong. If you pay at hotels by credit card they will actually take the money in US Dollars and then it all gets converted back. So basically, it is worth having a few hundred US Dollars available - also Euros can be easily used/exchanged.

Time in Vietnam: Have a look at this Vietnam time and date facility to see the time differences and perhaps avoid waking up a relative or friend with somewhat early phone call. Incidentally Vietnam's International Dialling Code is +84

Vietnam Hotels and Rooms: There is a huge variety in the standard of quality and therefore price for hotels in Vietnam - many of them are present on the Web so you can easily book your next stay as you travel through the country. As we travelled south from Hanoi the prices for hotels did increase quite a bit especially after leaving Nha Trang. Dalat hotels are quite expensive and probably compare with Hanoi hotels but once you travel into the Mekong Delta things vary enormously. Mekong Delta locations such as My Tho and Vinh Long hotels were quite cheap but Chau Doc was expensive (probably because of the few hotels available there). Of interest we never stayed at any hotel whilst in Viet nam where the internet was not free of charge which is of course very useful for planning your next travel stage.

Eating and Dining in Vietnam: Hanoi restaurants mostly offered fairly basic and inexpensive food which often seemed a little bland - as you travel south the food improves with both taste and quality plus much more choice of restaurants - however the prices ever increase the further south you go. There are certainly plenty of Indian Restaurants located in and around most towns in Vietnam. Once you get deeper into The Mekong you may find far less choice in restaurants, sometimes only your hotel may be an option for eating out. Certainly, Vinh Long and My Tho are somewhat short of choice for eating out.

Visit Nha Trang Vietnam

A beautiful bay, distant islands dotting the horizon, miles of white sand beaches and a ring of mountains protecting its city has made Nha Trang a tourist magnet, and rightfully so. This is a spectacular spot, a great place to hit the Vietnamese coastline and a good option for breaking up any journey through the country. Nha Trang, meaning “white sand” in Vietnamese, is the perfect stopping point between Saigon and Hoi An if you are travelling overland but well worth the visit regardless of your route through Vietnam. Home of Dr. Alexandre Yersin, famous for his research on the bubonic plague, and in an unrelated agricultural side note, for introducing rubber trees into Indochina, Nha Trang has an interesting history. Known as ‘Kathura’ by the Cham people, Nha Trang was for many centuries part of the southern lands of the Champa kingdom, a mighty Hindu empire that stretched from an area near Hue all the way south to Phan Thiet (The Champa Kingdom began to shrink around the 15th century under the weight of the ever-expanding Vietnamese civilization.)

Why not go
Over the years as Nha Trang’s reputation has grown as a beach and party town, package tourists have come a running! Many visitors fly into Nha Trang for a brief holiday where their only aim is to drink the nights away. As such it isn’t the quietest of towns. Sadly, many of these tourists, and their money, have attracted some less salubrious characters so watch your step in Nha Trang. If you’re not up for the development that tourism has brought to the town, particularly along the shoreline, there are other more authentic and pristine beach alternatives along Vietnam’s incredible coastline, including Phu Quoc Island.

Why go
There’s plenty on offer in Nha Trang to suit all appetites, likes and budgets! The weather is fantastic, particularly in the middle of the year. You can swim, snorkel, eat seafood, visit mud baths, art galleries and party and that’s just day one! If you are looking for local then Nha Trang is a great visit, from bbq lobster and cold beer on the street, to a buzzing local market there’s so much to see here if you can find a break from the tourists. Just south of Nha Trang at Cam Ranh bay is Asia’s largest deep-water shelter natural harbour.

Best time to go
Nha Trang is best sometime between May and November, that is, outside of the rainy season as it’s hot and sunny. Regardless of when you visit, the beach is best enjoyed in the mornings before midday (the locals will be there from 5am to avoid the sun). Around lunch the winds usually pick up and the water becomes less calm. During the rainy season the beach often looks, and is, dirty.

Where to stay in Nha Trang
Hotel options vary enormously from private islands getaways to local backpacker $10 a night guesthouse. Only a few years ago Vinpearl island/hotel was completed with an enormous cable car linking the island to the mainland, it’s hard to miss!

Back on the mainland there’s hundreds of hotels in Nha Trang to choose from to cater to all types of travelers. Many can be found on the main road (Tran Phu) fronting the beach. However, if you step back a block and head down (Hung Vuong) there are many more (slightly cheaper) options. If you are looking for a romantic getaway the Evason Ana Mandara hotel (Tran Phu street) is a must. Located right on the beach it’s an oasis of peace and tranquility, and a respite from the tourist masses.

Where to eat / dine
My favorite restaurant in Nha Trang is a smoky volcano bbq restaurant called Lac Canh (Nguyen Binh Khiem street). The fresh seafood is great but make sure you try the spring rolls – they are enormous!
The ambience and food at the sailing club (72-74 Tran Phu street) make it an excellent upmarket choice. Set right on the beach it’s a great place to go for sunset cocktails and dinner, but from about 8pm onwards it transforms into a beach party and nightclub. If you wander down Biet Thu street (running away from the beach) there are some fantastic seafood restaurants and local bars. Some of the restaurants have fresh seafood on ice out the front which they will barbecue up for you with the sauce of your choice. Try Truc Linh 2 (corner of Biet Thu and Hung Vuong).

Nightlife in Nha Trang
Again, there’s something to suit everyone in this party town. From beautiful sunset cocktails to dance clubs, local bars and even “bia hoi” options. There’s bound to be something in Nha Trang that’ll tickle your fancy. The Sailing Club is a good option as is Guava bar which is just around the corner (17 Biet Thu.) However, if you are after a different experience head on over to Crazy Kim’s bar (19 Biet Thu street), this place is unique. The premise of the bar is to help stop local children falling prey to the sex tourism industry. It’s a happening bar, plus it’s great that Crazy Kim (the manager/owner) is turning her profits into a way out for these children.

My to do list

  • A boat trip out to the islands. A trip to Nha Trang would be incomplete without a day on the boat. Feast on a sumptuous seafood lunch, wander through a fishing village on one of the islands, ride in a conical (bamboo) basket and snorkel in crystal clear water … what more could you want in a day?!
  • The mud baths (Thap Ba hot spring center). This is a fantastic and really enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Not as dirty as they sound, just north of town natural hot springs are mixed with some “therapeutic” mud to give you your very unique bathing experience. Great fun and an interesting way to spend an afternoon. Taxis will run you out there in about 15 mins but I’d highly recommend taking a cyclo ride out to the baths as it’s a fun way to see life on the streets.
  • The Po Nagar (Cham tower) is a lovely well restored vestige of the Champa culture. Easily accessible from town Po Nagar rises above the Cai river offering gorgeous views over brightly colored fishing boats and Nha Trang in the background.
  • Long Thanh’s black and white photo gallery (126 Hoang Van Thu street) Call first to make sure Long or his wife will be at his studio. His photos are amazing, a little expensive but a great reminder of your trip to Vietnam. His gallery is definitely worth a visit if you are a photographer.
  • Scuba diving. See rainbow divers (Biet Thu street)

Stay away from
The beach late at night. Sadly, it is not the most savoriest of places, although it has been ‘cleaned up’ recently. There are often ‘ladies of the night’ about and they have been known to approach inebriated travelers and affectionately relieve them of wallets, cameras, passports etc. If you are heading out for a night on the town leave your valuables in your hotel safe and don’t walk along the beach alone at night, particularly after you’ve had a few drinks.

Getting there
There are bus connections to all major destinations out of Nha Trang including south to Mui Ne, inland to Dalat and north to Quy Nhon and Hoi An. The train is another option which runs north – south and Nha Trang’s new (but small) domestic airport located about 30 kms south of town has flights to most major destinations in Vietnam.


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