Set on a broad sweep of sand and backed by green hills, Quy Nhon is an up-and-coming destination for those in the know
Quy Nhon, the capital of Binh Dinh Province, has a population of nearly 300,000 and is a true beachside city. While its northern sister Nha Trang has exploded with resort and hotel development and visitor numbers have soared, Quy Nhon has followed a much more low-key course. However, this does not mean its natural beauty is any less spectacular and the city’s setting, fronted by a broad sweep of sand and backed by green hills, means it is beginning to pull in the crowds. Alongside the knock-out beaches, Quy Nhon is also famed for its Cham ruins dating back centuries and, more unusually, a leper colony where patients still live and work today.
Things to do
Going into detail
The main pagoda in town, Long Khanh is very easy to find thanks to the massive 17m tall Buddha that stands proud here. The pagoda has a long history dating back to the 16th century, although the giant Buddha was added more recently (in 1972). The decoration is intricate, with brightly coloured dragon mosaics. Also in the grounds are a huge drum and an equally impressive giant bell. The monks here are particularly friendly, so don’t be shy about having a wander around the grounds.
Sands of time
The city of Quy Nhon sits on a broad, majestic stretch of sand that rivals that of its northern sister, Nha Trang. The beachfront promenade has benefited from investment and been smartly spruced up, with wide pavements that are popular with locals and Vietnamese tourists who step out for an evening stroll or a dawn tai chi session. What’s more, venture a little further from town either to the north or south and you’ll be able to find a desert beach opens in new window all your own.
Quy Nhon and the area that surrounds it were central to the Cham Empire that once flourished here. Easily reachable on a 2km cycle ride, the Thap Doi Cham towers are excellent examples of Cham period architecture. The towers are best visited at dusk when the changing colours of the sky provide an atmospheric backdrop for some stunning photo opportunities.
This is truly one for die-hard history fans. Located 27 km from the city, the Hoang De Citadel was once a stronghold of Cham culture but the area faced onslaught by the Vietnamese and served as a capital of the Tay Son brothers’ kingdom. Today, the citadel walls are still in evidence and there are a few Cham ruins in the area.
Perhaps one of the most bizarre tourist attractions out there, the Quy Nhon leper colony, founded in 1929 by the French, is well worth a visit. Less than 2km from town, the village sits on the extremely pretty Quy Hoa beach, which is one of the most delightful in the area. Residents live and work here and there are numerous restaurants and food stalls. While visiting, it’s well worth following the narrow nearby path up to Han Mac Tu pagoda, which has great views over the sand and ocean.
Travel time 1 hour
Taxi Approx VND 420,000 (meter taxis available outside arrivals)Back to top
When to go
The best weather runs from February to October. During this time, temperatures won't dip much below 18°C while the average high is 30°C. However, in the height of summer, during July and August, the temperature can soar and humidity can be extreme. Also, check the forecast for storms from September to December.
Like the rest of Vietnam, the major festival of the year is the Lunar New Year, called Tet. During this time, many of the restaurants and even some of the hotels in Quy Nhon will be closed for business. Tet falls in the first three months of the year, depending on the lunar calendar.Back to top
Quy Nhon itself can be seen on foot and the flat nature of the beach-front boulevards means cycling is a pleasure. However, when the mercury rises, consider taking one of the plentiful taxis or xe om (motorbike taxis). Be aware that while taxis are licensed, xe om are not and you will also have to negotiate a fare for the latter.Back to top