Qui Nhơn is one of those places that, even after living in Vietnam for several years, was never on my radar. Unlike Nha Trang, it doesn’t show up on most backpackers’ dream sheets. Unlike Tuy Hòa, it’s not a quiet, homey beach village. Qui Nhơn falls somewhere in the middle.
They’re clearly working on making it a destination much like Nha Trang. There are high-rises going up here and there along the beach. The restaurants have begun catering to foreigners and we definitely did see some of those tourists walking the beach road. The beach itself is a nice one – beating Nha Trang’s, in my opinion. And along the waterside is a nice long beach park. It’s a great place for a stroll with someone special, and perhaps to have a little fun with the marble statues along the way.
While it may not be on the English-language list of destinations, Russian people have clearly gotten the word. Unlike Nha Trang, though, prices are still among the lowest we’ve seen in a beach town, so it’s a great place for budget travelers like us. Additionally, it’s just down the road from Sông Cầu, another iconic little beach town. We stopped at one of its smaller shores to see some fishermen setting out, and a few carpenters at work building floating houses.
Upon leaving, we were soon treated to an unexpected surprise: a large Cham temple just outside of town that we hadn’t seen on the maps. Bánh Ít, like many Cham holy places, is a collection of four towers, but unlike the others we’ve visited thusfar, it’s effectively deserted. The parking area does have an attendant, who collects the 15,000 đong fee ($0.65) per person. It’s well worth climbing the many stairs to see more ancient architecture.
Escape the crowds, play some beach volleyball, visit with history, and enjoy a cheap coffee in Qui Nhơn! Then continue your phượt up Vietnam’s coast!