The coastal city of Quy Nhon lies in the Binh Dinh Province of central Vietnam, five to six hours south of Da Nang and Hoi An, and four to five hours north of Nha Trang.
Quy Nhon has played various important roles in the story of Vietnam, with roots extending back to the 11th century and the Champa Kingdom, evident in the Cham ruins scattered around the region. The town hosted Portuguese Jesuits during the 1620's, operated as a key sea port integral to China’s Ming treasure voyages in the 15th century, birthed 18th-century Vietnamese emperor Nguyen Hue, and had a large American military presence during the Vietnam/American War.
Fast forward to the present day and Quy Nhon is known for beautiful beaches, meandering seaside promenades, as well as fresh seafood, especially in nationally-beloved dishes such as banh xeo tom nhay (jumping shrimps fried pancake), bun cha ca (fish cake rice vermicelli), and cha ram tom dat (shrimp spring roll).
Quy Nhon has been on the domestic tourism radar for a long time, but is slowly emerging as a destination of interest for international travelers due to its unspoiled natural beauty, low-key feel, and historic architecture, plus a collection of new cosmopolitan cafes and bars, which provide a chic and trendy edge to the charming seaside town.
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The best way to arrive in Quy Nhon is in style aboard The Vietage, a luxury train owned by the Anantara hotel brand. The journey from Hoi An takes around six hours, during which passengers can recline in glamorous vintage rail cars; sipping champagne, indulging in a gourmet dining experience, and releasing tension with a head and shoulder massage – all while scenes of rural Vietnam roll past the carriage windows.
It’s hard to miss Quy Nhon’s main pagoda, Long Khanh, due to the 55-foot statue of the Buddha that stands here. The site dates back to the 16th century (though the giant Buddha was added in 1972) and is noted for its intricate design, vibrant mosaics with dragon motifs, large drums and bells, as well as friendly monks.
The quiet fishing village of Bai Xep sits on a perfect stretch of sand with clear lapping waters. Activities to enjoy here include paddling a coracle (traditional circular-shaped boat) to nearby islands, hiking up to a waterfall and hidden lagoon, and learning fishing tips from the locals.
As a former central hub of the Cham Empire, there are a number of historic buildings dating back to the 11th to 15th centuries around Quy Nhon. The most impressive are the Thap Doi Cham towers and the Hoang De Citadel, the latter of which was expanded by Emperor Nguyen Nhac in the 1780’s and occupied by the Nguyen Dynasty.
A peculiar addition to any traveler’s itinerary, pretty Quy Hoa was founded as a leper colony in 1929, though the residents loved the area so much, they decided to stay on. Attractions include elegant French colonial architecture, a wide selection of great restaurants and food stalls, as well as the Han Mac Tu pagoda, the hillside tomb of a mystical poet, which boasts incredible ocean vistas. You can also visit the former leper hospital, which encompasses a model village and still operates as a dermatology clinic.
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Never heard of Quy Nhon? It’s not exactly secret, and it’s not exactly on the tourist trail. But, a new hotel is putting this underappreciated destination on the luxury traveler map.
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