Approaching from the south, both Highway 1A and the train line head inland to avoid the coastal flood planes -- Sa Hunyh is the first point where they veer east to within a stone's throw of the water -- Quang Ngai is 70km further north and 15 km inland from the sea.
It's geographical position makes Sa Huynh a nice stop-over point for travellers heading north and south -- though not if they are heading by train -- no passenger trains stop here.
As a destination, it has two things to offer: a plethora of restaurants -- a testament to it's role as a pit-stop on the bus line -- and a surprisingly beautiful beach. There is only one place to stay here, but luckily, it's pretty good.
As a cheap room in Quang Ngai won't necessarily be the highlight of your journey, if you're headed there just to visit My Lai, it wouldn't be a bad idea to stay in Sa Huynh, if you can negotiate the logistics of the 85km journey to the site from here.
Then there's the food. Sa Huynh has a few dozens restaurants which heat up when a bus pulls in, and afterwards the staff collapse and wait for the next wave. Arriving between waves is often a matter of waking people up, but they will usually serve you. The Vinh, where, it is extremely likely, you'll be staying, has a good restaurant -- the selection is not wide and the prices hover around 50,000 dong per plate -- hardly bowl of pho prices. But we noticed that if you're actually staying there the prices edge down a bit -- use your bargaining skills and your pity face.
You could spend a week sampling the various restaurants along the beachside of Highway 1 -- we wouldn't expect any haute cuisine but plenty of fresh seafood is available. And, of course, there are plenty of noodle shops and such that are patronised by the locals.
One hotel, The Vinh, sits along the best part of the beach about a kilometre south of the 'town.' There isn't much to it, other than a lot of restaurants, but some basic services are available.
The post office is at the southern edge of town about a kilometre north of the The Vinh, on the east side of the road. Another 500 metres up the road on the same side, you'll find the internet place. There is an Agribank in town, but there won't be much point to going there unless you have US dollars and want to change them to dong. A wider range of services is available in Qui Nhon, 70km up the road.
Looking out from the beach, you can't help but notice a salmon-coloured building perched on a headland to the north. It's a war memorial, and it's only accessible by boat.
Although it is right smack on the train line, Sa Huynh does not serve as a spot on any passenger train route, not even the local trains. There's no bus station, but obviously, any north-south bus can be coaxed to drop you off or pick you up along the main road.
By Don Morgan