Bai Dai Beach
A great, little-known getaway spot
What we say:
If Nha Trang beach isn't exactly what you're looking for, you might enjoy a jaunt over to Bai Dai (which means 'long beach' and is pronounced 'bye-yai'). It's 19 km from the outskirts of Nha Trang, to the south, along the relatively new road that cuts through the coastal mountains to the Cam Ranh Airport. The beach is a long, beautiful stretch of sand that extends for ten kilometres or more along an arc-shaped bay.
There's a long row of beach-side, seafood restaurants, of the make-shift bamboo and canopy variety, clustered at the northern end of the beach, and the rest of it is just deserted. The restaurants provide a great place to laze away the day in canvas lounge chairs and enjoy excellent, very fresh seafood -- not dirt cheap, but about what you'd pay in Nha Trang proper. The restaurant owners and staff live on the beach, so they open when the first customer comes and close when the last one leaves. There's a wide band of shallow water close to the shore, which makes it a better swimming spot for some. There's a bit of fishing boat activity here, but the water is still good and clean. It's a great getaway spot that most western tourists know nothing about.
More details19km south of Nha Trang
How to get there: To get here, you have to find the Cau Binh Tan bridge to the south of Nha Trang. You can get to the bridge directly from the southern end of the beach, but be sure to budget some time to get good and lost in the maze of roads along the way. The sure-fire way to get here is to find Le Hong Phong street in town, and head south. The turn-off for the bridge is on the right on Nguyen Tat Tanh Road -- it doesn't look very promising, but it takes you where you want to go. Once you cross the bridge, take a right, and it's 19 km to the beach -- the new road has definitely left its marks in the rock face of the hills along the coast, but the ride is still stunningly beautiful as it climbs up hills and hugs the shoreline. When you get to where the road is split by a wide median (there's a big billboard for the Vin Pearl that you can't miss) take an immediate left onto the dirt road that leads to the beach and the restaurants. If you stop and ask for directions be sure to say 'bye yai' not 'bye dai,' or they might think you're saying, 'seven radio stations.' No wonder they're looking at your like you're crazy.
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