A dot on the coast between Phan Rang Thap Cham and popular Mui Ne, Ca Na is a fishing village/Highway 1A truck stop that happens to have a stretch of rather pretty beach. As such, a smattering of places to stay run along this strip of sand and bright blue water, though the trucks whizzing by on the highway diminishes the serenity somewhat.
Ca Na is well off the Western tourist radar and true, there isn’t much going on here, but not everyone should write it off completely. If you want to get away from the foreign tourist beach scene, this could be a place to do so and we’d recommend a stop over night if it means getting to do the absolutely jaw-dropping 50-kilometre coastal drive to Phan Rang Thap Cham. That drive, along with a stop at Mui Dinh beach, is to be savoured and well worth the extra 20 kilometres than going via the busy highway. Seriously, parts of it are seriously stunning.
In terms of tourism and accommodation, Ca Na feels like a place in decline rather than on the upswing. Several oceanfront places are ragged and rooms have as much charm as an incarceration facility, yet they can get away with the rather high rates. Ca Na sees a relative amount of success as a Vietnamese tourist seaside getaway and on the weekend, all the joints are full of families. You’ll also see the occasional Pegas Touristik Russian tour bus roll through for a lunch stop or an overnight at Hon Co Ca Na Resort.
There’s a public area beside Cana Hotel and another three kilometres west, on Highway 1A. Aside from swimming, you can take a look at the picturesque harbour, get a whiff of the vats of fish sauce and stroll through the fishing village during the relative safety of day light – this is hard-core fishermen territory, a drink-all-day, fish-all-night way of life. It’s prudent to avoid it at dark.
Be a ragged rascal and run around the rugged, oven-hot hills that flank the highway. Chua Lac Son Pagoda is halfway up and you can get a view of the water and sunset. When you’re hungry, all the accommodation have restaurants that cater to bus lunch stops and guests. You can count on some fresh seafood and rice dishes.
The town has sprung up around arterial Highway 1A. The beachfront hotels and guesthouses line Highway 1A as it runs west to east along the coast before it veers up inland, straight north to Phan Rang-Thap Cham. The local population live in a fishing village to the east of Highway 1A.
There is one Sacombank ATM on the highway.
No English spoken at the establishments. If you are relying on public transport, it is tricky as hotels don’t rent motorbikes or bicycles and xe om are scarce.
We had previously included coverage of Vinh Hao, the area 15-20 kilometres west of Ca Na along Highway 1A/the coast, primarily because of the now defunct Vietnam Scuba outfitter and resort. With no scuba, two enormous power plants and a massive army of workers to run it, there’s no reason a tourist would want to dally in gritty and industrial Vinh Hao.
By Cindy Fan.
Last updated on 14th October, 2016.