Standing on Qui Nhon beach, one can hardly fail to notice the huge statue of Vietnamese hero Tran Hung Dao on the edge of headland. This is actually on an enormous finger of land that forms the Phoung Mai Peninsula and the Qui Nhon government has huge plans for it.
The fact that they’ve built the longest sea bridge in Vietnam gives you an idea of how serious they are. Opened in 2006, the 2,477.7 metre long Thi Nai bridge will hold the title until sometime in 2017, when a new bridge in Hai Phong will surpass it.
Why the bridge? The city is making a big push for tourism and that includes allowing construction of an obscene mega resort on the eastern shore of the peninsula. When we explored in late 2016, a brand new highway ran right down the middle, rather eerie given there were traffic lights and the road was completely empty. The hotel looked to be under construction. Slick fence wraps and banners showed a golf course and renderings of luxury accommodation, while behind it was a construction site sprawled across vast, scrubby desert—most of the peninsula is arid land and sand dunes, which doesn’t bode well for the future prisoners of the Safari Park that we also saw was under construction.
What this means to the independent traveller is that we recommend shifting attention to getting out onto the water around the peninsula, doable in dry season around April to October.
The bridge is impressive and worth taking a ride over. Head to the southern tip of the peninsula to see Nhon Hai, a fairly rough around the edges fishing village that’s good for a few photos.
To get out onto the water and explore this side of the coast, the backpacker friendly way would be to stay in Bai Xep, round up some other travellers and hostels like Big Tree Backpackers can organise a great day out with stops at Hon Kho island, Ky Co beach and an excellent floating seafood restaurant. With a group of people, it can be as little as 170,000 dong for a whole day out, 350,000 dong if factoring in food.
Tourist boats can be hired from Nhon Hai village or Qui Nhon. These large group tours cater to Vietnamese style of travel and expect no English to be spoken. If going this local route, then a private trip will arguably be more enjoyable. We spotted several ads at the village, including one for Phuong Mai Tour.
Phuong Mai Tour: T: (090) 653 5078; https://www.facebook.com/phuongmaitour
By Cindy Fan.
Last updated on 27th February, 2017.
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