Photo: Seafood at the ready.

Phoung Mai Peninsula

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One can hardly fail to notice the huge statue of Vietnamese hero Tran Hung Dao on the edge of a peninsula jutting out into the bay to the north as you look out to sea from Qui Nhon beach.

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

It's meant to be viewed from a distance, not visited, but the curious will still want to get up close. It makes for a good, brief excursion.

You can't get to the statue by land -- the Phuong Mai Peninsula is completely cut off by mountains. To catch the boat, head east on Tran Hung Dao St until you're almost at the port and take a left on Ham Tu St. It leads to a pier -- you can securely park your motorbike, if you have one, for 1,000 dong at one of the places near the pier. The boats to Hinh Mai (the town on the other side) gather right at the base of the pier. The boatmen will try to get you to pay 100,000 for a round trip, but if you want to save money, wait around. Locals have to get to the other side, too, and once someone's boat fills up you'll find the price going down -- we paid 15,000 each way.

Once on the other side, you'll have to scramble up the rocky bank of the quay to the get to the village. Like a lot of Vietnamese towns that developed without road access, Hinh Mai has no streets to speak of -- just narrow alleys and walkways snaking among the buildings. If you keep heading towards the statue, the locals will keep pointing you in the right direction. Finally, you'll come across a sign that says, Restricted Area, Do Not Enter, in English and Vietnamese. That's where you enter. There's a switchback road that leads up to the monument. There's nothing much there but an up-close and personal view of the goliath, but it should satisfy your curiosity. If your boatman will wait for you, spend some time exploring the village and stopping for a bite to eat.

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