Phu Yen is a coastal province in South-Central Vietnam, located on 1A highway – the most important route from North to South of Vietnam. Bestowed with unparalleled coastline and spectacular geographic structures, Phu Yen has gain significant popularity among local travellers, especially after one of the movies was casted here. Grand, Peaceful and so many Shades of Green and Blue. Here are some things and recommended itinerary to catch up once you’re there!
How to get to Tuy Hoa – Phu Yen
You are open to so many choices to get to Tuy Hoa: by train, plane, bus or even motorbike.
Tuy Hoa airport is a new civil airport (upgraded from old military airport) and VietnamAirline is the only airline that offers flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to Tuy Hoa. The fare is from $50 to $75. With a bit of luck and planning, you might be able to get one for under $50. Mine took me just $25 to fly from Sai Gon. Good luck!
The city center is 10 km away from the airport, which you can move by motortaxi (we call them hugged vehicle – xe ôm) or regular taxi. In Central Vietnam, Mai Linh is very reputed taxi so I recommend grabbing one instead of lower price ones.
From Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city (Sai Gon), you will get to Phu Yen on Thong Nhat train.
From Hanoi, the fastest train to Tuy Hoa is SE3, leaves at 10pm and arrives at 8pm the next day (too long!).
From Sai Gon, the fastest trains are SE2 and SE4, leaves in the evening and arrives at Tuy Hoa in the early morning of next day.
Tuy Hoa train station is in the city center. From there, you can walk to Tran Hung Dao street, which is loaded with hotels and other choice of accommodations.
Actually, train is not much cheaper than plane, so I think you should go by plane to save time. Planning and booking ahead can get you an even cheaper air ticket than train.
Phu Yen is very much down south and far from Hanoi, so consider that when you choose bus to get there. It will be a long ride. Saigon is a little more convenient, but not much really. Phu Yen is like in the middle.
If you start from Sai Gon by bus, you can consider some reputed bus firms below:
– Hoang Long bus, +8482.2438.989 – Mien Dong bus station (bến xe Miền Đông – 292 Dinh Bo Linh street – Binh Thanh – Ho Chi Minh City).
– Cuc Tu, +848.3901.9090 or +84982.524.227 – Mien Dong bus station.
– Thuan Thao bus, +8483.5112.957 or +8491.3482.369 – Mien Dong bus station.
– Thanh Ban, +8457.3851.195 – Mien Dong bus station.
The distance between Sai Gon and Tuy Hoa is over 500km (about 320 miles), taking over 10 hours.
Travelling in Tuy Hoa
When arriving in Tuy Hoa, you can rent scooters or cars for travelling. You can ask from your hotel or contact a few numbers below:
Scooters (about $7/day):
– Mr. Sang: +84934.074.522
– Mr. Hien: +84987.015.441
– Mr. Tuan: +84126.6508.613
– Phu Thien Hung company: +8457.3827.979
– Anh Tuan Company: +845.3823.569
In addition, you can also rent package taxi and pay based on total of travelling distance or stops. You should clearly negotiate price, times, itinerary, stops beforehand. If you back later than the agreed itinerary, you may have to pay more for driver. Rest assured that Tuy Hoa is not a tourist city and people are really friendly. And also keep in mind that you will need to travel a lot to get to the attractions, get a good travel vehicle deal is a must.
Hotels in Tuy Hoa – Phu Yen
Tuy Hoa is not hot tourist spot like Da Nang or Nha Trang so rates are not high at all. There’re also many choices, you should pick hotels in city center for convenient travelling. Here are some good ones.
– Cong Doan hotel at 53 -Doc Lac street, $15/room, breakfast included.
– An Phat hotel at 35 – Le Loi, $7/double room, large and clean room.
– Nhiet Doi hotel at 216 – Nguyen Hue. Positive reviews from previous customers!
– Cendeluxe Tuy Hoa (5-star hotel) at 02 – Hai Duong street, under $50/room.
Restaurants in Tuy Hoa
I love Tuy Hoa for its wide range of specialties and snacks, very tasty and cheap. Here are some good restaurants I’ve tried:
– Bánh bèo (Duckweed-shaped cake) restaurant at the foot of Nhan tower, $0.7 / plate (too cheap!).
– Oyster porridge at 373 – Nguyen Hue, price from $0.6 to $1.
– Bo Ne (a dish made from beef) at 3 – Nguyen Thai Hoc street, $1.7/serve.
– Banh Hoi Long Heo, little pieces of rice noodle served with pig’s intestine – At the foot of Hung Vuong bridge.
– Banh My at Co Be restaurant, 136 Nguyen Hue, $0.5 / one.
– Chicken-rice at 189 Le Thanh Ton, $0.7/plate.
– Ice cream on Duy Tan street, opposite Coop Mart supermarket.
– Che (chè), a very popular colorful sweet snack in Vietnam, on Le Loi street.
– Seafood, you can find a lot of foods on Bach Dang street, or Nguyen Hue – Luong Van Chanh intersection. Cheap price and fresh, tasty seafood.
Or enjoying specialty tuna at Mrs. Tam restaurant at Le Duan – Dien Bien Phu intersection. The tastiest dishes are tuna salad and tuna eye.
– Coffee at Sky Lounge cafe in Cendeluxe hotel. You can drink coffee and watch the city at night.
3-day itinerary in Tuy Hoa – Phu Yen
Day 1: In Tuy Hoa
Day 2: Tuy Hoa – Da Bia mountain – Vung Ro port – Dai Lanh lighthouse – Da Nong estuary
Day 3: Tuy Hoa – Da Dia beach – Mang Lang church – O Loan swamp
Day 1: Visiting sites in Tuy Hoa
If you arrive in Tuy Hoa at early morning, probably spend whole morning to find room and rest down a bit after a long trip. So, maybe you can start exploring from early afternoon. Here are some places to include on your day.
– Nhan tower (tháp Nhạn – A tower-pagoda of Cham ethnic group) on Nhan mountain (núi Nhạn): The tower is quite big, you can also see it clearly from the foot of the mountain. In the evening, the tower is beautifully lit by lots of lights.
– Da Rang river (sông Đà Rằng) or Ba river, a symbol of Tuy Hoa. You can watch the river from Da Rang bridge or Hung Vuong Bridge.
– Going a bit further, you can up Chop Dai mountain (núi Chóp Dài – 400m or 1300 ft high ) to see panoramic city and all of the greeny rice fields outside Tuy Hoa. Note that, at the peak, there’s a military station, you are not allowed to take photos of this station but you can enter the station and climb up a tower to take photos of the entire city below, just politely request it.
On Chop Dai mountain, there’re also a few pagodas: Hoa Son, Minh Son, Khanh Son while at the foot of mountain is the very big and beautiful Bao Lam pagoda. Take a look!
– Towards late afternoon, you can go to 1/4 Square for a drink and feel sea wind. There’re a lot of locals gathering in the square around this time. Not bad for making some local connections.
Day 2: Tuy Hoa – Da Bia mountain – Vung Ro port – Dai Lanh lighthouse – Da Nong estuary
Time for hiking and tanning! Day 2 will cover the south of Phu Yen province. It’s most beautiful to drive along the coastal line to enjoy the beautiful sea up from the mountain pass during sunny day time and then ideally back to town following the 1A highway.
– Morning: straight to Mount Da Bia (núi Đá Bia) in Ca mountain pass (đèo Cả). From Tuy Hoa, you can follow 1A highway southwards that leads you up the mountain pass. Keep going, you will see Da Bia eco-tourism zone on your left side. The mountain is very famous for its gigantic stone on top of the highest peak, visible from far away. This stone was put up by King Le Thanh Tong in 471 as border with Cham Kingdom after the conflict.
You will have to trek for about 1.5 or 2 hours to get to the stone. From there, you will have an amazig broad view of Vung Ro bay and Phong Van bay (of Khanh Hoa province), a very impressive scene.
Or if you don’t have the mood for trekking, go ahead and spend some time visiting Vung Ro bay. Not a bad choice as well!
– Noon. You should enjoy Dai Lanh squid (mực Đại Lãnh) at the foot of Ca mountain pass. Order a hot pot of squid at just about $10 – $13 for 4 people. Dai Lanh squid is very famous, they’re very small, just a bit bigger than finger size but very fresh and tasty.
+ The first stop is Vung Ro port. If possible, try to stop by Vung Ro in the early morning to watch fishing boats returning to the port from a productive fishing nigh. Such very bustling scene! Half a century ago during the Vietnam war, Vung Ro port was where legendary ships from the North with secret weapons known as “no number ships” ported.
+ Next is Dai Lanh lighthouse, a must-see in the itinerary of day 2. The lighthouse is in Dai Lanh cape (mũi Đại Lãnh), close to the easternmost point of Vietnam. You can park vehicles at the foot of lighthouse and climb up. If you want to sleep overnight at the lighthouse and watch sunrise on the next day, try asking from the guarding soldiers.
+ The final stop is Da Nong estuary (cửa sông Đà Nông). The road from Dai Lanh to Da Nong is very beautiful and peaceful. Just stop and take photos whenever you like.
Day 3: Tuy Hoa – Da Dia beach – Mang Lang church – O Loan swamp.
On day 3, you will go Northwards, along the coastal road, along many beautiful beaches of Phu Yen province. Unspoiled, quite and pristine. That’s what melts so many hearts, including mine. On the go, you will travel along the beaches of Long Thuy, Xep, Ganh Yen, Cu Lao Mai Nha, etc. Stop at one of them and rent boats to one of the islets is also a cool idea.
Keep going along coastal road, you will get to Gành Đá Đĩa(The Cliff of Stone Plates), famous for its formation of unique plate-like stone layers. Very close to Da Dia is Ganh Den lighthouse, which in my opinion worth the visit even more than the Ganh Đá Đĩa. The grand structure of stone and rock at the foot of the lighthouse is thrilling! WILD ROCK ON THE EDGE OF THE FIERCE SEA!
+ On the way back, go along 1A highway to get Mang Lang church (nhà thờ Mằng Lăng) – one of oldest churches in Vietnam, built 120 years ago. Quite alike the Notre Dame in Hanoi, this one is also based on Gothic architecture with many unique patterns on the vast ground of about 5000m2.
+ Keep going along 1A highway, you will see Tuy An wooden bridge – the longest wooden bridge of Phu Yen. Make turn to O Loan swamp (đầm Ô Loan) right here! This place is famous for blood oyster. Look for Tuan restaurant (quán Tuấn), it serves cheap and tasty food, and if lucky enough, let you enjoy your treat in the sunset light on O Loan swamp.
So that’s it! Recommended itinerary for 3 days in Phu Yen! If you have more time, check out places like Hinh river dams (đập thủy điện Sông Hinh), Thi Thung tunnels (địa đạo Thì Thùng), Vuc Hom waterfall (thác Vực Hòm),… If you have any question, just leave them in the comment section. I will be more than happy to share with you my experiences.
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