Established by Vietnam’s last dynasty and used as a military base during the Vietnam War, Tam Ky is a coastal city and capital of the Quang Nam Province. Structured around a flat landscape, the city has three rivers flowing through it and the East Sea sits just on the horizon.
Life in Tam Ky is laid back and the tourist crowds are much smaller than the neighboring cities of Da Nang and Hôi An. Often called the “City of Dreams”, Tam Ky amazes with its natural, historic, and religious attractions.
Coastal Capital of the Quang Nam Province
Tam Ky is a small city in Vietnam’s South Central Coast Region. Even though the city is the provincial capital, Tam Ky isn’t very well-known amongst international tourists. Overshadowed by Da Nang and Hoi An, which are just to the north, most tourists will visit Tam Ky for a half-day or full-day excursion.
More popular with local tourists, Tam Ky’s biggest perks are having amazing beaches, historic sites, and smaller crowds. Creating a trio with Da Nang and Hoi An, Tam Ky sits on its own, further south along the coast. Da Nang is the furthest north from Tam Ky with drive time taking about 1 and a ½ hours. Slightly closer to Tam Ky, Hoi An is less than 1 hour away from Tam Ky.
Vietnam’s big cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are very far away. Hanoi is about 839 km (521 mi) to the north and HCMC is 887 km (551 mi) to the south. For tourists coming from the big cities, most will arrange to take a flight to Da Nang. Once in Da Nang, public and private transportation are easy to arrange to get to Tam Ky.
While the region around Tam Ky has been occupied by humans for thousands of years, the city as it is now known was established not that long ago. Formed as a small town in 1906 during the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam’s last ruling dynasty, Tam Ky was originally used as an administrative center and tax post.
For decades, Tam Ky remained a small town without much development. It wasn’t until the Republic of Vietnam, which existed from 1955 to 1975, that Tam Ky began to expand.
Before the Quang Nam Province, Tam Ky was the capital of the Quang Tín Province. Established in the middle of the Vietnam War, Quang Tín Province became a stronghold for foreign forces. Tam Ky became a military base for both the US and ally forces, and for several years, the base remained under US and South Vietnamese control.
In March 1975, the Battle of Tam Ky started when the base came under attack by rockets from North Vietnam forces.
At the end of the battle, Tam Ky fell to North Vietnam forces. By the end of the Vietnam War, Quang Tín Province was reformed by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and in 1977, it became the Quang Nam Province. Tam Ky remained the capital of the province and since then, it has become known for its golden flowers, chicken rice, My Quang noodles beaches, and historic sites.
- As of 2018, Tam Ky has a permanent population of 165,240.
- The closest airport, Chu Lai International Airport, is 30 km (18.6 mi) away from Tam Ky.
- Tam Ky is interconnected to other cities by the Tam Ky Railway Station, which runs from Northern to Southern Vietnam.
Featuring beach and riverside views, Tam Ky is a dynamic city where visitors will have the opportunity to explore the area’s art, history, and beauty. Somewhat spread out, the attractions in Tam Ky range from inland to the coast. The best attractions in the city are the Ky Anh Tunnels, Tam Thanh Beach, Tam Thanh Mural Village, and Van Thanh Temple.
Ky Anh Tunnels
Stretching for nearly 32 km (20 mi), the Ky Anh Tunnels were opened to tourists in 2017 after being excavated for decades. Once a secret place used during the war to shelter soldiers, the tunnels end at the Thach Tan Communal House in the Tam Thang Commune. The main entrance to the tunnel is hidden within a wall and it fits only one person.
Making zig zags and bends, there are multiple entrances with manhole-like coverings. Tourists can now view the tunnels, both where it starts and ends.
Tam Thanh Beach
Close to the village, Tam Thanh Beach is the best sandy spot to visit in Tam Ky. Lined with coconut trees, the beach is wide and long. The fine sand is clean and it’s normally not too busy, however, the beach can see large spikes in tourists. Nonetheless, during quiet times, Tam Thanh Beach is like having your own private paradise.
Tam Thanh Mural Village
Colorful, cheery, and bright, Tam Thanh Mural Village is often a priority for tourists in Tam Ky. The village sits on the coast and is famous for having buildings covered in stunning art murals. Featured on businesses and homes, the murals vary from simple designs to detailed masterpieces.
There isn’t a map of specific murals, so visitors will just have to spend time walking around the village to view the art.
Van Thanh Temple
The Van Thanh Temple is a religious site dedicated to Confucius that dates back hundreds of years. Covering a large area, the temple itself is small and features ornate carvings and a traditional curved roof. Inside, the temple holds historical artifacts and religious shrines. On the temple grounds, there is a bell tower, bridge, and multiple gardens.
As a developed tourist destination, Tam Ky has a wide variety of hotels and hostels for travelers at any price point. Tam Ky’s best hotels are Ba Co Boutique Hotel, Golden Lantern Tam Thanh Homestay, Muong Thanh Grand Quang Nam, Tui Blue Nam Hoi An, and Tubotel Bao Hân.
Ba Co Boutique Hotel – Steps from Tam Thanh Beach, Ba Co Boutique Hotel is a luxurious property with a restaurant, bar, playground, sun terrace, and garden with a pond. Highly rated amongst international tourists, rooms have a private bathroom and quality amenities. Nestled in a great location, guests can spend time at the beach and visit the Tam Thanh Mural Village.
Golden Lantern Tam Thanh Homestay – Very affordable and highly rated, Golden Lantern Tam Thanh Homestay is a great place for backpackers or travelers on a budget. Rooms at the property have been divided into private and shared spaces. At the property, common spaces include the patio, garden, and restaurant.
Additionally, the homestay is just over 1 mile from the Tam Thanh Mural Village, so visitors can easily walk to view one of the city’s top attractions.
Muong Thanh Grand Quang Nam – In the heart of Tam Ky, Muong Thanh Grand Quang Nam is an incredible resort in a prime location. A large property, which comes somewhat as a surprise because of its city location, the hotel has two swimming pools, a playground, and a terrace. Facilities include the fitness center, spa, bar, and restaurant.
Every room includes a seating area and a private bathroom. Staff at the hotel run a 24-hour front desk and can help arrange for transportation or local tours.
Tui Blue Nam Hoi An – Located in the Nu Thanh District, Tui Blue Nam Hoi An is a 5-star luxury resort. Absolutely stunning and with individual apartments as well as hotel rooms, the property ensures that guests feel special during their vacation. All rooms have a private bathroom and suites have additional seating areas.
On the property, there is a restaurant, outdoor pool, fitness center, business center, and entertainment center. Breakfast is provided every morning with options ranging from gluten-free to continental and vegan.
Tubotel Bao Hân – Just a few minutes drive from the Tam Thanh Mural Village, Tubotel Bao Hân is a modern hotel that has amazing on-site facilities like an outdoor swimming pool, garden, and terrace. All rooms have a TV and a private bathroom, Additionally, the friendly hotel staff provides room service, a 24-hour front desk, and free parking to guests.
Tam Ky is a fun city where the cuisine is an infusion of local favorites and international dishes. While many hotels have on-site restaurants, heading out into the city gives tourists a chance to explore. The best restaurants in Tam Ky include the Eat Pizza Tam Ky, Bún Quây Phú Quôc, and An Ha Restaurant.
Eat Pizza Tam Ky – Everyone loves pizza and this restaurant has been rated as having the best in Tam Ky. Serving a tasty crust with a variety of toppings, Eat Pizza Tam Ky has a friendly owner who cooks delicious food. While pizza is the main dish on the menu, other Italian favorites, like pasta, are also served. With an open space, the restaurant is great for a shared group meal.
Bún Quây Phú Quôc – Another open and airy restaurant serving local favorites is the Bún Quây Phú Quôc. Favorites on the menu include noodles and soup broths. With a homemade taste, visitors love the strong flavors and excellent service. Additionally, the restaurant has an affordable price and generous portions, which is great for travelers on a budget.
An Ha Restaurant – With an amazing dining room and outdoor space, An Ha Restaurant has a cool design and tasty food. Items on the menu tend to be local dishes, but there are a few international options. Staff at the restaurant provide excellent service and a few are multilingual, which is great for travelers who don’t want to worry about having a language barrier.
Festivals in Tam Ky honor the area’s natural beauty. Celebrating the beaches and flowers, the city’s biggest celebrations are unique to the area are held in spring and summer.
The Beach Festival is one of the newest festivals, which is held during mid-June in the city. Earlier in the year, during the months of March and April, the golden flowers are in bloom, which brings celebration and tourism to Tam Ky. During both festivals, locals open their arms to visitors who are interested in experiencing the culture of Tam Ky.
Typical celebrations during the Beach and Sua Flower Festivals include traditional rituals, performances, dances, music, and fun activities. As a part of the festivals, locals often head to the area to sell their handmade goods or fresh flowers on the streets and in the markets.
As a city, Tam Ky is spread out along the flat seaside landscape. For tourists, it isn’t always easy walking between destinations, especially if they want to head inland or to the beach. Sometimes, with miles between locations, transportation will need to be arranged. Taxis are common throughout Tam Ky and they offer affordable rates.
Additionally, some hotels may also provide transportation to their guests in the form of complimentary bicycle rentals or shuttle services. No matter which method is chosen, it is easy to navigate and get around Tam Ky.
Fitting with Vietnam’s overall mild climate, Tam Ky has a wet and dry season. The wet season is the tourist off-season because temperatures are high and there is more rain. The wettest and hottest months of the year are June, July, and August. While visitors do visit in the summer, especially because of the beaches, by far the busiest time for tourists is during the dry season.
The dry weather starts in late October, and it ends in late April. During these months, the temperatures are much lower and there is little rain. Peak tourist times fall during the holiday months of December and January, which is when festivals and celebrations in Tam Ky help bring in the crowds.
Though tourism in Tam Ky is usually more low-key, during the dry months, travelers should book accommodations early.
Used as a destination to escape the crowds, Tam Ky offers the same beauty as Da Nang and Hoi An just without mass tourism. Travelers love the river and ocean landscape as well as the historic sites. With a lot to see and do, Tam Ky may be quieter, but it’s still an exciting place to explore.
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