The capital of the Phu Yen Province, Tuy Hoa is a seaside city in South-Central Vietnam. Featuring a mostly flat landscape, there are two mountains, Chop Chai and Nhan, that rise from the horizon. Not quite a tourist destination yet, Tuy Hoa is the perfect destination for travelers who enjoy exploring Vietnam’s quieter provincial cities.
However, the word is spreading about Tuy Hoa’s open coastline and it’s expected that the city will soon be flooded with new construction projects and tourist developments.
Seaside Capital City of the Phu Yen Province
Located at the midway point between Nha Trang of the Khanh Hoa Province and Qui Nhon of the Binh Dinh Province, Tuy Hoa is frequently bypassed by tourists, and it has yet to become a popular destination. Travelers who do travel to Tuy Hoa will be greeted by a picturesque landscape of vacant beaches, wide riverbanks, and green forested mountains.
With the potential and location to become a tourist hotspot, it’s guaranteed to soon become a booming resort destination. As a part of South Central Vietnam, Tuy Hoa sits further away from Vietnam’s capital and famous southern city, Ho Chi Minh (once known as Saigon). Instead, the closest major cities are the popular coastal towns of Nha Trang and Qui Nhon.
While HCMC is about 549 km (341 mi) away, Nha Trang is roughly 118 km (74 mi) to the south of Tuy Hoa. To the north, Qui Nhon is only around 96km (60 mi) away. Most tourists who do visit will likely use the city as a rest stop as they journey between Nha Trang and Qui Nhon. However, leftover from the war, the city does have its own small airport.
Though driving is more popular, there are a limited number of domestic flights from HCMC to Tuy Hoa available. Travelers who are not flying will find that the best way to get to Tuy Hoa is by using a car, bus, or train.
Though Tuy Hoa remains mostly unknown, the city is a historical gem where traces of the past are linked to the days of ancient Vietnam, French colonization, and the Vietnam War. Dating back to the year 192, the Kingdom of Champa extended across Southern Vietnam from the 2nd century to 1832.
In Tuy Hoa during the 4th century, the Champa people built a temple at the summit of Nhan Mountain. To this day, the temple still stands, and it has become an attraction for tourists visiting the city. Centuries later, history would again drastically change Tuy Hoa as the French began to colonize Vietnam.
Under French rule in the 1920s, Vietnamese farmers were recruited to develop Tuy Hoa by running newly established rubber and tea plantations. Subsequently, the lowland environment became an agricultural goldmine with sugarcane, rice, and cotton crops grown throughout the area.
The relocation of the Vietnamese to Tuy Hoa helped the city grow and become a prominent stop along the national coastal highway and railway. Finally, in 1966, Tuy Hoa became a base for the United States Air Force. Used in the fight between North and South Vietnam, the base was chosen because of its strategic placement along the coast.
For more than a decade, the United States ran the base before ultimately giving the South Vietnamese government control in January 1971. After the war, the base was closed and today the site operates as the Tuy Hoa (Dông Tác) Airport.
- The last census completed in 2012 estimates that 202,030 people live in Tuy Hoa.
- The city sits on an alluvial plain of the Da Rang River.
- Tuy Hoa covers an area of 107 sq km (41 sq mi).
With seaside and river landscapes, most of the activities in Tuy Hoa revolve around the beach and water. Flowing through the city, the Da Nang River is vital for both transportation and the local economy. Cultural sites have also left their impact and there are many places of worship open for tours.
Tuy Hoa’s best attractions are Bai Xep Beach, Quang Truong Nghinh Phong, Chua Thanh Luong, Nhan Mountain, Chop Chai Mountain, Tuy Hoa Beach, and the Hon Lao Mai Nha Islet.
Bai Xep Beach
Bai Xep is a secluded beach outside of Tuy Hoa that is well-known for its wide beach and clear water. Lacking the development of resorts and hotels, the beach’s closest community is a quiet fishing village. Rock formations and a hillside backdrop make the beach a top spot for travelers practicing their photography skills.
Quang Truong Nghinh Phong
A futuristic building, Quag Truong Nghinh Phong Tower has caught the eye of many travelers in Tuy Hoa. Jutting out from the skyline, the tower has a unique design that is split down the middle. Leaving a gap just wide enough for a few people, the tower often whistles in the wind. Additionally, it’s also host to a variety of attractions including modern art shows and laser light performances.
Chua Thanh Luong
Sitting 10 km (6.2 mi) outside of Tuy Hoa’s city center, Chua Thanh Luong Phu Yen Temple is one of the most unique places of worship in Vietnam. Built using coral and coconut shells, the temple grounds consist of a small pagoda and gardens. There is also a pool that features the Guan Yin statue, which emerges from the water. Like a small oasis, the temple’s beauty makes it a busy attraction.
Nhan Mountain is one of two peaks that sits just outside of the city. Covered in green foliage, the mountain is important to Tuy Hoa and Vietnam because it’s the site of an ancient Cham tower. Built during the 4th century, Nhan Temple was fully restored in 1960. Now, it has become a tourist and cultural site where visitors can observe the structure and surrounding landscape.
Chop Chai Mountain
The city’s second mountain, Chop Chai, is also a popular destination because of its high summit, which gives excellent views of the city and coastline. Less developed than Nhan Mountain, tourists can take a rugged road to reach the summit and panoramic views. Slightly further from the city center, Chop Chai Mountain can be easily accessed from Tuy Hoa City.
Tuy Hoa Beach
Just steps from the city center, Tuy Hoa Beach is where you’ll find most tourists relaxing on a sunny day. Resorts, restaurants, and shops all line the beach and on the other, a small harbor docks the local fishing boats. Spanning a large stretch of coastline, travelers will find that the beach has both busy and vacant sections.
Hon Lao Mai Nha Islet
Out on the sea, the Hon Lao Mai Nha Islet is the perfect destination for a day trip outside of the city. A small islet, Hon Lao Mai Nha is renowned for its friendly community, fresh food, and beautiful landscape. Surrounding the island are stunning coral reefs and along the edges of the beach, rocky formations create an amazing backdrop.
From Tuy Hoa, the islet is only reachable by boat, but tourists are in luck as tours leave from the city on a daily basis.
Being a popular seaside destination, Tuy Hoa has relied on its oceanfront location to create beautiful resorts, hotels, and hostels. Tourists in the city won’t have trouble finding comfortable, quality, and amazing accommodations because of the overabundance of properties. With so many options to choose from, travelers might want to take their pick from the best of the best.
Earning the highest ratings, Sala Tuy Hoa Beach Hotel, Coconut Hotel Phu Yen, Marina Hotel Phu Yen, and the Kool House are the best accommodation that Tuy Hoa has to offer.
Sala Tuy Hoa Beach Hotel – Situated directly on Tuy Hoa Beach, Sala Tuy Hoa Beach Hotel is the city’s top resort. Dripping with luxury and a tropical paradise, the hotel boasts a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, bar, sun terrace, and shared lounges. Every room has a private bathroom and amenities include a TV, a safe, and linens.
A 24-hour front desk can arrange for room service, currency exchange, and tours for guests. Included with your stay is a continental or buffet breakfast.
Coconut Hotel Phu Yen – Coconut Hotel Phu Yen is one of the city’s newest accommodations. Guests rave about the hotel’s location, services, and clean rooms. On-site, there is a restaurant, bar, lounge, garden, and 24-hour front desk. Though rooms are private, guests will have access to a shared kitchen for cooking meals. All rooms have a seating area, TV, kitchen, and private bathroom.
AC and free Wi-Fi are provided throughout the property. Situated just 1 km (0.6 mi) away from Tuy Hoa Beach, the hotel is right in the center of the action.
Marina Hotel Phu Yen – Another option 1.4 km (0.8 mi) from Tuy Hoa Beach is the Marina Hotel Phu Yen. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, lounge, private parking, and garden. The staff operate a 24-hour front desk and can assist with airport transfers, room service, and tour operations. Guest rooms have AC, TV, and access to a small kitchen. Family rooms are also available.
Kool House – A home operating as a hotel, Kool House is the highest-rated hostel in Tuy Hoa. Featuring private standard and king rooms, guests also have the option of sharing a triple or quadruple room. Furthermore, there is a complimentary breakfast and throughout the day, they will have access to a shared kitchen. For security and services, there is a 24-hour front desk on-site.
In addition to the resorts, hotels, and hostels, Tuy Hoa is filled with a variety of quality restaurants. Though many accommodation properties have their own restaurants on-site, travelers should look to other culinary experiences too. From the beachfront to quiet city streets, the best restaurants in Tuy Hoa are Pho Dung, Ca Phe Mai Ngoi, and Bob’s Cafe American.
Pho Dung – A local favorite, Pho Dung serves up a hot and delicious bowl of the Vietnamese traditional dish, pho. With the choice of ingredients and option of thick or thin noodles, the restaurant is delicious and comes highly recommended by previous patrons. Affordable in price, Pho Dung is a great place for backpackers to refuel after a long day.
Ca Phe Mai Ngoi – Ca Phe Mai Ngoi is a large café in Tuy Hoa that has a busy social scene. Taking up a two-story building, the café serves a variety of Vietnamese traditional dishes like com ga (chicken rice), pho ga (chicken noodle soup), and com tam (grilled pork). Inside, the restaurant was designed to resemble a garden where visitors can share meals and stories.
Bob’s Cafe American – Breaking from the Vietnamese traditional dishes, Bob’s Cafe American has become a hotspot for ex-pats and international travelers. Locals have fallen in love with the restaurant and most nights, it’s filled both upstairs and downstairs. Providing a taste of home for some travelers, items on the menu include burgers, chicken wings, fries, and pizza.
Though Tuy Hoa hosts many festivals throughout the year, including grand celebrations for the Lunar New Year, the city also ensures that it celebrates the people’s cultural roots. Two festivals, the Ethnic Minority Cultural Festival and the Cham Cultural Festival, were created to promote tourism to the area and to preserve Tuy Hoa’s traditional practices.
In the first few days of July, the Ethnic Minority Cultural Festival spans multiple provinces and cities. Tuy Hoa is one city that hosts an array of artists who travel from all over Vietnam to showcase their food, art, sports, and crafts. In late August, the Cham Cultural Festival is a celebration of the Cham people and showcases traditional culture, sports, and rituals.
Tuy Hoa is rather compact in size and most attractions are within a 2 km (1.25 mi) radius, making it easy for tourists to simply walk from destination to destination, however, for some travelers, walking isn’t always the way to go. Other transportation options in the city include taxis, public buses, and rentals of motorbikes or bicycles.
Some hotels will even offer complimentary or paid transportation to guests, so it might be helpful to check with the staff at the front desk first.
Throughout the year, Tuy Hoa tends to see two periods of time when tourists visit the city. From March to August, the high temperatures make it the ideal location because even though it is hot, there isn’t a lot of rain. This means that tourists can enjoy the beaches and engage in onshore activities.
The next busiest time for tourists is during December and January because of the special holidays. September, October, November, and early December are the rainiest months of the year and a time when most tourists will avoid traveling to Tuy Hoa.
Many visitors just pass through Tuy Hoa, which is a mistake. A newer vacation destination, Tuy Hoa is ready to transform into Vietnam’s next tourist paradise. For now, the city sits on the cusp of development. With just enough to keep visitors entertained, it’s a great time to see Tuy Hoa before it becomes overrun with big crowds and mega-resorts.
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